Finstown is a village in the parish of Firth, and is a midway point on the A965 road from Stromness to Kirkwall. This road is also met in Finstown by the A966, which goes to the parishes of Rendall and Evie and to Tingwall, the pier where the ferry to the North Isles of Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre can be caught.
Many of the houses in Finstown lie at either side of the A965 from Stromness to Kirkwall, and the core of the village lies around the junction to the A965 and A966. The settlement is situated along the Bay of Firth, and along the fringes is a shallow inter-tidal mud-flat. To the south is the Hill of Heddle, and where the road to the west and Stromness climbs above a sheltered valley, there is Binsgarth Woods – one of Orkney’s very rare patches of natural woodland.
Above Finstown is Cuween Hill Cairn, which is a low chambered tomb which housed 8 human skulls and 24 dog skulls carbon-dated to 3,000 BC and is well worth a visit.
Finstown was formerly called “Toon o’ Firth” – the origin of the current name is thought to come from an Irishman named David Phin who came to the area in 1811. Phin was a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars who married a Kirkwall girl in 1813. In 1820 he opened an ale house which was called the ‘Toddy Hole’ by arrangement with John Miller of Millquoy. Four years later they quarreled and Phin left for Aberdeen, but his name remained. Today the pub is still open for business, but is now called the Pomona Inn, after an old name for Mainland Orkney.