Welcome to our page on Scotland's National Poet, Robert Burns. While not from North Ayrshire, he did live and work here for a period in his life. Irvine is also home to the historic Irvine Burns Club, which was founded in 1826.
Born in Alloway in 1759, Robert was a 22 year old farmer when he came to Irvine to learn flax dressing. He learnt the trade at 10 Glasgow Vennel.
It was in Irvine that Robert met the men who would play a large part in encouraging him to become a poet. He spent many hours in Templeton’s bookshop on the High Street and here he discovered the works of many Scots writers. It was his friend Captain Richard Brown that suggested that Robert should publish his poems.
Robert’s stay in Irvine came to an abrupt halt when, whilst celebrating Hogmanay at 10 Glasgow Vennel, a candle was knocked over and burnt the building to the ground, leaving Robert “like a true poet, not worth sixpence”.
Robert stayed in Irvine until the spring of 1782 when he returned to Lochlie Farm, not as a farmer but as a poet.