Galston is a moderately sized parish in the valley of the River Irvine. It is in the east of the county, lying between Loudoun to the north, and Sorn to the south. The parish is concentrated in the town of Galston itself, which lies just south of the A71 road between Ayr and Stonehouse in Lanark. Galston, despite having some ancient elements, is marked by the growth of housing tenements and estates during the period of the coal industry and later in the 1970s.
Galston's original economy was based on weaving, originally of blankets from local wool, but later specialising in lawns and gauze using imported cotton. The 19th and first half of the 20th century saw the rise and eventual fall of the coal industry which has affected much of the area.
Barr Castle, standing in Barr Street, Galston, is a 15th century square tower with a later hipped roof. The castle was built for the Lockharts of Barr. The castle is now used as a masonic hall.
Cessnock Castle, a plain rectangular keep dating from the 15th century, lies in a wooded area south-east of Galston.
An 1837 description of Galston, 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.