Dunlop in noted for the cheese named after the town. It is a moist Scottish cheese, traditionally made from the rich milk of Ayrshire cows. It is similar to English Cheddar, but with a softer texture and usually a milder flavour. The cheese was first developed at The Hill, near Dunlop, around 1700 by Barbara Gilmour. The comparative hardness of the matured Dunlop cheese was more successful in commercial markets than the traditional soft cheeses. The Dunlop cheese was better suited to transportation over distance to markets in major towns and cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh. Farm production was gradually replaced by commercial creameries. But today no Dunlop is made in Ayrshire, although the creamery on the Isle of Arran still makes a delicious Dunlop cheese.
The parish church of Dunlop, built in 1835 to replace the earlier church of 1635, lies at the west end of the village.
Dunlop is a small parish on the north-eastern side of the county, abutting Renfrewshire. Indeed part of the parish lies within the former county of Renfrewshire. It is centred on the village of Dunlop that lies just off the A735 road between Kilmarnock and Glasgow. The village has grown around Main Street, an attractive gathering of single storey cottages, leading the church, whose history is outlined above. Alongside the church is the Clandeboye School, which dates from 1625.
An 1837 description of the parish, including a listing of the key personalities of Dunlop, is given in this extract from Pigot's Directory for Ayrshire. The transcript was provided by Keith Muirhead from the Sunshine Coast of Queensland.
Dunlop House, built in 1834, a large house in the Scots Jacobean style, lies to the south-east of the village.
The parish includes the village of Lugton at the junction of the A735 and A736 roads.
- The transcription of the section for Dunlop from the National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin Hinson.