The port town of Ayr is situated on the Firth of Clyde (population 46,000 in 2001).
Of royal burgh status since 1205, the town has claim to hosting the first Parliament of Scotland, on 26 April 1315. Five miles south of Ayr, on the Carrick Coast, is Dunure Castle, which dates from the late 13th century. Now in ruins, it was once described by Sir James Balfour as ‘a grate and pleasand stronge housse, the most ancient habitation of the surname of Kennedy, Lairds of Dunure, now Earles of Cassiles.’
Indeed, the castle was ‘pleasand’ enough for the Kennedys to host Mary, Queen of Scots, when she stayed there in August 1563. This lithograph was produced from an original study by James Duffield Harding (1798-1863), an English landscape painter.
‘Dunure Castle’, South Ayrshire. From John Parker Lawson’s Scotland Delineated. London: Day and Son, 1858.