Ayrshire, Scotland

Alloway Kirk, Ayrshire, Scotland

The Auld Kirk of Alloway is most famous because of it's setting for part of Robert Burns' "Tam O' Shanter".

In the poem Tam, coming home one night drunk, peers into the Kirk's window to see witches dancing.  He is seen and pursued across the nearby bridge, he narrowly escapes but his mare's tail is pulled off.

Back in reality the Kirk was built around 1516 and was last used for a service in 1756 by which time it was already in a poor state.  Burns' father lies buried in the churchyard, although the gravestone is a replacement - the original was stolen. Burns was born in a nearby cottage and the otherwise insignificant settlement of Alloway has become something of a shrine to Scotland's national poet.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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