'And near the thorn, aboon the well
Where Mungo's mither hang'd hersel'
Tam O'Shanter
Alloway [AYR] the birth-place of the bard has a tenous
link with the Coel Hen dynasty (see Kyle Page). Kirk-
Alloway is reputed to be dedicated to St. Mungo or
Kentigern, and indeed St. Mungo is said to be the patron
saint of Alloway [1]. Mungo was the son of Owen ap
Urien (and therefore grandson of Urien of Rheged, Coel
Hen's illustrious descendant) and St.Enoch (better
known as the patron saint of Glasgow). Mungo's Well
in Rabbie's epic 'Tam O' Shanter' is now known as St.
Mungo's Well. The juxtaposition of the pagan (
and Christian (well) elements, is worthy of note, and is
often found in place-names analysis. A fine example is
Gowkthorn Well [NEW CUMNOCK] which combines
the Scots
gowk ' cuckoo', thorn and , well. The cuckoo
too was important in Celtic mythology and often
associated with the thorn, and in some parts of Scotland
the haws (the berries of the thorn) are known as
cuckoo beads. Of course, Rabbie was well acquainted
Trysting Thorns throughout the county, many of
which now carry personal names, - the 18th century
equivalent of the back row of the Odeon !

As for the name Alloway, Auleway 1324, Alwa K.
1654), W.J Watson considers it to be equivalent in origin
to the modern day Clackmannan shire towns of Alloa,
Alva and from G. allmaigh 'rocky-plain' [2].

(1) A.M. Boyle 'Ayrshire Heritage'
(2) W.J. Watson 'The Celtic Placenames of Scotland'
'Poems and Songs of Robert Burns' (Ed. James Barke)
1759 - 1766
The Auld Brig o' Doon, Alloway

(not to be confused with Brigadoon which only appeares every 100 years !
The New Cumnock Mural , at the Mary Morrison Memorial Garden
By Robert Guthrie
Burns' Trail
Mount Oliphant
New Cumnock
New World
Place-Names in the
Land o' Burns