Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Londonderry Burns Club

Robert Burns window in the Linen Hall Library
Last Friday I visited the Robert Burns cottage in Alloway, the place where he was born.  

Since then I have been thinking about the number of Burns Clubs in Ulster and one in particular has taken my attention, the Burns Club in Londonderry.

For more than fifty years there was a Burns Club in the Maiden City. It seems to have been formed in 1907 as the Londonderry Burns Club and Caledonian Society. and there are regular newspaper reports of Burns Suppers and other social and cultural events through until at least 1957.

There was also a charitable side to the Londonderry Burns Club and in 1928 the members presented a 'memorial cot' to the Londonderry City and County Infirmary.

This was one of a number of Burns Clubs in Ulster, where there was a particular affection for the poetry of Robert Burns and there were also clubs in Belfast and Larne.  The first to be formed in Ulster was the club in Belfast and the Belfast Burns Association still meets but the Londonderry and Larne clubs ceased to function some years ago.

At one time it was said that in many homes in Ulster there were but two books, the Bible and Burns.

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