The parish lies along the valley of the Water of Girvan in the south of the county. It boasts the villages of Old and New Dailly, and Bargany and several castles, notably those at Killochan and Kilkrerran. The parish was formerly an agricultural area until the development of coal exploitation in the mid 19th century, Deep mining continued in the Dailly area until the late 1960s and the land is only now beginning to page to its former rural landscapes.
New Dailly was originally planned in the 1760s as two main streets running NE to SW with several cross lanes. The original design was affected by the imposition of miner's row houses. That change was continued in the years after World War II by an extensive housing scheme developed by Ayrshire County Council. The parish church dates from 1766.
Bargany originally used the church of Old Dailly until 1766, when it built its own. But the village has now all but gone and the Bargany church itself is now derelict. The key feature is Bargany House first established in 1681, and much improved over successive generations. In the 1890s, Bargany was describedas an estate and mansion in Dailly Parish on the left bank of Girvan Water some 4 and a quarter miles north-east of Girvan. The property of the Earl of Stair through his Countess, a daughter of the Duc de Coigny, and a grand-daughter of Sir Hew Dalrymple-Hamilton Bart.
An 1837 description of Dailly, including a listing of the key personalities of the town, is given in this extract from Pigot's Directory for Ayrshire. The transcript was provided by Keith Muirhead from Queensland.
John Thomson (1778-1840) the landscape painter, succeeded his father as minister of Dailly in 1799, and was given living of Duddingston, Edinburgh in 1805. He became the greatest Scottish landscape painter of the time.
Two Victorian poets, Hew Ainslie (1792 - 1878) and Hamilton Paul 91773 - 1854), a coal-grieve's son, were born in the same cottage on the Bargany estate. Paul became a minister while Ainslie became a brewer and brewery constructor in the USA.