Contributed by Club Members
Robert Burns never set foot in Ireland -- at least not during his earthly lifetime. However, his oldest sister, Agnes Burns Galt (1762-1834), lived from 1817 at Stephenstown Pond, near Dundalk in Co. Louth in what is now the Republic of Ireland, just south of what is now the border of Northern Ireland. She was buried in St. Nicholas Presbyterian1 churchyard at Dundalk. A memorial to her there bears the following inscription:
TIME BUT THE IMPRESSION STRONGER MAKES,
AS STREAMS THEIR CHANNELS DEEPER WEAR.
The last two lines are from Robert Burns' To Mary in Heaven (also known as Thou Lingering Star).
The Belfast Burns Club and the Stephenstown Pond Trust have undertaken the restoration of the Agnes Burns Cottage at Stephenstown Pond. A statement in the 1997 Burns Chronicle about the award-winning project says: We, The Belfast Burns Club, recognised that some form of Peace and Reconciliation Initiative in this island of ours might not go astray, and what better format for it to take but an association with the great Robert Burns and his work?
For more information on this project, write to:
Declan Breathnach and Annagh McCann
Co. Louth, Ireland