Ayrshire is proud of its association with Robert Burns, Scotlands bard, who was born in Alloway. In the centre of Ayr is this statue of him in the middle of "Burns Statue Square"!! Even the local pubs pay homage to him with names like "Rabbies", "The Tam O'Shanter Inn" and "The Honest Man", the last in reference to one of his poems that states that Ayr is "unsurpassed for honest men and bonnie lassies".
Most of the sites associated with Burns are in Alloway [see the Burns Country travelogue] but there are a couple of other sites around Ayrshire - Souter Johnnies Cottage in the village of Kirkoswald as well as associations with Tarbolton and Mauchline..
"Burns Night" in honour of the poet is held on 25th January every year
This ruined castle in the village of Dundonald is apparently considered to be the third most important in Scotland, after Edinburgh & Stirling which I must say came as something of a surprise to me!! It was built in the 1370's by Robert II and was the first home of the Stuart kings. However there is evidence that there were settlements there in Bronze and Ice age times as well. Entry to the castle is around £2 and there is a small exhibtion that explains the history of the site & castle in the visitor centre.
The castle sits up on a small hill and there are good views from the top floor. Further down in the castle you can see the prison and pit!
Location Dundonald, Ayrshire 4 miles south east of Irvine
ALLOWAY AULD KIRK
Not far from Burns Cottage and near to the Brig O'Doon is Alloways "Auld Kirk" [or old church]. It was in ruins even in the days of Robert Burns and featured in his well known poem "Tam O'Shanter" as the location of the witches ceilidh.
The graveyard has the burial place of his parents as well as many other interesting gravestones. The whole place is quite eerie but even more so in winter when it is all floodlit at night!
"2 miles from Scotland's Ayr is Alloway where at.."
..Scotland's national poet ROBERT BURNS was born on January 25, 1759.
"He frequently stayed in Edinburgh to arrange the publication of a second edition of his poems, and to join in the social round. One of the people he met was Mrs Agnes McLehose, with whom he established a platonic relationship. Their ensuing correspondence - using the pseudonyms 'Clarinda' and 'Sylvander' - is one of the most famous examples of stylised romantic letter-writing. But even more famous is
"A fond kiss", the parting song which Burns sent to Mrs McLehose after their final meeting in December 1791.."
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I
And I will love thee still, my Dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.
Till a' the seas gang dry, my Dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun,
will love thee still, my Dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only Luve
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' it were then thousand mile.
Robert Burns died in Dumfries at the early age of 37. Yet in that short time he had taken the Scottish literary world by storm, and had secured a place for himself in history and in legend."
"Burns Night, at its best, is a time to be hopeful, striking a balance between life's joys and sorrows. If Shakespeare's poetry scales the heights of poetic achievement, Robert Burns' poetry sweeps the broad rolling plain of common humanity, with all its triumphs and disasters. He writes about hope, courage and the joy of being alive in a world of terror, darkness and fear."
Robert Burns as poet and person is presenting the figure of the canny Scotchman in a fullness and detail. Then there are many things in Burns' poems and character that specially endear him to America. He would have been at home in the Western United States, and probably become eminent there. He was an average sample of the good-natured, warm-blooded and proud-spirited man. Franklin, Washington, Kant, Goethe mark his era. Burns' life and death though was going on in Scotland.
""Hamlet" was filmed here at Dunnottar Castle"
As for any travels to Scotland I highly recommend to check out scotlandscotour's page
and Horscheck's page