Haggis, neeps and tatties!

Born on January 25th 1759 in Alloway, Ayrshire, Robert Burns is considered to be Scotland’s national bard. His poetry covers a vast range of subjects, including politics, death, drink and, most famously, love. An unsuccessful farmer, Burns took up an offer of work in Jamaica but lacked the money for the passage. At the suggestion of a friend, he decided to publish some of his poems and his first book, now known as the Kilmarnock Edition, sold so well that he postponed the decision to emigrate. Further publications followed but his health deteriorated and he died in Dumfries aged just 37.

Every year, on the anniversary of his birth, Burns Suppers take place throughout the world. These celebrations take various forms but usually include the poet’s address ‘To a Haggis’, an Immortal Memory (a talk about Burns’s life) and a Toast to the Lassies. Supper itself is haggis, bashed neeps and chappit tatties, accompanied by a dram and often followed by dancing and/or singing.

To coincide with the anniversary there is a new exhibit on show in the Berkeley foyer displaying the first Dublin edition of ‘Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect’ (1787) and a limited edition of ‘Tam o’Shanter: a tale’ (Edinburgh: 2008) illustrated by Alexander Goudie.

'Burns Supper' Berkeley Library
‘Burns Supper’ Berkeley Library