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Irvine, North Ayrshire

Irvin , [2] Scottish Gaelic: Irbhinn [3] is an ancient settlement, in medieval times a royal burgh , and now a new town on the coast of the Firth of Clyde in North Ayrshire , Scotland. The Census recorded the town's population at 33, inhabitants, making it the largest settlement in North Ayrshire. The town was once a haunt of Robert Burns , after whom two streets in the town are named: Burns Street and Burns Crescent.

He is known to have worked in a flax mill on the Glasgow Vennel. Despite being classed as a new town, Irvine has had a long history stretching back many centuries and was classed as a Royal Burgh. To this day there is still a yearly festival, called Marymass, held in the town. Part of modern Irvine contains the oldest continually inhabited village in Europe. Iron Age Hill forts are abundant. The Grannie stone or Granny Stane is described as "one of Irvine's prehistoric puzzles", this boulder is either left behind from the Ice Age or is the last remaining stone of a stone circle - others were removed, by blasting, after the Irvine weir was constructed in , but popular protests saved this remaining stone.

The Grannie Stane is visible when the water is low. The medieval parish of Irvine was one of the most important regions in Scotland. Irvine is the site of an incident in during the Scottish Wars of Independence when an English army marched to Irvine to engage the Scottish army that was encamped at Knadgerhill, only to find that dissension amongst the Scots leaders was so great that armed conflict did not occur and many of the leaders changed sides and joined King Edward I.

In December , the writer A. Morton stated that Irvine was a "Lost Medieval Capital" and a likely candidate in the debate about the Stone of Destiny and its location before it was moved to Scone. Citing Hector Boece , who said the Stone was kept at Evonium a legendary city and home to the early Scottish crown, Morton said that Irvine's early high status position in the 12th century supported the theory that Irvine is Evonium. We can't be certain that Evonium actually existed, so we can't properly identify the Stone's western home, or say with any certainty that Irvine is most definitely Evonium.

What is certain is that the Irvine district was enormously important in the middle ages. Trindlemoss Loch , Scotts Loch or the Loch of Irvine was situated in a low-lying area running from Ravenspark to near Stanecastle and down to Lockwards, now represented only by the playing fields off Bank Street. The loch was natural, sitting in a hollow created by glaciation.

The loch waters were progressively drained and in this was finally achieved. The loch and its adjacent land was purchased by the Reverend Patrick Warner minister in Irvine ,who had sought refuge in the Netherlands after the Battle of Bothwell Bridge. It has been suggested that it was during this exile that he learned the skill of land reclamation. One interpretation of the placename is that it means 'green river' as in the Welsh river named Irfon. It has had many variants, such as Irwyn , Ervin Irewin —30 , Irrvin , and Irwin A parish in Annandale in Dumfriesshire has the name Irving.

In the 12th century a Gilchrist, son of Eruini, witnessed a charter in Galloway and this is the earliest use of the name so far discovered. The harbour for Irvine has a long history and once was one of the most prominent ports in Scotland after Glasgow. Much of the harbour went into decline in the 19th century when Glasgow, Greenock and Port Glasgow achieved higher prominence as sea ports. Despite this, there was still commercial sea traffic, though the harbour went into further decline in the 20th century.

The main shipping in the 20th century was light coastal traffic and vessels destined for the Nobel Explosives facility. This facility had its own quay, which, although now disused, is still visible from Irvine Harbour. Afterwards it was involved in refitting ships and also in the manufacture of fittings for other vessels including the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth 2.

Irvine Harbour is now officially closed as a commercial port and houses a small number of privately owned pleasure craft. It is also home to part of the Scottish Maritime Museum with numerous vessels on display, including the 'Spartan', one of the last surviving Clyde puffers. Irvine Harbour is home to a unique and distinctive building which marked the tide level. It was built in and devised by Martin Boyd, the harbourmaster at that time.

The Automatic tide signalling apparatus indicated the tide's state in two ways depending on the time of day. During daylight, the level was marked with a ball and pulley system attached to the mast. At night, a number of lamps marked the tidal level. Unfortunately the building fell into some disrepair and the mast partially dismantled. In an initiative by Coastwatch Scotland, a Voluntary Coastal Monitoring and Safety organisation, got underway in an attempt to turn the building into a watch tower for the benefit of the people of Irvine and visitors.

In November the first stage was completed with an overall roof installed, new windows, a new door, the building re-painted and a radio aerial installed. The harbour and surrounding area became an area heavily blighted by industrial waste even long after some of the industries were gone. There was a waste bing known by the locals as 'The Blue Billy' due to the colour of the waste there. It is also credited with the first visual sighting of Rudolf Hess 's Messerschmitt Bf in Irvine Harbour was a prime target for Adolf Hitler 's invasion of the British Isles, being a major boating district and also in near vicinity to the ICI weapons development.

As part of the Millennium celebrations, an exhibition known as The Big Idea opened in It was constructed on the north side of the River Irvine near the former Nobel quay. A footbridge from the harbour area was constructed, although it had to be able to open and close to still allow the small pleasure craft to pass. The Big Idea closed in , due to low visitor numbers. The hulk of the historic clipper ship, City of Adelaide , was moved to a dry dock near the inner harbour in Unlike most new towns which were either completely newly built or based around small villages, Irvine was already a sizeable town which had been a Royal Burgh since This involved massive and sometimes controversial development of the old parts of the town.

Irvine was officially designated as a "New Town" in , the fifth and last to be developed in Scotland and the only 'new town' to be located on the coast. IDC was widely criticised for some of their actions including the demolition of large swathes of the Fullarton part of the town, the bridge [ which? This area, behind the harbour had been largely industrial wasteland for many years and was regarded as an eyesore.

The area was developed with vast amounts of greenery making it a pleasant place to walk. This marked the end of the Irvine Development Corporation and the return of full planning control of the area back to the local authority. Major development projects in the Irvine area include the redevelopment of Irvine Harbour, creating a residential area with the atmosphere of a Scottish village. Planning for a new golf course with a hotel and holiday resort is also well under way in the Marine Drive area, and the Riverside Business Park will be revitalised to attract new business into the area.

The Bridgegate renovation project was completed in Irvine was granted its first Burgh Charter around This entitled the town to organise its own affairs under a Town Council. In circa a dispute arose between Irvine and Ayr as to which of the two burghs had rights to control trade in the Barony of Cunninghame and Barony of Largs. The Burgesses of Irvine were able to produce Royal Charters showing that the town had the right to control trade in the Baronies of Cunninghame and Largs.

Originally Fullarton remained outwith the Royal Burgh of Irvine as a distinct village and latterly burgh in its own right in the Parish of Dundonald until the Irvine Burgh Act extended the town's boundaries. Irvine continued to administer itself with the usual Royal Burgh administrative arrangements of Provost , Bailies and Burgesses. Responsibility for public health, schools and strategic services such as roads passed to Ayr County Council in when the town was re-classified as a Small Burgh.

One of the last acts of the old town council was to present the bulk of the Royal Burgh records and the Provost's regalia to the Irvine Burns Club Museum on Eglinton Street. There is a Community council in Irvine. However, unlike counterparts elsewhere in Scotland, it opts not to use 'Royal Burgh of' in its title. The Member of Parliament is Philippa Whitford. At the Scottish independence referendum Irvine went against the national trend where 28 out of 32 council areas voted against the proposal for Scotland to become an independent state on a margin of In the Irvine West electoral ward 6, votes were cast in favour of independence compared with 6, votes cast against the proposal, with a vote share of In Irvine East there were 7, "Yes" votes and 6, "No" votes, on a vote share of For Irvine as a whole there were 13, "Yes" votes and 13, "No" votes, breaking down to Most of the land in and around Irvine is very flat.

Two rivers flow through the area, one being the River Irvine and the other being the Annick Water. The Annick Water is very popular for fishing. The area experiences relatively cool, wet summers and cold, wet winters, although snow in the area is not uncommon. Part of the reason why this part of Scotland is particularly mild is the influence from the sea air, with summer temperatures lower than their continental counterparts and only slightly warmer than their continental counterparts during the winter.

Generally rainfall is plentiful throughout the year due to Atlantic weather systems sweeping in from the west. Irvine is well served with numerous transport links. A railway station , originally built by the Glasgow and South Western Railway Company, is situated at the west end of the town which is on the main line between Stranraer and Glasgow. A comprehensive local bus network, coupled with frequent services to Ardrossan , Greenock , Kilmarnock , Ayr , Troon and Glasgow, is provided by Stagecoach West Scotland.

There are two primary road crossings over the River Irvine, the more southerly of which has been criticised for some years. It is situated on the site of the former Irvine to Kilmarnock railway link which has long since been closed. The bridge over the river there has long been unsuitable for heavy traffic - being of a Bailey Bridge design - which was constantly repaired over the years it existed.

The Irvine New Town Trail passes through a lot of the surrounding areas of Irvine; it forms part of the British National Cycle Network with routes 7 and 73 forming part of the route. The route forms a ring around the town and passes through Kilwinning , Bourtreehill , Girdle Toll and Dreghorn and passes through the town centre of Irvine. In Sandy Davidson , a three-year-old toddler, disappeared after running out of his back garden on the Bourtreehill housing estate and has not been seen since.

The disappearance was featured on the television programme Missing Children: Lorraine Kelly Investigate in The club had twelve founding members of whom five were known to Robert Burns, and two were once his close friends. The original minute of the meeting reads:. The document is signed by John Mackenzie, M. Dr John Mackenzie , was the first club president.

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With a streetplan dating back to the s and many fine buildings from the centuries since, Ayr is an attractive town with a real sense of its history. When you add a river that was first bridged years ago, a harbour that for centuries was the most important on the west coast of Scotland, a racecourse dating back on an earlier site to and all the trappings of a seaside resort, you end up with a town that has something for everyone. This was border country at the time. Galloway, to the south, only securely became part of Scotland during Alexander II's reign in Ayr's origins were as an L-shaped settlement, with Sandgate marking the western line beyond which the sand dunes threatened to inundate the town, and High Street running inland, parallel to the River Ayr. This pattern persists and today the junction between these two main streets is home to Ayr's most prominent landmark, the spire of the Town Hall, built in the years to

Dunure Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland - A view from the sky
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