FROM the poetry of the 18th century to the technology of the 21st, it is a meeting of two worlds, seemingly as far apart as could be.

But the family home Robert Burns described as 'the poet's choice' and where he felt inspired to write, has been recreated in its original form in the hi-tech video game sensation Minecraft, which has an estimated 141 million active monthly players around the world.

The former home of Scotland's national bard has been brought to virtual life thanks to the efforts of a team from Glasgow University.

Burns purchased Ellisland Farm, Dumfries and Galloway, in 1788 and stayed there with his wife and son till 1791, with Burns scholars saying the famed poet enjoyed his most creative and fruitful years there.

Now, a team of around 15 undergraduates and postgraduates, who are part of the university's Minecraft Society, worked alongside the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust to build the farm virtually just as Burns and his family knew it.

And feedback so far from test players suggests those who play express a desire to visit the real life location as well, opening up a new avenue of tourism in the process.

Minecraft players will have the opportunity to not only hear Burns' poetry and songs while exploring the farm, but also interact in Scots with the poet and his wife, Jean Armour.

It is believed that this will be the first time Scots has been used in the game, which is the best-selling video game of all time, offering players the chance to build virtual worlds.

The project is a partnership between Glasgow University, Robert Burns Ellisland Trust, which runs Ellisland Museum and Farm in Dumfries and Galloway, and the South of Scotland Destination Alliance.

The students were recruited to the project by Interface, which helps Scottish businesses grow by matching them to academic expertise.

It was funded through the Scottish Government's Tourism Leadership and Recovery Fund, which supports businesses and community-led tourism enterprises as the sector recovers from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Minecraft, which launched in 2011, is a global gaming sensation, with its own cultural impact - albeit in a more hi-tech manner - undeniable, allowing players from young ages upward to create their own worlds and designs via a complex crafting system.

Bailey Hodgson, president and co-founder of the Minecraft Society, said play testers reported to the team that the game encouraged them to want to visit Ellisland in real life.

Hodgson said: "We worked closely with Joan McAlpine at Ellisland, along with Dr Timothy Peacock and Dr Matthew Barr, to ensure we created an authentic experience that captures the farm as Burns would have known it, while also having educational elements.

"Players can interact with Burns as well as use this experience to read and listen to his works.

"Everybody that worked on the game is delighted with the project we have created. 

"We hope that everyone who gets to experience it has an enjoyable time while also learning something about Burns and his work."

During his time at Ellisland Farm, Burns produced about 130 - around a quarter - of his songs and poems, and 230 of his 700 letters, historians say, pointing to its pivotal role in Burns' life.

In fact, many of his best known works were written at Ellisland, including his poetic masterpiece ‘Tam O Shanter’ and his songs ‘Ye Banks and Braes o Bonnie Doon’ and his version of ‘Auld Lang Syne’, which continues to be sung across the world to this day at the year's end.

And it was while living at Ellisland that the Bard began his collecting of traditional Scots songs in earnest. Among the best known traditional songs which he reworked and preserved for history while there are ‘McPherson’s Lament’, ‘The Dusty Miller’, and ‘Tam Glen’.

Joan McAlpine, the Robert Burns Ellisland Trust's business development manager, added: "Heritage attractions are always striving to attract diverse new audiences and this Minecraft game opens Ellisland to potentially large numbers of children and young people all round the world.

"They will know Auld Lang Syne, but may not have known where it was written or by whom.

"The game includes a brand-new version of the song by our trustee, the singer Emily Smith, and original audio of Tam O'Shanter.

"We are so excited about it and loved working with Bailey and the Glasgow University team."

Minecraft and Burns fans keen to explore the virtual abode can download it at

Those keen to visit Ellisland Farm and Museum now in person can find out more on the same website, with drop-in visiting available at the weekends or pre-booking at other times.