Who was Robert Burns?

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Be inspired by the events taking place throughout the Year of Homecoming Scotland
Scotland welcomes the world in 2014

Come and experience all that is great about Scotland as part of the Year of Homecoming 2014

  • Burns Cottage at Alloway, birthplace of Robert Burns
    Burns Cottage at Alloway
  • The Brig O' Doon House Hotel and the Burns Monument and Gardens at Alloway, birthplace of Robert Burns, South Ayrshire.
    The Brig O' Doon House Hotel and the Burns Monument and Gardens at Alloway
  • Inside the Robert Burns House Museum, Dumfries & Galloway
    Robert Burns House Museum, Dumfries & Galloway

Find out about Scotland’s National Bard, Robert Burns, his colourful life and how he became one of the most famous figures in literary history.

Robert Burns is one of Scotland’s most important literary figures and is best known for his famous, and often humorous, songs and poetry. Burns was an inspiring and passionate pioneer of his generation and is regarded as Scotland’s National Bard.

More commonly known as Rabbie, Burns was born to a poor family in Alloway, Ayr, on 25 January 1759 and began his working life on the family farm. Burns’ father recognised the importance of education and hired a local teacher for Burns, who went on to demonstrate signs of an exceptional writing talent from a very young age.

As Burns grew older, his great passion for Scotland and his dynamic, contemporary vision played an important role in inspiring the founders of socialism and liberalism. His literary fame began when his first work Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, later known as the Kilmarnock Edition, was published in 1786 after which his writing career flourished.

Although Burns only lived to the age of 37, he enjoyed an eventful life and produced an astonishing amount of great literary work during his career.

Burns is famous for his political views, revolutionary behaviour and his love for the lassies, all of which can be seen in his extensive catalogue of work. Burns was also inspired by the beauty of Scotland, particularly the breathtaking scenery of Ayrshire, his birthplace, and the romantic setting of his later home region of Dumfries & Galloway.

Although more than 200 years have passed since his death, Burns remains one of the most celebrated figures in Scottish history and culture, demonstrated by the annual Burns Night celebrations held across the country on 25 January each year.

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