"Girvan, 5 miles south of Turnberry, is one of those interesting combinations of small seaport and rising holiday resort, neither side being strong enough to submerge the other. There is good bathing, golf and fishing, tennis courts and bowling greens, and steamer trips to the lonely rock of Ailsa Craig, 10 miles out at sea, are popular, although the rock is uninhabited except for the keepers of its lighthouse and the myriads of seabirds."
"Ailsa Craig, is a rocky islet in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland, about 10 miles off the coast of Ayrshire, opposite Girvan. Ailsa Craig stone is still used in the manufacture of curling stones. The island is a breeding ground for sea-birds and home to around 250,000 puffins. The island's famous silhouette marked the passage between the Clyde and Irish waters giving rise to its nick-name "Paddy's Milestone".
From an early 20th century guide to Ayrshire
"Pre-1855 Gravestone Inscriptions; an index for Carrick, Ayrshire" edited by Alison Mitchell, and published in Edinburgh in 1988 by the Scottish Genealogy Society covers the parish of Girvan.
"The original church of Girvan was granted by Duncan, Earl of Carrick to the monks of Crossraguel, and was confirmed to that monastery by Robert I and Robert III. The church, like that of Ballantrae, was dedicated to St. Cuthbert, and it continued in the possession of the monastery of Crossraguel till the Reformation. The old parish church, built in 1780, was replaced by a handsome new building, adorned with an elegant spire, 150 feet in height. The new [North Parish] church and hall adjoining were completed in 1884 at a cost of £5,000, of which the congregation subscribed £1,600. It contains 900 sittings, and has two stained glass windows. One is the gift of Mr M'Kechnie; and the other was erected by the congregation in memory of the Rev. William Corson, a former minister of the church and an intimate friend of Carlyle."
"The old churchyard contains a tombstone to the memory of the Rev. Samuel Stewart, one of the early parish ministers, who ministered in Girvan for 20 years, and died in 1711. The Rev. Peter M'Master, of Girvan, and Mr Thomas M'Kechnie, the founder of the M'Kechnie Institute, also are interred in the old burying ground."
"Ayrshire Nights Entertainment: A Descriptive Guide to the History, Traditions, Antiquities of the County of Ayr" by John MacIntosh of Galston, Ayrshire, published in 1894, by John Menzies & Co. of Kilmarnock, Dunlop and Drennan.
The parish included the following churches:
- St Andrew's Church, Church Road, built in 1870
- North Parish Church, Montgomerie Street, built in 1884
- South Parish Church built in 1842
- Roman Catholic Church of the sacred Heart, Henrietta Street, built in 1865
- Methodist Church, Dalrymple Street, built in 1902
- St John's Episcopal Church, Piedmont Road, built in 1859
The parish and town of Girvan lies at the end of one of the geological fault lines, which runs nearly parallel NE-SW across Scotland from Dunbar and mark the southern edge of the Central Lowlands, one of the three geographical divisions of Scotland.
The parish of Girvan lies on the coast in the south of the county around the Water of Girvan. Girvan was part of the old district of Carrick. The town is now a major commercial, tourist and fishing centre around its ancient and safe harbour. The growth of the town was mainly driven by maritime interests, with some weaving and a little coal mining at the turn of the 19th century. The construction of the railway line from Glasgow in the 1860s allowed significant development as a holiday resort for the residents of Glasgow and other urban areas. A boat building yard, opened in 1946, maintains the sea based economy of the town. An industrial estate to the north of the town includes one of Ayrshire's distilleries.
The valley of the water of Girvan covers some of the best land in Carrick including some large estates, notably those associated with the houses at Trochraigue and Killochan.
The Parish includes the small villages of Pinmore, taking its name from the Pinmore Hill of some 771 feet, some 7 miles SSE of Girvan, and Lendalfoot, on the carrick shore at the moth of the Water of Lendal.
An 1837 description of the parish, including a listing of the key personalities of Girvan, is given in this extract from Pigot's Directory for Ayrshire. The transcript was provided by Keith Muirhead from Queensland.
View photographs of Girvan and the surrounding area.
- The transcription of the section for Girvan from the National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) provided by Colin Hinson.
Information about boundaries and administrative areas is available from A Vision of Britain through time.
View maps of Girvan.