Kirkoswald – South Ayrshire

South West Scotland Kirkoswald

Kirkoswald Churchyard. South West Scotland

Kirkwoswald is a small village on the A77 about halfway between Glasgow and Portpatrick. All too often visitors to our area don`t bother stopping here. However, Kirkoswald has much to offer, particularly for those with an interest in our Bard – Robert Burns.

Kirkoswald Churchyard is just beside the main road. Its history dates back to 1244 when the church was built by monks from nearby Crossraguel Abbey. The ruins presently on the site date back to 1777. Local characters upon which Robert Burns` epic poem Tam o` Shanter was based are buried in this churchyard – Tam himself and Souter Johnnie.

Across the road from the churchyard is Souter Johnnie`s Cottage – complete with a thatched roof! The cottage is open to the public and was the home of the original Souter Johnnie in Tam o` Shanter. Souter Johnnie was a shoemaker and there is a reconstructed shoemaking workshop in the cottage. In the garden behind the cottage is a restored thatched alehouse in which there are life-sized statues of Tam o` Shanter, Souter Johnnie, the Inn Keeper and his wife.

Whisky Tasting in Kirkoswald

In 2012, A D Rattray opened the purpose built Whisky Experience and Shop – a four star Visitor Attraction. Here you can discover some of the rarest single malts or book a tasting tour to sample a special selection of award winning whiskies. You can even fill your own personal bottle straight from a cask!

Crossraguel Abbey

A few miles north of Kirkoswald, near Maybole, are the imposing ruins of Crossraguel Abbey. The abbey was founded in the 13th century by the Earl of Carrick. Although it is a ruin, Crossraguel Abbey still contains the original monk`s church, cloister and dovecote. The Chapter House contains fine architectural features.