In 2012, Irvine Burns Club celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the opening of its Wellwood Burns Centre and Museum with its unique collection of Burns manuscripts, books, paintings and letters
In the same year, it broke new ground when it launched an exciting new project that has attracted substantial funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Irvine Harbourside Project, managed in partnership with North Ayrshire Council, Irvine Bay Regeneration, The Scottish Maritime Museum, and several other local bodies, is about re-discovering and promoting the vibrant history and heritage of what was once Scotland’s 3rd ranked port and celebrating it with the local community of all ages. By focussing on the story of the once bustling and busy port, and making it come alive again in a variety of ways, Irvine Harbourside can also become a cultural tourism destination attracting visitors to its pubs and restaurants, shops, cafes, museums, arts centre and galleries.
Among its many claims to fame, none is greater - and possibly less well known - than the role that the Harbourside played in bringing together Captain Richard Brown, a local seafarer, and a young Ayrshire farmer, Robert Burns, during his stay in the town between 1781 and 1782. As Burns freely admitted some five years later in a letter to Brown, it was his advice, on hearing some of Burns’ poems, that encouraged Burns “to endeavour at the character of a Poet” and have them published.
Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund
(HLF) Scotland, said:
“This is an extremely exciting project driven by Irvine local residents. It demonstrates how our heritage can be a living part of a community bringing people together to learn from and enjoy their shared identity. We are delighted to see projects such as this are coming through, opening up the heritage to new audiences while delivering real benefits to the community.”
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