KILBIRNIE derived it's name from the parish church and the church obtained it's name from the saint to whom it was dedicated; the Celtic Cil, pronounced Kil, signifying a church, being prefixed to the name of the saint; St. Birinie, or Birinus, is said to have been a bishop and confessor who converted the West Saxons and died at Dorchester in 650 AD and was commemorated on the 3d of December.
In the vicinity of the church of Kilbirnie a village has arisen during late times. In 1740 there were only three houses here; but, by means of manufactures, it grew to be a village of 80 houses which were inhabited by about 300 people in 1791. In 1821 the village of Kilbirnie contained about 800 people.
Caledonia: or An Account, Historical and Topographic,of North Britain from the Most Ancient to The Present Times, Vol III pages 558-559. George Chalmers, London 1824.
Though a church had long existed at KILBIRNIE, and the privilege of a burgh of barony had been obtained by John Craufurd of Kilbirnie in 1641, the existence of the Village of Kilbirnie is of very recent date. In 1740 there were only three houses in it. What with manufactures, and the recent impulse given to the locality by the Ayr and Glasgow Railway, and the vicinity of numerous ironworks, it is now a thriving and spirited community.
History of the Counties of Ayr and Wigton, Vol III, Part 1, page 283. James Paterson, Edinburgh, 1866.
Kilbirnie is a relatively small rural parish lying to the north of the county and west of the parish of Beith. To the north of the parish is the county boundary with Renfrew.
- The transcription of the section for Kilbirnie from the National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin Hinson.