Craigdarroch Castles’ annual Robbie Burns day celebration saw ten pounds of Haggis disappear almost as quickly as it was addressed.
A Celtic rock band began playing at 11 a.m, and the Haggis was piped in at noon. Haggis chef and piper Cole Griffiths read Burns’ Address to a Haggis. Each guest got a small sample, finishing the dish within half an hour.
“The world over people just love Robert Burns’ poetry,” Castle Curator Bruce Davies said. “There was one that he did, a ballad, in which the word Craigdarroch is mentioned and it’s referring to Annie Laurie’s home in Scotland.”
According to Davies, that home is referred to in Burns’ The Whistle—A Ballad. That poem tells the story of a drinking championship wherein players would drink until they couldn’t blow a whistle anymore. The last person who was able to to blow the whistle won. A brochure provided to guests explains that Alexander Fergusson of Craidarroch won the game that burns described, and therefore won a whistle. That whistle still exists and is on display in Scotland.
“I don’t know if the Dunsmuir’s named their house because of this drinking championship, but it’s kind of a funny thing to think about,” Davies said. “There was a bit of drinking in the family. Alexander Dunsmuir, according to court testimony sometimes drank two and a half quarts of Canadian Club Rye whiskey per day. I don’t know whether he ate Haggis.”
Two and a half U.S. quarts is a little over 2.3 litres. Measured in imperial, that comes to 2.8 litres.
There was no where near a quart of whiskey consumed during the Robert Burns festivities at Victoria’s Craigdarroch, let alone two.