Website technical difficulties
Join
See all stories
23 Jan 2020

Wrestler pays special visit to Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

A man stands beside an illustration of Robert Burns superimposed on a saltire.
WWE superstar and local hero, Drew McIntyre, enjoyed a special homecoming, paying a visit to Robert Burns Birthplace Museum ahead of Burns Night.

The 34-year-old is currently one of the biggest stars in world wrestling and now lives in the United States, but he was born and brought up in Prestwick, just a short journey from the Alloway cottage and museum which is dedicated to Scotland’s national bard.

This was a rare opportunity for Drew to return home to Scotland, with the recent World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) tour criss-crossing Europe and including a three-night run in Dubai.

The visit features in a new video for the National Trust for Scotland, as our conservation charity cares for and protects the cottage where Burns was born, the award-winning museum situated nearby and several surrounding statues and landmarks.

Drew McIntyre returns to his hometown to visit Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.

Transcript

WWE superstar Drew McIntyre returned to his hometown of Ayr recently and followed in the footsteps of a local hero and legend at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.
D: Hi there.
H: Ah, there he is!
D: How tall were people back in the day?! It's very nice to meet you. Drew.
H: And Hugh.
D: Hugh! Hugh and Drew! That's got a good ring to it.
H: Great! Well, welcome back home to the birthplace of Robert Burns.
D: Thank you very much. I'm excited to be back home, especially to Burns Cottage. This is the kind of stuff we used to do as kids and never appreciated. When you go to America and then you're longing to come back home. This is exciting for me. Places like this need to be preserved for future generations. As you get older you start appreciating what came before us and part of our history, and Robert Burns is such a significant part of Scottish history. We need to keep this place going forever as far as I'm concerned. I'd love to bring my kids one day and bring my grandkids one day and hopefully, when I'm long gone, Burns Cottage will still be here. I thought Burns lived here; I didn't realise he was born here.
H: Yes, born in that corner there.
D: So tiny!
H: The National Trust for Scotland are determined that this story will go on and on and on.
D: It's essential for Scotland itself that we have such a significant history. As I tell people all the time, there's literally 5 million of us. We have the wildest history and everyone wants to be Scottish. We have to preserve our history in every way we possibly can. Burns is such a significant piece. What makes us so unique across the world and makes us so cool to everyone across the world.
D: Some pretty cool cats.
D: Burns is right in the centre, getting interviewed by Elvis. I like how Shakespeare is also pointing, going 'Burns is the man!'. There he is.
H: Hi there.
D: Looking a bit different outside your costume.
H: Have we met before?
D: You look familiar, I can't quite put my finger on it.
H: So welcome, for a seat in this wonderful chair with the twa dugs on the arms, Caesar and Luath. The great Muhammad Ali, world champion boxer, sat in this chair. How about Drew McIntyre, world champion wrestler, checking it out for size? Ahhhh, and for Auld lang syne, you can hold an original parchment.
D: An original?
D: I love being Scottish. I'm so proud to be from here and every time I get the opportunity to come home, all I want to do is learn more and take in our history. Thanks to the National Trust for Scotland people from around the world get the opportunity to visit places like Burns Cottage here and Burns Museum. They should because it's so important and I hope everyone in Scotland knows just how important how history is and just how much the rest of the world admires our history. If you're from Scotland you should be damn proud to be Scottish. I am, and I appreciate what the National Trust for Scotland are doing. So let's keep Scotland's history alive.
Visit today. Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

Drew’s wrestling persona draws on his heritage and he has been known to fly the Saltire at matches. During the visit he spoke about his love for Scotland and Burns’ works: ‘I am excited to be back home, especially being here at Burns Cottage,’ said Drew. ‘This is the kind of place we used to visit when I was growing up, but I never really appreciated it. When you go to America, you are longing to come back home and this is exciting for me.’

A man leans on an information panel about Burns Cottage, outside Burns Cottage.
Drew explores Burns Cottage.

The 18th-century cottage and modern museum have become a place of pilgrimage for Scottish expatriates and fans of the Bard’s work from all over the world. Research, published on 10 January by the University of Glasgow and launched at the cottage, revealed that Burns is worth £203 million annually to the Scottish economy. Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is second only to Shakespeare’s Birthplace among UK writers’ museums, in terms of visitor numbers.

Following a successful fundraising campaign, the cottage closed for vital repairs during winter but re-opened on Friday 17 January and will remain open to visitors until 30 January.

Drew heard of the challenges involved in preserving and protecting Burns’s legacy and called on all Scots to help support it. ‘Places like this need to be preserved for future generations,’ said Drew. ‘The work that the National Trust for Scotland is carrying out here is vital.

‘I love being Scottish. I am so proud to be from here and every time I get the opportunity to come here, all I want to do is learn more and take in our history. Thanks to the National Trust for Scotland, people from around the world get the opportunity to come here to visit places like Burns Cottage and Burns Museum.

‘It’s so important that everyone in Scotland knows how important our heritage is and just how much the rest of the world admires our history. If you’re from Scotland you should be damn proud to be Scottish, I know I am and I appreciate what the National Trust for Scotland are doing. So, let’s keep Scotland’s history alive.’

Two men shake hands in the doorway of Burns Cottage. One is dressed in 18th-century costume; the other is a famous wrestler.
Drew meets a costumed guide.

National Trust for Scotland volunteers and staff showed Drew around the property on the day, bringing Burns’s stories to life. They explained that Drew’s support is greatly appreciated and could help introduce Burns to a new audience.

Caroline Smith, Operations Manager at Robert Burns Birthplace Museum said: ‘We love to welcome all visitors to Robert Burns Birthplace Museum but to have Drew visit added a bit of extra excitement.

‘It was really interesting to meet Drew, who obviously has a strong local connection and has this genuine affection not only for Robert Burns but for his works. The fact he now lives in the United States means this fondness for Scotland, Burns and Scottish culture has grown. When you live here in Scotland, we sometimes take this for granted.’

‘It was a pleasure for the staff to meet him,’ Caroline added. ‘He was very friendly and took the time to speak to everyone. And we did our best to keep him going on food! He started off with a full breakfast and had haggis, neeps and tatties for his mid-morning snack!’

Two men stand outside Burns Cottage on a wet day. One is dressed in 18th-century costume; the other holds a sign stating Love.
Drew shows his love for the work of the National Trust for Scotland.

Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is hosting a series of special events to mark the Bard’s birthday. On the day itself (Saturday 25 January) there’s a free Burns Gala Day for visitors of all ages. A celebration of the life and legacy of Burns, it’ll feature traditional and contemporary live performances, food and drink tastings, and fun and games for families and little ones.

In the evening from 7pm, the museum will transform for the first ever Blazing Burns Night Spectacular – a ceilidh and choreographed fire show which is also suitable for all ages.

And on Sunday 26 January, the museum is hosting a Big Burns Brunch, with sittings at 11am or 1pm.

Explore Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

Visit now