Nice seeing your honest, chubby face,
Great chieftain of the sausage race!
– Opening line of, Address to a Haggis, Robert Burns 1786
Last night (Sunday) I attended the 8th annual Robert Burns Night at Mulligans on the Blue. If you have never had the opportunity to attend one, or have no idea who Robert Burns is, let me try to set the scene and explain.
The evening is meant to honor and celebrate the life of Robbie Burns, a Scottish poet and lyricist who lived in the mid to late 1700’s. The night began with Roger “The Mad Piper” McKinley giving the crowd a brief schedule of events. Unable to begin the festivities because Mike O’Dwyer (owner of Mulligans) was running a wee bit late, Roger explained a few things that are usually present at a Burns Night dinner. Necessary items for a Burns Night celebrations include: toasts, reading of Burns’ poetry and songs, Scotch Whisky and Haggis.
If you are unfamiliar with the Scottish dish of haggis, let me try to explain. Haggis is the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep minced up with onions, oatmeal, a ton of spices and held inside the stomach lining of the sheep and boiled until the insides are cooked.
Hungry yet? If done nicely it is a tasty dish, but most people cannot get past what makes up the haggis to try it with an open mind.
The Piping of the Haggis began the night’s festivities. Roger played his bagpipes (in full Scottish regalia, kilt and all) and led the haggis from the kitchen to the stage. The audience began a slow clap to keep a beat and the procession began. Eileen followed the pipes and was carrying the haggis on a serving plate, holding it above her head, presenting it for all to see. Next was Cameron with two bottles of scotch whisky, followed by a gentleman who was going to read some verse.
The haggis was given center stage as the gentleman read Burns’ Address to a Haggis. The haggis was cut and the toasts began.
To Scotland! To Ireland! To Hawaii Nei!
It’s a good thing I was enjoying a Harp and not whisky, otherwise I would have been hammered fifteen minutes into this celebration. Roger played some tunes, more people came up and read or sang some verse and the night continued much like that for the next hour or so.
After Roger finished his set The Chancers (see blog from the other day) took the stage. Once again, I was entertained by this band based out of Portland, Oregon who put on a lively show and played some great music. The dance floor was rarely empty the entire time they played. Although I missed my Celtic Tigers, it was a nice change for a Sunday.
Only 364 more days until haggis touches my lips again!