Skip Navigation

'Burns in Ulster' Exhibition in Dumfries until...

31 March 2015, 10:00, Robert Burns Centre, Mill Road, Dumfries, DG2 7BE

Runs to 31 March 2015

A new exhibition which highlights Robert Burns' links with Ulster will be on display at the Robert Burns Centre in Dumfries from April 1 2014.

Dumfries and Galloway has had many close links with Ulster over the centuries. Each day the busy road from Cairnryan to Dumfries is filled with thousands of travellers from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  Over 700 years ago, when Robert the Bruce fled down Friar's Vennel in Dumfries in 1306, his ultimate destination would be Rathlin Island just off the coast of County Antrim - and when he returned to Scotland in 1307 his first victory would be at Glen Trool in Galloway Forest Park.  In the early 1600s, thousands of families sailed across the water to make Ulster their home. Later in the 1600s, many Covenanters such as Alexander Peden fled across the water for refuge. Many people in Ulster today are of Scottish descent, just as many in Scotland are of Irish descent. 


Even though Burns never made the journey himself, many of Burns' friends and descendants did. For example, James Gray was rector of Dumfries grammar school and educated Burns' children. The two men became friends and Gray later moved to Belfast to become Principal of Belfast Academy - Gray's portrait features in the exhibition.


Martha Burns Thomas was Burns’ great granddaughter - she had lived in Belfast for around 25 years, and took part in the Burns Centenary events in Dumfries in 1896 along with representatives of many Burns Clubs including the Belfast Burns Club.



Mill Road, Dumfries DG2 7BE. Tel: 01387 264808

Situated in the town’s eighteenth century watermill on the west bank of the River Nith, the Robert Burns Centre tells the story of Robert Burns’ last years spent in the bustling streets and lively atmosphere of Dumfries in the late eighteenth century. The exhibition is illuminated by many original manuscripts and belongings of the poet. There is a fascinating scale model of Dumfries in the 1790s and a haunting audio-visual presentation. Test your powers of observation with a gallery investigation, discover Dumfries and Galloway’s Burns connections and browse around the shop. Upstairs at the Robert Burns Centre, the Hullabaloo Café Gallery hosts a lively programme of contemporary works by local artists.


Open all year

April – September

Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm

Sunday 2pm - 5pm

October – March,

Tuesday - Saturday

10am - 1pm, 2pm - 5pm

Admission free

(Audio Visual Theatre Presentations, The early life of Burns or Dumfries - Queen of the South, Adults: £2.35, Concession: £1.15)


For more information visit, telephone 01387 264808 or email


The connection between Burns and Ulster is an auld acquaintance that should never be forgot.



Please complete the following form to leave a comment about this article.

* Mandatory field - please complete