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Ayrshire – Home of Robert the Bruce

Overview

Known as an historical county of Scotland, Ayrshire is also called County of Ayr, the name under which it operated as a registration county. Located on the south-west region, bordered by the coast of the Firth of Clyde, it is actually divided into three council areas, called South Ayshire, East Ayshire, and North Ayshire. Its fertile lands are known for growing potatoes, strawberries, and root vegetables. The area is also known for breeding cattle and pigs. In 1890, when Scotland was divided into counties, in Ayrshire was organized a county council, as it happened in all the other historic regions.

Short history

Invaders came and went, for long centuries, leaving their marks on the lands of Ayrshire. Even today, the remains of a Roman fort that operated here during the first century of the first millenium, can be found at Loudoun Hill. Medieval times were marked, in the beginning, by the existence of an early kingdom of Celtic and British origin. It was only later, at the rise of the 11th century, that Ayrshire became part of Scotland, and its form of organization, during the ruling of King Duncan.

Norwegians tried to conquer the lands of Ayrshire later on, in the second half of the 13th century, but they were crushed during the Battle of Largs. During that time, the battle for Scotland’s independence emerged, and Sir William Wallace started its march for victory, in Ayr.

Turnberry Castle, dating from the 13th century or prior, is believed to be the place of birth of the famous Scottish ruler Robert the Bruce. Even if this is not true, history tells us that this castle was the seat of the well known king, when he first started the battle for winning the throne of Scotland. Ayr was the place where Robert the Bruce held its Parliament, and it was also here that Oliver Cromwell erected a new citadel, in order to keep the south west region of Scotland under control, back in the 17th century.

While heavily industrialized during the dawn of the 18th century and later on, due to the rapidly growing development of ironworks, the region became a successful agricultural area.

The name of the shire is believed to originate in the midst of the 12th century, when the Scottish alphabet lacked the letter ‘L’. It is believed that the correct name was ‘Aleshire’, but, in the end, it remained Ayrshire, as a compromise.