The subject of Burns Night is a contentious one here at Totally Dublin. Is it a thing in Dublin? Isn’t it a thing? It’s been a long old January, and some of us are of the view that if it isn’t, maybe it should be.
Over at L Mulligan in Stoneybatter the issue has been well and truly decided. It’s definitely a thing, and their well established Burns Night homage to Scottish poet ‘Rabbie Burns’ has been going strong for eleven years now. Given the current lockdown, they’ve moved to an online click and collect fest this year. It’s proving as popular as ever, and the bad news is that the event is now completely sold out.
Still, a celebration of Scot excess is an idea well worth embracing, and never more so than in the midst of a locked down Dublin in 2021. The good news is that there’s still time to get organised to set yourselves up for a Burns Night supper to remember, and enjoy your own Highland fling at home. There are some key ingredients… Haggis, tartan and whiskey of course, followed by cracking entertainment in the form of some rousing poetry and that all important Address to a Haggis.
First the Haggis… This year’s fest may have been caught in an axis of evil, what with Covid 19 and Brexit, with the latter in particular having scuppered the usual supply of ready-made Haggis. It takes guts to make your own haggis (Boom! Boom!) but not to worry… if you talk sweetly to your local craft butcher they may be able to rustle up something nice for you.
Alternatively, delicious Irish handmade versions can be obtained from Jack McCarthy’s of Kanturk. Word is that they are purveyors of really great Irish Haggis, and the good news is that they deliver nationwide. Word to the wise – you’ll need to be quick and give them a ring, as these babies are in very limited supply.
Next up are the neeps ‘n tatties – that’s turnips and spuds to the uninitiated. Prep them in the usual way, boil them both up and you’re good to go.
Then of course you’ll need a dram of whiskey. The choice is yours… a drop of Scotch if that’s your preference, and Irish is good too. On this front we’re spoiled for choice. We’ll be imbibing a bit of both – kicking off with some top notch Glenfiddich and finishing off with a snifter of Writer’s Tears.
For afters, tradition dictates that it must be the wonderfully comforting Scottish Clootie Dumpling Pudding. The spiced pudding comes studded with dried fruits, wrapped in a cloth and simmered in water over a long period, then roasted to perfection. We’re not sure where you can get that in Dublin, but we did find a great (and easy) recipe for it here.
After that, all that’s left to do is get the fire on, set the table and prepare to address the haggis. We’re reliably informed by our Scottish pals that this is the definitive version:
If you’re looking for some added atmosphere, there are a good selection of live virtual events taking place this year. Edinburgh-based haggis brand Macsween have teamed up with Scottish comedy actor Karen Dunbar and ‘The First Lady of Scotch whisky’ Dr. Rachel Barrie, master blender for Benriach distillery, in a bid to bring what may well be the largest virtual Burns Supper to homes across the globe. Macsween Burns Supper takes place at 7pm on 25 January. The event will be aired online here and anyone can join in the fun for free.
Burns Night takes place on Monday January 25th