Podcast TTT Robert Burns Scotland Season 5

Season 5 Episode 3: Celebrating Robert Burns & The Address to A Haggis

“Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.”

Robert Burns

Robert Burns is one of the most important figures in Scottish culture and history. Every year, Scots and people around the world come together to celebrate the life and works of the beloved poet. There are many reasons why we should celebrate Robert Burns and his contributions to Scotland.

Burns Cottage, Alloway, South Ayrshire, Scotland, Built by Robert Burns father, William Burness in 1757

Regarded as the national poet of Scotland, Robert Burns writings celebrate Scottish culture and identity. He wrote extensively about the history of Scotland, and his works are often seen as a representation of the struggles and triumphs of the Scottish people.  He was a great advocate for social justice. His poetry and narratives are often used to inspire people to strive for a more just and equitable society.

Burns Cottage, Alloway, South Ayrshire, Scotland, Built by Robert Burns father, William Burness in 1757

Robert Burns’ poetry is varied in its themes and styles, and his writings have been adapted to numerous musical genres. His best-known works include “Auld Lang Syne,” “To a Mouse,” “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye,” and “A Red, Red Rose.” These poems are beloved for their romanticism, their humor, and their insight into the human experience.

Come and join the celebration!

The Burns Monument and Memorial Gardens 

Celebrating Up Helly Aa with Sarah McBurnie Tea. Toast. & Trivia.

By Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

20 replies on “Season 5 Episode 3: Celebrating Robert Burns & The Address to A Haggis”

I have enjoyed a few Burns’ Night celebrations in the far north of Scotland in a tiny hamlet called Mey which is in Caithness and where the Queen Mother had a small and rather lovely castle. They were always fabulous nights and the food delicious. I can honestly say though that I have never enjoyed haggis as much as the ones I have eaten in Scotland even though it is quite easy to get them in England. They just don’t taste the same.

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I am quite sure that we have been through Mey, Cat, when we were on our way to John o’Groats to take a ferry to Orkney. I haven’t been to the castle and can only imagine having a Burns’ Night celebration in this remote village in the Scottish Highlands. (The spirit of Rabbie Burns is alive and well on January 25th.)How exciting. I know exactly what you mean about Haggis in Scotland. I’m certain that they have family secret recipes that have come down through the centuries.

My first taste of Haggis was at the Mitre Bar in Royal Mile Edinburgh. Let me know when you are in Edinburgh and I’ll hop a plane to join you!!!! Then we could go on the ghost tour. By the way, I just downloaded Ramsey Campbell’s The Search Dead!!

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You definitely would have passed by the village of Mey on that road, Rebecca – and you will have also passed the Castle Arms on your right (where we enjoyed our Burns’ night celebrations). Just before that, on your left, you will have passed the old police house which is where my husband and his then partner lived back in the late ’90s, up to around 2002.

I’ve been in the Mitre Bar in Edinburgh a few times – but never eaten there. It’s supposed to be quite haunted I believe (the pub not the food!)

Enjoy Ramsey’s book – that’s part of his one and only trilogy, set in his home city, Liverpool. Full of creeping dread… (the book, not the city, although sometimes, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights…)

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I wondered if the Mitre Bard was haunted. I felt something unusual when I walked through the doors. I had goosebumps when I read your words “although sometimes….” You have a way of bringing the mystery to life. So glad we connected.

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Many thanks for listening in and for your comment!!

Have you ever had Haggis, Liz? It is quite delicious, especially when in Scotland.

When I looked back into the history of Haggis, I wondered if any other culture had similar dishes. I discovered that there are a few cultures that have the same similar traits.

Romania has “drob”, which is eaten at Easter is cooked mix of spiced minced lamb organs (liver, heart, and lungs) together with green onions and eggs, cooked in the lamb’s stomach.

The German dish Saumagen which means “sow’s stomach,” which is used as a casing, has potatoes, carrots and pork, usually spiced with onions, marjoram, nutmeg white pepper, and various recipes also include other herbs or spices. (The stomach is not eaten)

Then there is Chireta is an Aragonese type of haggis (Spanish Pyrenees)

Slátur (meaning (“slaughter”) is an Icelandic dish in which sheep’s stomachs are filled with blood, fat, and liver.

I continue to learn.

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I enjoyed this very much. Your son did such a great job of reading the address to the haggis. I attended a wonderful Robert Burns dinner at the Seagent’s Mess at a British Army Training Unit outside of Medicine Hat Alberta. It was so much fun.

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Thank you for listening in, Darlene. Thomas and I had a great deal of fun celebrating Robert Burns. What’s exciting this year – Burns suppers are being held in person. As you known, for the last two years, they have been virtual so it will be thrilling to see the Haggis being brought in by a bagpiper. Would it be wonderful to travel to Scotland and attend the Burns supper at Burns Cottage in Alloway, Scotland. It is happening on January 28, 2023 so we have plenty of time to fly over there!!! Meet you there.

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This is an outstanding article-all about haggis and other very interesting things about Scotland! I have never had the pleasure of visiting Scotland, or ever had the privilege of tasting haggis but, as a child in what we called grade school, we spent a lot of time studying about beautiful Scotland. We were required to study and memorize their poetry, some of which I wish I could recall! I remember how our teacher tried to describe all the unique features of the land, language and the people. She spent a lot of time studying about the beautiful country, I think she may have been born there!

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You had a wonderful teacher, Frances. I think of you in the one room schoolhouse on the prairies with a teacher that was passionate about education. She brought the world into the classroom. I have a feeling you class would have recited Robert Burns Poem, A Red, Red Rose:

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair are thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my Dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my Dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve!
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile!

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I appreciate the vegetarian haggis option the best, Dave. I believe that haggis is more than a simple dish that appears on the night of a Burns Supper. Haggis speaks to cultural memory, and Scottish pride and identity – a symbol of Scotland’s resilience and resourcefulness. I was researching whether there was any reference to Haggis in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. (I only read the first book – need to follow up with the others) I recall that in the first book, Jamie Fraser is described as having a fondness for haggis. I understand that in the third book, he is described as eating haggis with great enthusiasm.

Many thanks for listening in and for your comments!!!

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Thank you, Robbie for joining the Robert Burns celebration. Haggis is not for everyone. A few years ago, I had a fascinating conversation with an older gentleman who had immigrated to Canada when he was a young man. He told me that his father had passed when he was young and that his mother worked hard to put food on the table. I asked about gardening in the Scottish Highlands. He said that it can be quite difficult due to the harsh climate and terrain. The cold, wet weather can make it difficult to grow certain plants, while the rocky soil can be difficult to work with. The high altitude can make it difficult to get the right amount of sunlight for some plants to thrive. The extreme weather conditions can also make it difficult to keep plants healthy and protected from pests and disease. But with the right knowledge and dedication, it can be done.

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It was wonderful to celebrate Robert Burns with you, Rebecca. I have a bit of Scottish blood in my ancestry, but I’m not sure I want to try Haggis. Thomas did a wonderful job! It was fun to listen. I appreciate your research and your sharing this story with us.

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