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Living in Irvine was a mixture of emotions for Burns. He went there so he could become a flax dresser, make his own way in life and hopefully marry Alison Begbie but she turned him down which he struggled to take.

There were to be many dark times in Irvine for Burns. He so missed the fields and nature and this type of work was not satisfying to him. He grew ill and melancholy, writing to his father saying he might die. He composed 'Winter'.

But despite this and other misfortune, Irvine did become transformational for Burns. He lost his virginity here and changed his style of dress. He made a great friend and fellow spirit in a sailor called Brown who also loved the ladies.


It was Brown who suggested Burns get published on a walk they took to The Drukken Steps. In a letter to John Moore Burns wrote 'my reading has only increased in this town' and he frequented William Templeton's Bookshop.

Irvine has an excellent trail in place and truly celebrates all of their Burns associations today. Although Burns did not live in Irvine for long, the social life, friendships and varied encounters led to some real discoveries for Burns.


Walk around the Irvine Burns Trail to discover some of the many locations that led to Burns, the changing man  ... 

The tempest's howl, it soothes my soul
My griefs it seems to join
The leafless trees my fancy please,
Their fate resembles mine! ...

Winter : A Dirge


Burns Irvine.jpg


Wellwood Burns Centre

& Museum
Irvine Burns Club | Exhibits



Drukken Steps Cairn
In memory of the walk where Brown suggested Burns published

Burns Lodgings

Glasgow Vennal where Burns stayed

The Crown Inn

Where Irvine Burns Club was formed

Dr Fleemings Cures

Pavement interpretation of the time Burns had fever in Irvine

Templeton's Bookshop

The site of the shop Burns frequented

The Heckling Shop

Where Burns was learning flax dressing

The Old Parish Church

Burns attended here. Now has a commemorative window

Helen Miller McKenzie Grave

One of the Mauchline lasses featured in Burns poetry

Irvine Harbour

Seafarer Richard Brown's spot



2. Irvine Bank St Bronze Statue

98. Irvine Drukken Steps Cairn

104. Irvine Dr Fleemings Cures Pavement Slab

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