'Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care, And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer, Gie her a Haggis!'
- Robbie Burns, Address to a Haggis.
Burns Night is celebrated on 25th January, Robert Burns’ birthday. Across Scotland, people pay tribute to the poet’s life and work by eating haggis, drinking whisky and reciting poetry at a Burns Supper. It’s a great way to learn more about Rabbie Burns and experience the best of Scottish hospitality and tradition.
Many of the pubs, hotels and restaurants across Argyll & the Isles will host a Burns Supper and you’ll find that lots of Argyll communities hold Burns Night events in village halls. These are often on a Saturday night nearest to Burns Night. You can also celebrate by holding your own Burns Supper at home! Why not use local Argyll & the Isles produce, from award-winning haggis to world-class whisky. If you would like to celebrate Burns Night, where ever you are, then here’s how!
Burns Night Tradition
The centrepiece to any Burns Night celebration is the Burns Supper, which can be formal or informal. Haggis, neeps and tatties are served along with a dram or two of whisky. Throughout the evening, Burns’ poems and songs and recited and enjoyed by the company around you. There’s normally a running order to the event and certain traditions are followed.
It all starts with the host saying a few words at the table and the Selkirk Grace is said, this is then led by the haggis being piped in, the host performs a Burns night poem and for all guests to address the haggis, which is prompted by the host, to raise a glass and toasts: ‘The haggis!’. So raise your glass of whisky!
Everyone is then sat to enjoy a traditional burns supper, made with haggis, neeps and tatties, and don't forget the dram to wash down the food.
At the end of the evening, everyone joins hands for a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne, which is sung with great passion through Scotland on Burn's Night. There might even be a spot of post-dinner ceilidh dancing for all to enjoy.
Portrait of Robbie Burns, Credit: RobbieBurns.com
Produce From Argyll & the Isles for
your own Burns Supper
Feast on some of Argyll’s finest local produce this Burns Night. The key to your Burns Supper is the haggis and most Argyll butchers will have some extremely tasty versions for sale. FoodFromArgyll has a varied selection of shops, farms and local producers, which cater for everyone's taste. Why not try some fresh meat from Mull Slaughterhouse, which will provide the perfect Haggis for Burns Supper, or if you are not a fan of Haggis, why not try some smoked fish from Tobermory Fish Company, Inverawe Smokehouse & Skipness Smokehouse.
With 14 world-class distilleries dotting what’s known as the ‘whisky coast’, you’ll never be short of a decent dram to accompany your Burns Supper in Argyll. There are even some great local ales being produced in Argyll too. Why not try a Fyne Ale this Burns night!
And to finish off, how about some ice cream from Highland Fold, which provides a range of different flavours perfect for any dessert or why not try the wee Isle Dairy, which is made in small batches on Gigha, We recommend the bramble and whisky flavour, which is just the thing for Burns Night!
Oban Food Hub, Credit: FoodFromArgyll
Mary Campbell, immortalized as ‘Highland Mary’ by Burns, has Argyll connections. She spent her childhood in Campbeltown in Kintyre and lived in a house just across from Glen Scotia Distillery. You can see a plaque on the distillery wall about her. Highland Mary and Burns became engaged in 1786 but she died in Greenock a year later. If you’re in Dunoon, make sure you pay a visit to the statue of Mary Campbell. She’s standing on the hill opposite Dunoon Pier gazing wistfully southwards to her lover's Ayrshire home.
Statue of Mary Campbell in Dunoon, Credit: WildaboutArgyll
Burns Suppers & Events in Argyll
The Ghosting of Rabbie Burns By Gillian Duffy, in Dunoon Burgh Hall on Friday 21st Jan
Heartbroken author Emily Winters takes herself away to her aunt’s old cottage in Ayrshire to get over her cheating ex. As she celebrates Burns night alone (wishing that the right man would show up), she gets a visitation slightly different than what she had hoped for – the ghost of Rabbie Burns appears to give her some dating advice…and he knows what he’s talking about!
Featuring the great songs and poems of Burns, such as ‘My Love is Like a Red Red Rose’, ‘Ae Fond Kiss’, ‘Charlie is my Darlin’ and, of course, ‘Auld Lang Syne', this hilarious comedy proves that love and relationships haven’t changed that much in 200 years after all.
Burns Night Supper at Portsonachan Hotel and Lodges on Saturday 22nd Jan
Enjoy Burns Night celebrations at Dalmally's Portsonachan Hotel, indulge in traditional Burns Night food, drams and some Rabbie Burns Readings!
The Ghosting of Rabbie Burns Banner, Credit: Gillian Duffy