John had a morning meeting in Glasgow and dropped me in Dumfries town centre early in the morning because I wanted to scout for portrait locations and check the light (as one does). Thus I found myself wondering around High Street before shops and pubs were open and saw a sign for the Globe Inn. It pointed down to a narrow dark alley that lead to the one of the one of the oldest pubs in Dumfries, established in 1610, and to the hidden coutyard behind.
Firmly associated with Robert Burns who frequently shared a drink or two in the Globe Inn with his friends, flirted with its barmaids and was even inspired to write some of his verses there, the tavern was described by the poet himself as his favourite ‘Houff’ ( his drinking haunt).
The place is loaded with Burns memorabilia, collages and prints hanging on the walls. The room where he stayed has poetry etched by his diamond pin into the window glass. His favourite chair that survived the bashes of time can still be sat on. It’s the original place of the Dumfries Burns Club founded by his fans in 1820.
Back to my scouting forray – although the Globe Inn was yet closed for visitors its hiddem coutyard and the lovely Tam O’Shanter garden were accessible at the rear of the pub. Of course, neither the coutyard nor the garden housing plants and heathers from the time when the bard was still alive existed in Burns lifetime. However, I was not disappointed by this fact.
After all, they are created in memory of the famous compatriot and atested to the love Dumfries community holds for him.
Two Burns murals painted by local artist Josephine McSkimming decorate the courtyard walls. The stone plaque boasts the poet’s verse from 1795. Love seats in the middle of the paved space allude to his bountiful love dalliances in the Globe Inn where he ‘had many a merry squeeze’. One offers its occupants a vintage point onto three decorative graphic cutout pieces, some in need of a fresh lick of paint, that also refer to Burns life.
One of the cutouts, a seated female figure deep in thought, caught my attention. Is it the long-suffering Jean Armour, his wife, who brought up Robert’s daughter from Anna Park, the niece of the Globe’s landlady, after Anna had passed away shortly after giving birth?
I am glad I came across the place – it gave me some food for thought and a pretext to take some photos im memory of the great bard who died in Dumfries on 21 July 1796 (aged 37).
If you want to see more of the photos from this photo walk, please visit my Globe Inn Flickr gallery. And if you are a visitor in Dumfries do visit the place for a haggis lunch and enjoy the friendly atmosphere.