The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Ayrshire is focal point for launch of Homecoming Scotland 2009

ALLOWAY in South Ayrshire will play a leading role in Scotland’s Homecoming Year, which is created and timed to mark the 250th anniversary of our national poet Robert Burns and will officially open with a weekend of celebrations in his honour.

Over the weekend of 23 and 25 January 2009, Alloway in Ayrshire will be involved in part of the opening weekend celebrations that will kick off the Homecoming Scotland events programme featuring more than 300 inspirational events that connects with the year’s themes of Burns, golf, whisky, great Scottish minds and innovations and ancestry. Spanning the length and breadth of the country the programme of events has been created to encourage Scots, people with Scots ancestry and those who simply love Scotland to ‘come home’ and celebrate in 2009.

[Pictured: South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan, Councillor Margaret Toner, and actors Angie Dight and Kevin Kelly at the Brig O’ Doon in Alloway, launching Iconic Burns part of the opening weekend programme of Homecoming Scotland 2009 that features more than 300 inspirational events throughout the year and has been inspired by the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns. CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]

South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan attended the launch of Iconic Burns, which will be one of the highlights of the programme. Staged in Alloway, the birthplace of Robert Burns on Saturday 24 January 2009, it will see the village become a focal point for the Burns celebrations. Village locations such as Burns Cottage, The Brig O’ Doon and The Auld Kirk will be brought to life in a one-off extravaganza for this special year. Some of the UK’s top lighting and design artists brought together by UZ Events, are involved in what will be a unique Burns tribute. Free tickets are available by public ballot by registering on before 11 January 2009.

[Pictured: Actors rehearse at the Brig O’ Doon in preparation for the opening weekend of Homecoming Scotland 2009. The year long celebrations are inspired by the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns.]

Speaking about the forthcoming events, Provost Winifred Sloan said: “As the birth place of Robert Burns and the Open Golf Championship, South Ayrshire attracts visitors from all over the world, and I can think of no better year to visit than in 2009, the 250th anniversary of the birth of our national Bard, when South Ayrshire will be at the epicentre of Homecoming 2009. I would encourage people who were born or grew up in this area to come home during this very special time. Likewise for Scottish people who live abroad, have Scottish ancestors, business connections or simply those who love all things Scottish make a commitment to yourself to come to South Ayrshire in 2009. Many international sports stars, inventors, artists, academics and business people are Scottish and know the importance of their heritage and culture. Come and visit South Ayrshire and we can promise you a very warm welcome.”

[Pictured: The Brig O' Doon is brought to life by top UK lighting designer and performers as they rehearse for the opening weekend of Homecoming Scotland 2009.]

Alloway will also host the ‘Homecoming Burns Supper’ which will pay tribute to some of those who keep the legacy of Burns alive today. The event, overlooking the Brig O’ Doon, will be a centrepiece for The World Famous Burns Supper Celebration, created in partnership with The Famous Grouse. Burns Suppers around the world will link up for the first time ever on The dedicated site already shows hundreds of Burns Suppers taking place around the world from the Ukraine to the USA and from the top of Canada’s CN Tower to the top of Ben Nevis.

A host of other activity will be taking place across South Ayrshire including Burns Wha Hae, a weekend of performance, theatre, live music and family fun. Highlights include concerts from Martin Taylor, The Dubliners and Counselled Out, The Gaiety Theatre will host ‘I’ Robert Burns and there will be a jam packed town centre party with a fairground and family entertainment on the streets and in some of the stores. Burns Wha Hae will take place Friday 23 January 2009 to Sunday 25 January 2009.

On Burns Day on 25 January 2009, don’t miss a very special event ‘Alloway 1759’ where the streets of Alloway will be transported back 250 years to the day the bard was born. Burns Cottage will be reminiscing with ‘A bard is born’, street characters will welcome you to Alloway and you can take a horse and cart ride to ‘a Star is born’ at Rozelle’ or enjoy The Tam O’ Shanter rant.

All Ayrshire homecoming events will be detailed on

Paul Bush, Chief Operating Officer, EventScotland said: “For Homecoming Scotland 2009 the Burns Night celebrations extend across the weekend and indeed throughout the year. The programme offers more than 300 events taking place across the country with hundreds of individuals and organisations working hard to make the year a success.”

Neil Butler, Artistic Director of UZ Events said: “Robert Burns is Scotland’s most important literary figure, whose appeal spreads throughout the world. UZ Events are delighted to be producing Iconic Burns - a fitting launch to the Homecoming Scotland 2009 celebrations. The strong team involved with the event represents some of the best creative artists working in the UK today, who have been behind some of the country’s most memorable events.”

Shirley Bell of The Robert Burns World Federation said: “We are delighted that people from all walks of life and all corners of the globe are able to participate in the many splendid Homecoming events taking place during 2009 in Alloway and beyond. We are especially pleased that the 250th anniversary of the Poet’s birth will set the scene for an exciting year in Scotland.”

A full list of events is available on


Situated in the south west of Scotland South Ayrshire covers an area of 422 square miles or 1,222 square kilometres. There are rural and urban communities, which offer wonderful locations to work, rest or play.

South Ayrshire has so much to offer, it is not just a place to live and work, but provides an opportunity for residents and visitors of all ages and from all walks of life to enjoy a great lifestyle.

There are excellent transport connections to this area, including Glasgow Prestwick Airport with its own railway terminal, the Seacat ferry terminal in Troon, modern rail, bus and road connections which make travelling so easy.

World famous golf courses, a racecourse, leisure facilities both public and private, parks, beaches and the sea offer a wide variety of ways to spend leisure time. Ayr town centre has a wide variety of shops many of which are independently owned but there are also a number of large chain stores situated in the town, eating establishments offering various styles of cuisine, a cinema, theatre and even nightclubs.

Just walking around Ayr and other towns and villages in South Ayrshire is a thrill with traditional sandstone, cottage style, Georgian or Victorian houses and buildings we have very diverse architecture.

Miles of unspoilt coastline provide wonderful views from many towns and villages in this area. Particularly beautiful is the magnificent beach in Ayr, with stretches of golden sand.

One of the greatest assets that South Ayrshire has is the local people, known the world over for the warm welcome they give to people from all over the globe. This is one of the reasons why South Ayrshire has such a thriving tourist industry, because whatever visitors desire every attempt is made to meet their needs.

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