Burns Night 2023: Robert Burns poems, songs and East Lothian facts

Burns Night 2023: Robert Burns poems, songs and East Lothian facts

As we celebrate the life and work of Scotland’s national poet, how much do you know about the bard Robert Burns?

Burns Night falls on the poet’s birthday – January 25 – but what do you know about the man behind the words?

Whether you know his work inside out or you’re grateful for a wee dram of whisky to slur your way through Auld Lang Syne, we’ve got you covered. 

READ MORE: What you shouldn’t do when celebrating Burns Night!

We have put together 10 facts about the beloved Alloway writer that you can whip out before or after your haggis, neeps and tatties.

East Lothian Courier: Haggis, neeps and tatties. Credit:PAHaggis, neeps and tatties. Credit:PA

10 facts about Robert Burns for Burns Night

  1. Robert Burns wrote his name originally as “Burnes” rather than Burns.
  2. Rabbie – as we sometimes refer to the poet – produced his first poem at only 15 years old.
  3. There are over 60 statues dedicated to the writer which is the third most monuments of a non-religious figure after Queen Victoria and Christopher Columbus.
  4. Burns had planned on moving to Jamaica but found success with his collection: Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (or the Kilmarnock collection) and decided to move to Edinburgh instead.
  5. The poet fathered a staggering 12 children – nine to his wife Jean Armour whom he married in 1788.
  6. While Burns was said to have written 100 songs, fifty of them appear to be credited incorrectly – including Auld Lang Syne – as the poet had a habit of reworking existing works.
  7. Burns died on July 21, 1796 aged just 37 with his funeral being held on July 25 which was the same day that his last son, Maxwell, was born.
  8. The bard is buried in the Burns Mausoleum in St Michael’s Churchyard, Dumfries, which you can still visit.
  9. Robert Burns’ Birthplace Museum in Alloway is now a National Trust for Scotland property that houses “more than 5,000 Burns artefacts including his handwritten manuscripts”.
  10. The Burns family have strong links to East Lothian. Agnes Broun, Burns’s mother, and his brother Gilbert, who moved to the county with her, are buried at Bolton Kirk. Gilbert worked on the Lennoxlove Estate. There is a Burns monument on the Haddington to Bolton road and a nearby well dedicated to Agnes Broun.


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