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Ayrshire Main Page

Historic County of Scotland

This is the Umbrella project for Ayrshire
// to People Connected to Ayrshire

Ayrshire - Famous People
Historic Buildings of Ayrshire
Ayrshire Monumental Inscriptions, Cemeteries and Graveyards
People Connected to Ayrshire
Still to come
Ayrshire Burials
Ayrshire Genealogical Resources
Historic Ayrshire
  • Scots: Coontie o Ayrshire;
  • Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir,
  • Administrative centre Ayr
  • Chapman County Code - AYR
  • Famous for:
  • The town of Troon on the coast has hosted the The Open Championship twice in the last seven years and eight times in total.
  • Dairy produce
  • Ayrshire breed of cows.
  • Landmarks and Places of Interest
  • Turnberry Castle, which dates from the 13th century or earlier, and which may have been the birthplace of Robert the Bruce.
  • Area
  • Population
  • Succeeded by (See under Districts below)
  • Motto on 1931 Arms - God Shaw the Richt is from the tomb of Captain Thomas Crawford.
  • County Flower - Green-winged Orchid, Anacamptis morio

Ayrshire (also County of Ayr) is a registration county of Scotland, - a former administrative county in south-west Scotland, located on the shores of the Firth of Clyde. The electoral and valuation area named Ayrshire covers the three council areas of South Ayrshire, East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire, including the Isle of Arran, Great Cumbrae and Little Cumbrae.

Ayrshire is a maritime co. in the South West of Scotland, adjoining the Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire, Dumfries-shire, Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire. The coast in the South is rocky and destitute of natural harbours, but becomes low and sandy northwards from Ayr.

The largest lake is Loch Doon, on the South Eastern border.

The Districts of Ayrshire

The historic shire or sheriffdom of Ayr was divided into three districts or bailieries which later made up the county of Ayrshire. These were:

  • Carrick in the south, situated between the Doon and the wild district of Galloway in the adjoining Stewartries; a vast tract of hills and mosses.
  • Kyle in the centre, including the royal burgh of Ayr, occupied the central district between the Irwine on the north, and the Doon on the south and south-west, an area that is partly mountainous. It was subdivided into "Kyle Stewart", (sometimes called "Stewart Kyle" or "Walter's Kyle" and "King's Kyle," the former embracing the country between the Irvine and the Ayr; and the latter, the triangular portion between the Ayr and the Doon, which is honoured as the birthplace and youthful home of Robert Burns.
  • Cunninghame in the north which included the royal burgh of Irvine, lay north of the Irvine water, and was in an area that is generally level and fertile.

The East Ayrshire Unitary Authority was established in 1996 through the amalgamation of the former districts of Cumnock and Doon Valley with Kilmarnock and Loudon. The principal administrative centre is in Kilmarnock.

The three islands - Isle of Arran, Great Cumbrae and Little Cumbrae - were part of the County of Bute until 1975.

Administrative subdivisions covering Ayrshire

Ayr county council was created in 1890, under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889. In 1930 the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929 re-designated the Burghs into large burghs and Small Burghs. The new categorisation influenced the level of autonomy that the Burghs enjoyed from the county council. The act also abolished the parish as a unit of local government in Scotland. In Ayrshire in excess of 30 parishes were consolidated into ten district councils.

In May 1975 the county council was abolished and its functions transferred to Strathclyde Regional Council. The county area was divided between four new districts within the two-tier Strathclyde region:

  • Cumnock and Doon Valley,
  • Cunninghame,
  • Kilmarnock and
  • Loudoun and Kyle and Carrick.

The Cunninghame district included the Isle of Arran, Great Cumbrae and Little Cumbrae, which had until then been administered as part of the County of Bute.

In 1996 the two-tier system of regions and districts was abolished and Ayrshire was divided between the unitary council areas of

  • East Ayrshire (covering the area of the former Kilmarnock & Loudon District and Cumnock & Doon Valley District),
  • North Ayrshire (covering the area of the former Cunninghame District Council) and
  • South Ayrshire (covering the area of the former Kyle and Carrick District).

(See map above)

Main Towns include

  • Ayr,
  • Cummock
  • Girvan
  • Irvine. (Associated with lacemaking)
  • Largs
  • Kilmarnock
  • Maybole
  • Muirkirk
  • Prestwick
  • Troon

Main Rivers

  • Garnock,
  • Irvine,
  • Ayr,
  • Doon,
  • Girvan,
  • Stinchar.

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