Podcast: Burn’s Night; All About Haggis

In celebration of Burn’s Night, EN4 News’ latest podcast is all about haggis.

Calum Wilson and Olivia Otigbah go over the history of haggis and the latest news regarding the Scottish delicacy.

Olivia even tries haggis for the first time in the studio – will she love or hate it?

‘Edina! Scotia’s darling seat!’ A Burns tour through Edinburgh

Robert Burns (1759 to 1796) is usually associated with the west of Scotland, however, the national poet also left his mark in the capital. 



The Principle Hotel


The Principle Hotel on George Street was originally several large townhouses, owned by some of Edinburgh’s richest families such as the Ferriers. Wealthy lawyer James Ferrier liked to be entertained by the literary talents of Scotland, so he invited Burns to stay. Soon Burns took a liking to James’ eldest daughter. She was already married, however, this did not phase Burns, who expressed his feelings in ‘To Miss Ferrier’.


The Burns Monument – Regent Road


The Burns Monument is can be found on Regent Road, at the southern foot of Calton Hill, overlooking Arthur’s seat in Holyrood Park. The circular temple is typical of the Georgian era in Edinburgh, bringing you right back to 1831, the year it was built. Originally it was the home of a white marble statue of Burns – which can now be found in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.


A statue of Robert Burns – Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Credits Lauren Walker EN4 News

St Giles’ Cathedral, on the Royal Mile, has a beautiful stained glass window to honour Burns. The window is split into three segments, each dedicated to an aspect of Burns’ life.

The first represents his agricultural background, the second his intellectual abilities, the third his contribution to Scottish culture.


Plaque on Lady Stair’s Close


Further up the Royal Mile you can find Lady Stair’s Close. Above the entrance, a plaque marks Burns’s first stay in Edinburgh in 1786, when it was still Baxter’s Place.

His landlady Mrs Carfrae is said to have been unamused by Burns’ debauchery.

Burns House

Lady Stair’s Close


For those interested in the three most prominent historical writers of Scotland — Robert Burns, Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson — walk further down the Lady Stair’s Close to The Writers’ Museum.


Photos by Iona Young for EN4 News



Edinburgh Burns’ Night – What’s on?

Celebrations are imminent for Burns Night, the annual commemoration of the famous Scottish poet and author’s birthday.

Scots all around the world look forward to the 25th, celebrating the timeless poet’s work with a meal of turnips (‘neeps), potatoes (tatties) and haggis – and, perhaps, the odd recital.

Over the course of the weekend, beginning Thursday 24th January – Saturday 26th, Edinburgh is offering a whole range of exciting and unusual events for revellers to attend.

Below is a list of interesting experiences available to all party-goers and culture-lovers who will be in the nation’s capital over the most Scottish night of the year.

1.Burns Night at Prestonfield House


On Thursday the 24th December, the Prestonfield House is hosting another one of their famous Burns nights being hosted by Grant Stott.

The Prestonfield House is known for its exceptional food and with Grant Stott making a performance it’s a guaranteed entertaining night.

Preston House Burns night booking

 2.  Burns Supper at The Royal Yacht Britannia 

If it’s food – rather than poetry – that you’re more concerned about then the supper on The Royal Yacht Britannia is for you. A 4-course dinner is on the menu, prepared by their Executive Chef Mark Alston and his team in the original Royal Galleys. A fairly luxurious Burns night, where you’ll be served by butlers in the fine surroundings of the Royal Yacht.

It will be a traditional Scottish meal on the menu with a traditional Scottish music performance from Britannia’s musicians, as well as an ‘Address to the Haggis’ and a whisky tasting.

Royal Yacht Britannia Burns night booking

3. Abba Meets Burns at Akva

Next, a more quirky option for you party lovers.

In this little bit different take on Burns Night, Rabbie Burns meets Sweden (not literally). This special Burns supper is where haggis meets Swedish meatballs (literally).

As well as the supper, there will be lots of fun, dancing and a Swedish raffle. This is all in aid of disabled children’s charity Whizz-Kidz.

Akva Burns night booking

4. Burns Night at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Another traditional Burns night supper for you at the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden. An evening offering a three course Scottish meal, Ceilidh, address to the haggis and to top it off: a hot toddy when you arrive!

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Burns night booking

5. The Ghillie Dhu Rabbie Burns Experience

5236256_924f377fIf you’re really craving the sound of some bagpipes –  it is the most patriotic night of the year, after all – then The Ghillie Dhu is the place for you.

The Ghillie Dhu will be celebrating Burns night with a series of suppers and Ceilidhs from 19th January – 28th January. Guests will receive a dram on arrival and a four-course menu including (obviously) haggis.

There will be a reading of Burns poetry and a traditional toast, the evening coming to close in a Ceilidh with a live band.

The Ghillie Dhu Burns night booking

So there you have it, five of the best Burns events Edinburgh has to offer. There are many, many more options from which to choose and you can find out more at the Visit Scotland website.


Best Edinburgh Burns Night 2018 events

Burns Night is where many across the world celebrate and toast Scotland’s famed national bard. Whether it is tucking into haggis, dancing at a ceilidh or reciting some of Burns’ most beloved works, there are many ways you can take part in the festivities in Edinburgh.

From ceilidhs to festivals, reporter Colin Campbell shares some of the best events taking place in Edinburgh this month to mark Burns Night (25th January).


Burns Unbound,  (21st January)

When: 11:00 – 16:00      Where: Auditorium and Grand Gallery, Level 1

Held at the National Museum of Scotland, Burns Unbound is a free mini-festival that will be putting on performances and workshops for all in order to honour the life and work of Burns.


Burns Celebration (20 & 21 Jan)

When: TBC                      Where: 28 Lauriston Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9DJ

If dance is more your fancy, you can see The Flaming Heather ceilidh band and caller Ken Gourlay at Lauriston Hall, accompanied both by folk dancers and a piper.


The Annasach Ceilidh Band (26 & 27 Jan)

When: 20:00                    Where:  36 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9DD

The band will be taking over The Counting House (26 & 27 Jan) for a ceilidh and buffet supper.


Burns Night Ceilidh (26 & 27 Jan)

When: 19:00-00:00         Where: 103 George St, Edinburgh EH2 3ES

The Contini Scottish Café and Restaurant will also be bringing their special ceilidh night back to the Scottish National Gallery after last year’s sold out event (26 & 27 Jan)


Scotland’s Storytelling Centre (20, 24, 25 Jan)

Where: 43-45 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1SR

The centre will be hosting a number of special Burns themed events as well, that include both suppers (24, 25 Jan) and storytelling centred around some of Burns’ finest poems. Donald Smith will explore renowned narrative poem ‘Tam o’ Shanter’ (20 Jan), looking at its meaning and recitation. You’ll also be able to hear Donald’s performance of the poem at Supper with Burns (24, 25 Jan), which includes a traditional Burns Supper with storytellers David Campbell and Ruth Kirkpatrick, as well as clarsach player Katie Harrigan.


Red Festival (25-27 Jan)

Where: Rose Street, Edinburgh.

This year, there is also to be a special three-day celebration of all things Burns, where visitors can take part in a number of unique events and activities happening along Rose Street.

Robert Burns

Portrait of Robert Burns | Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, sums up what he feels makes Burns a true symbol for Scotland.

“Scotland’s history and heritage is what defines the country for many visitors and Robert Burns perfectly encapsulates Scotland’s creativity, pride and confidence, making him a cultural icon around the world.”

Roughead goes on to say that Burns is also revered in countries far and wide from his native Scotland, especially those with Scottish ancestry.

“Burns Night continues to be a global celebration of Scottish culture, particularly in those major Diaspora markets – the USA, Canada and Australia.”

Things to do to celebrate Burns night in Edinburgh




  1. Burns for Beginners

Location: Edinburgh Castle

Date: 21st – 25th January

Event info: Family event in which a performer impersonating Burns will be discussing some of the poet’s most famous work

More info: http://www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk/burns-for-beginners


  1. Burns Unbound

Location: National Museum of Scotland

Date: 22nd January

Event info: The Auditorium and Grand Gallery will be hosting a day of free activities providing fun for all the family. Events will include storytelling and live performances from Scottish folk musicians

More info: https://www.list.co.uk/event/337007-burns-unbound/


  1. Burns Night Tour

Location: Real Mary King’s Close

Date: 25th January

Event info: On this exclusive evening tour guests will be taken back in time, beneath the Royal Mile as they learn about Scottish history

More info: http://www.realmarykingsclose.com/


  1. Burns Supper

Location: Bread Street Brasserie

Date: 27th January

Event info: A traditional four course Burns’ Supper will be delivered by a piper in traditional attire with live music from Scottish musician Bruce Davis

More info: http://www.breadstreetbrasserie.co.uk/burns-supper/


  1. Burns Night Ceilidh

Location: Scottish Café and Restaurant

Date: 27th and 28th January

Event info: The night will kick off with a three-course dinner before dancing the night away with a ceilidh and live band. Help will be on hand with guests being guided through each dance

More info: http://www.contini.com/whats-on/burns-night-ceilidh-2017


  1. Tam O’Shanter: Telling the big tale

Location: Scottish Storytelling Centre Training Venue

Date: 20th January

Event info: Explore the poet’s narrative as guests gain an understanding of the poet’s    defining work

More info: http://www.tracscotland.org/scottish-storytelling-centre/centre-events/6187/tam-o%E2%80%99shanter-telling-the-big-tale


  1. Burns Night Supper

Location:  Whiskibar

Date: 25th January

Event info: Award winning MacSweens Haggis is on the menu featuring the venues whisky cream sauce. Traditional Scottish fiddle band will be playing live

More info: http://www.whiskibar.co.uk/about/burns-night–2017.html

Celebrating Robert Burns: the poet laureate’s 5 greatest works

Burns Night is fast approaching, many of us will be sitting down to a meal of haggis, neaps and tatties washed down with a dram of delicious amber. There is an important reason why we celebrate Rabbie Burns in Scotland and it is a very simple one: he is a national treasure, our greatest ever poet, whose works are known all around the world.

But, how familiar are you with the works of the legendary Scots bard? Here are 5 of his greatest works, still as poignant today as back in the 1700’s when they were first written.

To a Mouse

Burns 1

Burns wrote this after turning up a mouse’s nest with a plough in 1725. The poem talks of the relationship between man and nature; Burns ponders the existential meaning of his own existence in this wonderfully crafted piece. A trademark of Burns was his ability to take everyday happenings and use them to make a greater point about the world around him.

Best couplet:

I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion

Has broken Nature’s social union,

Auld Lang Syne

A song sang at Hogmanay, weddings and birthdays in Scotland; any excuse really. Many people are not aware that the song was written by Burns, yet everyone knows the words.

Best Couplet:

We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

A Red, Red rose

A romantic piece from burns who was known for his many conquests in love. Who knew Marvin Gaye was actually following in the footsteps of Rabbie burns? The Scot’s sonneteer states that his love will never die and will essentially last an eternity, touching.

To a Louse

Again, Burns discusses something he has observed, this time it is a louse on the head of the most beautiful girl in Church, Jenny. The poem is humorous; Burns uses fake outrage to describe how he feels about a common louse going about its business on the head of this attractive woman. Jenny is a person who would be considered “stuck up”.

Rabbie makes the point that the louse does not care for airs and graces but if Jenny could see how others looked upon her, maybe she would change her ways. A parable still relevant to this day,

Burns 9

Best Couplet:

O wad some Power the giftie gie us

To see oursels as ithers see us!

Address to a Haggis

This poem is where the association between Burns and haggis began, he was particularly fond of the offal delicacy and this address is read before every meal on Burns night. A fitting tribute.

Burns 5

Best Couplet:

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,

Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!

Have a great Burns Night…



Celebrating Scotland – Greatest Scottish Literature Writers

Burns Night – the annual celebration of one of Scotland’s greatest literary figures – is less than a week away. So, as we celebrate all things Scottish it seems only natural that we look at some of the most celebrated figures in Scottish literature – from poets, playwrights and novelists – from the past to the present.

Robert Burns


The man himself. Scotland’s national poet and,  according to a 2009 public vote organised by STV, the greatest ever Scot. Some of his works include Hogmanay favourite ‘Auld Lang Syne‘, ‘A Red, Red Rose‘, and ‘A Man’s A Man For A’ That‘. A vast majority of Burns’ work is in the public domain so there is no excuse to not brush up on your knowledge of the Bard – it can be found here: http://www.robertburns.org/works/ 

Sir Walter Scott


The Edinburgh-born novelist, poet and playwright, Sir Walter Scott remains a popular historical figure in Scottish literature. His influence can be seen clearly in the captial city – his novel ‘Waverley’ gave Edinburgh’s main train station its name and a monument in his honour towers over Princes Street. In addition, his face adorns Scottish banknotes. A huge figure in Scottish history.

Robert Louis Stevenson


Sticking with Edinburgh-born writers, his most famous works include the pirate adventure ‘Treasure Island’ and the influential horror ‘Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’. His stories have remained popular for over a hundred years and have received numerous adaptations over the years. Stevenson was also a keen poet and traveller, he died in Samoan Islands in 1894.

J.M. Barrie

by George Charles Beresford, vintage print, 1902

Pirates also played a big part of this author’s best known work, Barrie being primarily known as the author of ‘Peter Pan’, the timeless tale of the boy who would not grow up. Starting its life as a play in 1904, it was not until 1911 that the novel was released. The story continues to resonate with children and adults alike with an abundance of film and television adaptations – the best known of which is easily Disney’s 1953 animated film.

Alasdair Grey

Moving onto more modern figures now and Alasdair Grey is probably best known for his first novel ‘Lanark’ which was written over a period of 30 years. The book is still considered to be one of the most important of the past century, with its surreal yet realist depiction of Glasgow helping it take its rightful place as part of Scottish culture.

Iain Banks


A celebrated Science-Fiction author whose Culture series continues to influence the genre today. Born in Dunfermline in 1954, his first novel ‘The Wasp Factory’ was released in 1984. However, it was with the release of 1987’s ‘Consider Phlebas’ that he moved the genre away from its cyberpunk obsession and in turn helped to revive the space opera genre. He passed away at the age of 59 due to cancer, but lives on through his work.

Ian Rankin


A hugely prolific author, Rankin is the author behind the Inspector Rebus series of novels. Since 1987, there have been 21 novels in the series, which found a large audience as a television series between 2000 and 2007. Rankin’s series has cultivated a large following and looks to continue for a long time.

Irvine Welsh


Welsh’s first novel, ‘Trainspotting’ was published in 1993 and since then he has garnered a reputation for being a raw, controversial but excellent author. His stories depict a brutal side of Edinburgh that is rarely seen – sex, drugs and violence are major themes in his works. The film adaptation of Trainspotting had a huge impact on Scottish culture. With the imminent release of Trainspotting 2 it seems Welsh will continue to have an impact as one of Scotland’s modern literary greats.

Of course, this is just a small selection of Scottish literature greats. We would like you to tell us some of your favourites, either in the comment selection below or on Twitter @en4news2016

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