To Ayr is Human

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Sometimes you need a break from a vacation, or touring I should say. We cram so much into our visits and sometimes get to a frantic pace just to get our money’s worth out of a visit. Sometimes you really need to plan for some down time. This trip I am planning at least three such locations to break from the city life. Last season I had tried to get to Ayr, a seaside resort town on Scotland’s west coast. Everything had been booked up, it’s one of the most popular summer escapes being just south of Glasgow. I had to take a day in Oban instead, which was lovely and fair, I had a sail around the islands and it was grand. But this season I have booked a day for Ayr. You may get a phone signal, but trying to let go and not be so dependent is the key to a place like this. Problem is I have just one day. Not that it’s huge, but what can I get to in the time I am there and is it okay to just find a place to sit by the sea and gaze for an hour or three.

Top Things to do in Ayr, Scotland

Now I am really a city girl at heart. I have lived by the ocean for a number of years and had plenty of California beaches to wander. But beaches and a different country, as well as the Irish Sea, are a very different thing. I am planning one day to just kick it and walk the seaside a bit. Can I relax this much without feeling antsy? And some wee auld places to clamber about in? Need a place to chill during all the traveling. I am told this is the place for that.

Poetry in Motion

Scotland’s famous bard Rabbie Burns was born in the area, and the Alloway Auld Kirk was the scene for a poem Tam o’ Shanter. The village is another lovely seaside resort area and of course features a golf course. Yes, they are indeed everywhere in Scotland and this one by the sea is amazing. And it’s just a few miles south of Glasgow so if you are looking for a day trip, it’s well worth it.

Burns Cottage and Museum deserves a visit. It’s a small local museum that will enlighten you to the Bard if you are not already a fan. But not to be missed is Cuzlean Castle and deer park. Get your castle passes as this one will surely make you want to tour as many castles in Scotland that you can on your visit.

Oh, and a little series that many of us like, Outlander, filmed in the Troon area. If you are interested in some of the filming locations of Scotland for series and films, check out these sites:

Visit Scotland

By Film

Restaurants

 

No Burns Night For Me, Just in My Heart

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Robert Burns 1759 to 1796

What is a Burns Night (January 25)? Many in the US haven’t a clue, unless you have Scottish heritage or friends, you may not know. Robert Burns ( 1759 – 1796) was a 18th c. poet in Scotland living after The Clearances. In America, most are only familiar with a little song sung at the New Year. You still have time to find one in the US as some celebrations are on the weekend.

But, if you have been at University and an Arts Major, love poetry and hanging out with Scots because it’s your heritage, get in with the Burns Night anywhere you can. There’s nothing like a full traditional Burns Night meal and festivities gathering. It’s fun to try to understand auld Scots poetry and pipes and haggis. Seriously it’s great fun. Warning: there will be pipes in a hall, and that can get loud.

I had planned to join in this year on a Burns Night in Portland, but found the price of tickets at the various whiskey venues to be too pricey. Some of these were to help out charities but $75.00 to $150.00 a plate was a bit high after the end of year expenses. So, it may be a trip to a pub with a friend with a book of his poems.

Address to a Haggis

If you are lucky to get to a celebration here in the states, take heart. With new rulings in the offing to lift the ban on sheep’s entrails sales in the US, the traditional haggis can maybe be served in the US again. Not that resourceful fans of the fun sausage haven’t been popping over the border to Canada to get ingredients for years.

Burns poetry celebrates Scotland and 18th c. life. My favorites are usually weird subjects like bugs (To a Louse). Many of his poems reflect on daily life and happenings. Of course with language being Scots and 18th c. pronunciations combined, can take some practice. But if you go to or create your own Burns celebration with friends in a pub, have a dram and loosen your tongue, the American accent and Scots words can be highly entertaining. But it’s all from the heart, so that would be what Rabbie would like.

The Feast

Burns Supper has an order of things. The ceremony is usually as follows:

  • To Start – Selkirk Grace Gathering and the grace is said
  • The Meal – starter is served, the haggis is piped in, Address to a Haggis read, toasting, main meal and dessert
  • After The MealImmortal Memory read, Toast to the Lassies, Reply to the Toast to the Lassies.
  • To End The Night – everyone stands and sings Auld Lang Syne, crossing of arms and joining of hands for the line “And there’s a hand, my trusty fere!”

Places in the US to Celebrate

Check out the American-Scottish Foundation for there events on Burns Night. Warning, many of these are fund raisers and a bit steep.

Can’t Find a Celebration, Create Your Own

Naething says ye can’t make your own celebration. Find a pub or tavern and gather some friends. They may not have haggis, but I don’t think Rabbie would mind if you had a chippy and dram. Bring some of his poems and try to pronounce them. It can be loads of fun.

Links

What is Burns Night

Scottish Poetry Library for poetry from Scotland, this is your source. Search for Rabbie here.

Historic UK Robert Burns

Robert Burns World Federation

Scottish American Society