Belfast Burns Week 2018 launched by Ulster Scots Agency

The Bard's 259th birthday will be celebrated this month with drama, poetry, concerts and lectures throughout the city

The Ulster-Scots Agency has launched Belfast Burns Week 2018 to celebrate the January 25 birthday of 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 1700’s to the present day, the Ulster Scots Agency has programmed a series of events to coincide with the Bards birthday.

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


Christopher Tait performs as Robert Burns Live

Events will see Blue Badge guide and historian Laura Spence deliver a talk on the Life, Loves and Legacy of Robert Burns. This one hour talk will explore the loves and losses of Burns and how this has influenced his works and image to this day. The talk will be held in the Discover Ulster Scots Centre at 1pm 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, compered by Education officer for the Ulster Scots Community Network Matthew Warwick and with entertainment by Risin’ Stour ceilidh band. Food will be provided and booking is essential.

Home to the world's largest collection of Burns material outside Scotland, the Linen Hall Library will host tours of the Gibson collection on Wednesday 24 and Friday January 26 at 2pm. Not only does a tour of the library unlock the secrets of its archives and collections, but it also takes visitors back through the early days of Belfast. Tours are free and can be booked via the website.

Linen Hall Library

Robert Burns Live performer Christopher Tait takes to the stage at the Spectrum Centre on Friday January 26 to portray the Bard himself. Watch him recite his famous poems; 'To a Mouse', 'To a Louse' and 'Holy Willie's Prayer'. Marvel at the power of 'Tam o' Shanter' or the beauty of a 'Red, Red Rose'. Tait has enthralled audiences around the world.

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

The full programme can be viewed and tickets for Belfast Burns Week events can be booked at Tickets for the Burns Concert can be booked via the Waterfront Hall website at