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Ayrshire ( ; , ) is a registration county, and former administrative county in south-west Scotlandmarker, located on the shores of the Firth of Clydemarker. Its principal towns include Ayrmarker, Kilmarnockmarker and Irvinemarker. The town of Troonmarker on the coast has hosted the British Open Golf Championship twice in the last seven years and eight times in total. Approximately 200,000 visitors came to Troon during the 2004 Open. It was the members of Prestwick Golf Clubmarker who first created the British Open Championship in 1860 with the club hosting the event twenty-four times up until 1925.

Ayrshire, under the name the County of Ayr, is a registration county. The electoral and valuation area named Ayrshire covers the three council areas of South Ayrshire, East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire, therefore including the Isle of Arranmarker, Great Cumbraemarker and Little Cumbraemarker. The three islands were part of the County of Butemarker until 1975 and are not always included when the term Ayrshire is applied to the region. The same area is known as Ayrshire and Arranmarker in other contexts.

Ayrshire is one of the most agriculturally fertile regions of Scotland. Potatoes are grown in fields near the coast, using seaweed-based fertiliser, and in addition the region produces pork products, other root vegetables, cattle (see below) and summer berries such as strawberries are grown abundantly.

The area used to be heavily industrialised, with steel making, coal mining and in Kilmarnock numerous examples of production-line manufacturing, most famously Johnnie Walker whisky. In more recent history, Digital Equipment had a large manufacturing plant near Ayr from about 1976 until the company was taken over by Compaq in 1998. Some supplier companies grew up to service this site and the more distant IBM plant at Greenockmarker in Renfrewshiremarker. Scotland's aviation industry has long been based in and around Prestwickmarker and its international airportmarker, and although aircraft manufacture ceased at the former British Aerospace plant in 1998, a significant number of aviation companies are still based on the Prestwick site. However, unemployment in the region (excluding the more rural South Ayrshire) remains high, above the national average.

The area became part of the kingdom of Scotland during the 11th century. In 1263, the Scots successfully drove off of the Norwegianmarker leidang-army in a skirmish known as the Battle of Largsmarker.

A notable historic building in Ayrshire is Turnberry Castle, which dates from the 13th century or earlier, and which may have been the birthplace of Robert the Bruce.

The historic shire or sheriffdom of Ayr was divided into three districts or bailieries which later made up the county of Ayrshire. The three districts were:

The Local Government Act 1889 established a uniform system of county councils in Scotland and realigned the boundaries of many of Scotland’s counties.

Glasgow Prestwick International Airportmarker, serving Glasgowmarker, is located in Ayrshire. It has a niche in rock history as the only place in Britain visited by Elvis Presley, on his way home from Army service in Germany in 1960.

History





The origins of the name Ayrshire come from the 12th century A.D. when the Scottish alphabet did not include the letter 'L'. For this reason the spelling had to be changed in order for it make sense in a written context. However the oral traditions have remained from the Gramian region of Scotland and confirm the correct pronunciation is actually 'Aleshire'. It was believed at this early stage in the language that the 'yr' between the 'A' and the 'Shire' was the best way in which to navigate this problem and hence this is the reason for the spelling today.

Ayr county council was created in 1890, under the Local Government Act 1889. In 1930 the Local Government Act 1929 was implemented. This re-designated the Burghs into large burghs and Small Burghs. This new categorisation influenced the level of autonomy that the Burghs enjoyed from the county council. The act also abolished the parish as a unit of local government in Scotland. In Ayrshire in excess of 30 Parishes were consolidated into ten district councils.

In May 1975 the county council was abolished and its functions transferred to Strathclyde Regional Council. The county area was divided between four new districts within the two-tier Strathclyde region: Cumnock and Doon Valley, Cunninghame, Kilmarnock and Loudounmarker and Kyle and Carrick. The Cunninghame district included the Isle of Arranmarker, Great Cumbraemarker and Little Cumbraemarker, which had until then been administered as part of the County of Butemarker.

In 1996 the two-tier system of regions and districts was abolished and Ayrshire was divided between the unitary council areas of East Ayrshire (covering the area of the former Kilmarnock & Loudon District and Cumnock & Doon Valley District), North Ayrshire (covering the area of the former Cunninghame District Council) and South Ayrshire (covering the area of the former Kyle and Carrick District).

Parliamentary constituencies

There was an Ayrshire constituency of the House of Commonsmarker of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdommarker from 1801 until 1868, when the constituency was divided into Ayrshire North and Ayrshire South.

During the whole of the 1708 to 1868 period, and until 1950, the burghs of Ayr and Irvine were parliamentary burghs, represented as components of Ayr Burghs. In 1832 Kilmarnockmarker became a parliamentary burgh, to be represented as a component of Kilmarnock Burghs until 1918. Ayr Burghs and Kilmarnock Burghs were districts of burghs, and quite different in character from later Ayr and Kilmarnock constituencies.

From 1918 to 1983 Ayrshire and Buteshiremarker were treated as if a single area for purposes of parliamentary representation, with their combined area being divided into different constituencies at different times. Scottish local government counties were abolished in 1975, in favour of regions and districts, but the next reform of constituency boundaries was not until 1983.

Constituencies covering Ayrshire may be listed by periods as below, but the story is somewhat more complicated than the lists may imply: until 1918, Ayr Burghs and Kilmarnock Burghs included burghs lying outside both Ayrshire and Buteshire; a particular constituency name may represent different boundaries in different periods; in 1974, there were boundary changes without the creation of any new constituency names.

Period Constituencies
1708 to 1832 Ayrshire and Ayr Burghs
1832 to 1868 Ayrshire, Kilmarnock Burghs and Ayr Burghs
1868 to 1918 North Ayrshire, Kilmarnock Burghs, Ayr Burghs and South Ayrshire
1918 to 1950 Bute and Northern Ayrshire, Kilmarnock, Ayr Burghs and South Ayrshire
1950 to 1983 Bute and Northern Ayrshire, Central Ayrshire, Kilmarnock, Ayr and South Ayrshire


Towns and villages in Ayrshire

Ayrshire, with rivers and several towns.


Rivers in Ayrshire

The main rivers flowing to the Clyde coast are, from north to south, the following:

Interesting places



Some notable people born in Ayrshire



References

    1. http://www.intayrnet.com/jindex.html?prestwick/index.html
    2. Euan Robson, George Houston: Nature's Limner (Atelier Books: Edinburgh, 1997).


External links




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