With music, with song and, of course, with haggis, more than 115 people celebrated the Scottish poet Robert Burns with a Burns supper in St. Johnston on Friday night.
“It was an overwhelming success,” said Kieran Fegan, manager of the Monreagh Heritage and Education Centre in Carrigans, which organised the event with East Donegal Ulster Scots.
“We thought we would have had a few not attending because of the weather, but everybody turned out,” he said. The supper was held at the St. Johnston and Carrigans Family Resource Centre.
Guests enjoyed a sparkling wine reception, the traditional haggis with neeps and tatties and Scottish trifle. The haggis was piped in by Lee Duncan, with Malcolm Riddell providing the traditional address to the haggis and Burns’ well-known Selkirk grace: “Some hae meat but canna eat/ And some hae meat that want it/ But we hae meat and we can eat/ Sae let the Lord be thankit.”
Stewart Buchanan delivered the humorous toast to the lassies and Mary Colhoun delivered the lassies’ response. Later, guests enjoyed Burns songs followed by music and dance by the Lagan Fiddlers.
“People were saying it was the best Burns supper they attended, and for some people it was their first experience of a Burns supper, so it was an educational tool as well for a lot of people,” Kieran said.
The event was a cross-border celebration that drew people from Catholic and Protestant backgrounds. “It was very much a cross-community event,” Kieran said.
“Overall it was a blinding success – a good night of singing, dance, storytelling and speeches,” he said. “And haggis – don’t forget the haggis.”
The Monreagh Education and Heritage Centre will welcome another guest on Friday, Jan. 25th, when journalist, author and documentary filmmaker Karen McCarthy will visit the Carrigans centre to launch her new book, “The Other Irish”, from 2 to 3pm.