Sunday, 8 March 2009

Burns in Newry

Address to the Haggis

The 'Bard' and I were off to Newry, County Down, on Saturday night. A fine city on the border of Northern Ireland and Eire. There was to be a 'Gala Dinner' as part of a week long celebration of Burns 250th with me as principal speaker and performer. I was billed as a 'world renowned Burns Scholar', so no pressure then! The venue was Altnaveigh House and I was made very welcome by the Chair of Altnaveigh - David Hanna - whom I met earlier in the day, along with my friend and colleague Anthony Russell, during the live radio broadcast.

The evening was to be a Burns Supper, with me as adviser, proposer of the Immortal Memory and main singer/reciter, rather than a Burns250 show, but in costume none-the-less. A local ceilidh band 'Rising Stour' were also playing.

For the Immortal memory I used many slides from the show with the addition of some special ones on local Burns connections. As so often happens at these events time was our worst enemy but we managed to get through a varied programme by midnight, although sadly Tam O Shanter had to be omitted. Feedback from the over 120 guests was very positive and it is hoped this will become an annual event.....
A big thanks from me to all the organisers for inviting them to play for them, especially David and Anthony.

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