Ulster Scots Agency launches Belfast Burns Week

Christopher Tait as Robbie Burns
Christopher Tait as Robbie Burns

The Ulster-Scots Agency has launched Belfast Burns Week 2018 to celebrate the January 25 birthday of the great Scottish poet Robert Burns.

Scotland’s favourite son Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns was known as the Ploughman Poet, the Bard of Ayrshire or simply the Bard. Burns was born on January 25, 1759 and Burns celebrations have been held in his honour on this date for over 200 years.

To celebrate the many links between Burns, his family and Ulster from the late 1700s to the present day, the Ulster Scots Agency has programmed a series of events to coincide with the Bard’s birthday.

Belfast Burns week will take place from January 22 to 27, 2018 in various venues across Belfast and will incorporate a programme of drama, poetry, music, concerts and lectures.

Historian Laura Spence will deliver a talk on the life, loves and legacy of Robert Burns. This one hour talk will explore the loves and losses of Robert Burns and how this has influenced his works and image to this day. The talk will be held in the Discover Ulster Scots centre on January 24.

Various Burns nights will be held across Belfast during the week, with a free community Burns Night at the Spectrum Centre on Monday January 22 at 7pm. Education officer for the Ulster Scots Community Network Matthew Warwick will compere the evening with entertainment by the Risin’ Stour ceilidh band. Food will be provided and booking is essential.

The Linen Hall library are hosting tours of the Gibson collection on Wednesday January 24 and Friday January 26 at 2pm. A tour of the library not only unlocks the secrets of the library archives and collections, but also takes the visitor back through the early days of the great city of Belfast. The Linen Hall is home to the largest collection of Burns material in the world outside of Scotland. Tours are free and can be booked via the website.

Robert Burns live performer Christopher Tait will take to the stage at the Spectrum Centre on Friday January 26 to perform as the Bard himself. Watch Burns perform his famous poems; To a Mouse, To a Louse and Holy Willie’s Prayer. You can also marvel at the power of Tam O’ Shanter or the beauty of a Red, Red Rose.

The festival will conclude with the annual Burns Concert on January 27 at the Waterfront Hall. Traditional musicians Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain will be leading the audience in a rousing concert featuring of stories, dancing and piping alongside singer Robyn Stapleton, conductor John Logan, the Ulster Scots Agency Juvenile Pipe band and the Markethill Ulster Scots Dancers. Booking early is essential.

The full programme can be viewed and tickets for Belfast Burns Week events can be booked at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/ulster-scots-agency.

Tickets for the Burns concert can be booked via the Waterfront Hall website at www.waterfront.co.uk/.