Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Greyfriars Kirk- Edinburgh Concert Venue and History: Greyfriars Bobby

Greyfriars Kirk played an important part in the history of post Reformation Scotland.  It was the first kirk or church to be built after the Reformation in Scotland in 1560.  The kirk opened in 1620 and was built on gothic lines with the centre of attraction being the pulpit and the absence of any decoration. 

The current kirk has been rebuilt over the years following the troubles with Cromwell, suppression of the Covenanters and the usual bickering with some Presbyterian organisations.  This resulted in one very large church with good acoustics and a useful location for concerts. 

It was here that Scottish Widows was initiated and the Edinburgh insurance, assurance and financial markets got a boost.  Another great poet and tragedian William McGonagall is buried here. 

The approach to Greyfriars is a little tricky though it is not far from the Museums of Scotland and the statue of Greyfriars Bobby.  The road crossings are either zebra or light controlled but Chambers Street, Candlemakers Row, Forrest Row and George IV Bridge converge so take care, especially around Greyfriars Bobby as many tourists take photographs and the pavement (sidewalks) are narrow here.  The statue is even a “landmark” though not large enough to notice.    Much has been written about the story of the dog and much of it too creative.  However, many tourists are attracted to the statue and can direct you to it.

I attended a concert during the Edinburgh International Festival and the link is here: http://www.eif.co.uk/news/arcangelo-and-iestyn-davies-festival-blogger-review

The kirk has an attractive guide book which I bought last year.  I could pick out the design of the kirk from the roof of the Museum of Scotland and it is not unlike a Dutch kirk with the gables, though the building has often been rebuilt.