West Kilbride’s History

Where is West Kilbride? It is a village in the North Aryshire, Scotland. Located on the west coast by the Firth of Clyde and looks across the waters to the Isle of Arran and Goat Fell. The districts of Seamill and Portencross, combined with West Kilbride, are considered together to make up a small town with a population less than 5000 around 2001.

It is believed, that West Kilbride is named after the Celtic Saint Brigid of Kildare who, according to local history, established her church sometime around 500AD. The West was added in front of Kilbride to differentiate it from other communities that commemorate St. Bride in the area.

West Kilbride and the surrounding area hold a lot of history. There four castles in the area that are still standing. Law Castle which can be rented for a holiday, as well as Portencross Castle, Hunterston Castle and Crosbie Castle (also known as Crosbie Towers). A park in the West Kilbride area bears the name of Crosby, the maiden name of William Wallace’s mother. One of the oldest houses in West Kilbride is Kirktonhall House. This house, dating back to the 1660’s, was rebuilt partially and extended between 1791 and 1868. Currently it is used as office for the North Aryshire Council.

Although mostly a rural area, farming only makes up about 1.4% of the local employment. In addition to the famous Ayrshire potatoes, crops such as sweetcorn, root vegetables and berries are grown. Livestock, primarily cattle and sheep, are also farmed here. Other areas of employment are real estate, rentals, manufacturing, health and social services and education make up the majority of the employment. It is home to Airtricity which is a wind turbine field located just above West Kilbride and Seamill.

West Kilbride is becoming known as “Craft Town Scotland”. There are several craft studios where you can actually see the raw material converted to the final product and you may buy straight from the studio. You can also go online and shop the studios. This was an initiative to contribute to the growth of the area culturally and through retail.

Other features of this small town are the West Kilbride Primary School and beautiful West Kilbride Institute and Public Hall. The school opened in 1983 and the Institute opened in 1900. West Kilbride has the distinction of being the first Scottish town to host a Scarecrow Festival. A championship 18-hole golf course, the West Kilbride Golf Club, is located in Seamill with the breathtaking backdrop of the Scottish coast.

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