Burns Cottage is wrapped up for birthday

Burns Cottage will be wrapped in a bow for the birthday bash
Burns Cottage will be wrapped in a bow for the birthday bash

Burns Cottage is being wrapped up in big red bow as part of this year’s events to mark Robert Burns’ birthday over 24 and 25 January.

The humble cottage where Scotland’s beloved bard was born is being adorned for the Big Burns Birthday Bash by the National Trust for Scotland.

A series of events are scheduled for the Alloway 1759 festival which celebrates all things Burns and takes place over the weekend closest to his 256th birthday at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway.

Event organiser Stuart Cochrane said: “The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum has got Burns’ birthday all wrapped up, so come and celebrate the bard’s 256th birthday with us. We’ve put together our biggest party programme ever, at the very spot where the great man was born.”

Celebrations begin on Thursday 23 January, as the museum hosts the annual Robert Burns Humanitarian Award. On Friday 23 January, the museum will be jumping as the Big Haggis Feast and Ceilidh gets underway, with music from the dynamic Scotch Bonnet Ceilidh Band. Tickets cost £32 from www.nts.org.uk/events.

Then on Saturday 24, it’s the Big Burns Birthday Bash. Festivities begin with the ‘Haggis Pass’ – a giant ceremonial haggis filled with birthday messages for the bard will be passed through the streets of Ayr before arriving at Burns Cottage at 1pm. The museum team are laying on fun family activities, musical performances from David Douglas and more and a Scotland Sings workshop too.

The bash continues on Sunday 25 with more fun activities, musical performances from some top Scottish artists and the annual Haggis Hurling Competition, sponsored by Pollok Williamson. Who will beat last year’s record of 183 feet.

And the celebrations continue on Saturday 31 January, with the return of the popular Burns Heid Inn, an event which turns back the clock to the oft-forgotten period when the cottage was a pub.

Live music, entertainment and a pub quiz will all be on offer as part of the authentic transformation. Staff and volunteers from the museum will even be dressed up as regulars of the period to add to the experience.

In 1781, the Ayr Incorporation of Shoemakers leased Burns Cottage out as an ale house.

For 100 years, people could pay pilgrimage to Burns and toast his name in the very rooms where he grew up.