Follow the path of Robert Burns
Robert Burns statue
Statue to Robert Burns in Kilmarnock

Ayrshire, the birthplace of Robert Burns, was an inspiration to Burns throughout his life.

From observing nature at Mossgiel Farm as a ploughman to drinking in Mauchline at Poosie Nansie's Inn.

Ayrshire furnished Burns with characters, situations and places that made his writing unique and alive.

Evidence of this is in some of his best known work.


Burns National Heritage Park in Alloway has many places connected to Robert Burns including Burns cottage, the birthplace of Robert Burns.

Adjacent to the cottage is the museum which holds artefacts relating to Burns' life and works including the original manuscript of Auld Lang Syne.

The Burns monument overlooks the Brig O'Doon, the scene of Tam O' Shanter's narrow escape.

Brig O'Doon, Alloway
Brig O'Doon is where Tam O'Shanter had a lucky escape

Alloway Auld Kirk is where Tam O' Shanter witnessed 'auld Nick, in shape o' beast'.

The Tam O' Shanter experience brings the tale to life in an audio-visual presentation.

The statue house in the Monument gardens includes statues of Tam O' Shanter, Souter Johnnie and Nanse Tissock by 19th Century sculptor James Thom.

In Kirkoswald, South Ayrshire you can visit the cottage of John Davidson, who was the original Souter Johnnie in Tam O' Shanter.

The Bachelor's Club in Tarbolton is the place where Burns would meet on the fourth Monday of each month with other unmarried men for discussion and debate.

Mossgiel Farm in Mauchline was home to Burns when he was ploughman-poet and wrote many of his best loved works, nearby is 'Poosie Nansies' Inn, a favourite haunt of Burns.


Robert Burns was influenced by many of the people he met in Ayrshire and they were to provide him with inspiration for his poetry and works of literature.

Nellie Kilpatrick, known as 'Handsome Nell', worked with Burns on his fathers farm at Mount Oliphant and inspired Burns' first attempt at poetry, 'O, Once I Lov'd A Bonnie Lass'.

The love of Burns's life, Jean Armour was born in Mauchline, Ayrshire in 1765.

Jean met Robert Burns on a drying green in Mauchline around 1784, when she chased his dog away from her laundry.

Jean was Burns's only wife and gave birth to nine of his children, including two sets of twins before they were married in 1788.

Robert Burns
Robert Burns, Scotland's national bard, has close ties with Ayrshire

Mary Campbell or 'Highland Mary' become romantically involved with Burns after Jean Armour was moved to Paisley by her father, after Armour fell pregnant.

Burns had planned to emigrate to Jamaica with Mary but this fell through and Mary died through illness in 1786.

Burns dedicated the poems 'The Highland Lassie O',' Highland Mary' and 'To Mary in Heaven' to her.

John Davidson was a shoemaker or souter and the inspiration for 'Souter Johnnie' in the poem Tam O' Shanter.

In 1785 John built a cottage on the Main Street in Kirkoswald in which he lived and worked until his death, the cottage is now a museum.

Willie Fisher was an elder of the kirk in Mauchline, he was brought to shame by Robert Burns in 'Holy Willie's Prayer'.

In pictures: Historic Ayr
01 Nov 09 |  History



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