From Iceland — Saga Stories #7: Bárðar Saga Snæfellsáss

Photo by
Art Bicnick

Join Dr Matthew Roby on a trip around the beautiful Snæfellsnes peninsula and he’ll tell you the tale of Bárðr, a troll who comes to Iceland with the other original settlers during the ninth century and eventually becomes a guardian spirit for the region.

For the first story, we take you to Djúpalón on the southwestern tip of Snæfellsnes, where Bárðr’s ship first comes ashore (64°45’12.0″N 23°53’44.9″W). We also show you Laugarbrekka, where Bárðr builds his house (64°45’22.4″N 23°41’19.9″W). Laugarbrekka is also famous as the birthplace of Guðríðr víðförla Þorbjarnardóttir, who plays a key role in the Vínland sagas.

For our second story, we travel to Arnarstapi, one of the main villages on the peninsula (64°45’55.6″N 23°37’36.9″W). Here we tell you the story of how Bárðr’s eldest daughter Helga is pushed onto an ice floe during a rough game with her cousin Rauðfeldr, after which she floats away into the fog. We also take you to Rauðfeldsgjá, the imposing ravine where Bárðr kills his nephew Rauðfeldr for this deed (64°47’52.6″N 23°38’14.1″W).

For our third story, we travel to Ingjaldshólskirkja on the northwestern tip of the peninsula (64°54’28.7″N 23°51’10.0″W). This church takes its name from Ingjaldr, one of the human settlers who supposedly arrived in the area with Bárðr in the ninth century, and is thought to lie around the same site as his farmstead of Ingjaldshvoll. Here we tell of the deception of Ingjaldr by the evil troll-woman Hetta, and of his eventual rescue by his old friend Bárðr Snæfellsás.

Special thanks to Hotel Buðir for the hospitality

To watch, hear, and read more about the sagas, you can find Dr Matthew Roby at:

If you are struggling to understand the Icelandic names of people or places in this video, don’t forget to turn on closed captioning.

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