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District of Carrick

The DISTRICT OF CARRICK was one of the three old regalities of Ayrshire, the other two being Kyle and Cunningham. The word Carrick comes from the Gaelic Carraig meaning rock or rocky place. In Welsh it is Careg, in Irish there are various Carricks - all rocky places and in Cornwall Carrick also means rock. Carrick is the southernmost of the three regalities, bounded on the north by Kyle, on the east by Dumfries and Galloway and on the south by Wigton. To the west is the Atlantic Ocean! It is relatively small (32 miles north to south and 20 miles east to west) and was described in an early gazetteer as "a wilderness of remote glens and secluded hills". Small it may be, geographically, but not in its contribution to Scottish history. It was the home of the Bruces and when Robert de Bruce married the widowed Marjory, Countess of Carrick, in 1274 he acquired the Earldom of Carrick. Their son became King Robert I (the Bruce) of Scotland when he was crowned at Scone in 1306. His name and fame will, forever, be linked to the Battle of Bannockburn where on 24th June 1314 his much smaller force spectacularly defeated Edward II's army of 20,000 men. The two other major families from Carrick are the Kennedys and Fergussons whose history is interwoven with each other and also with that of the Bruces. The "sons of Fergus" descend from the Scots Kings of Dalriada who came originally from Ireland. (Carrickfergus is a prominent town in Ulster.) The Fergussons have had many distuinguished descendants; a member of the Faculty of Advocates, a Judge of the Supreme Court, a Governor General of New Zealand, another being Governor General of Australia, Lt.Col. Patrick Fergusson invented the first breach-loading rifle used by the British Army. The Kennedys came from the same origins as the Fergussons i.e. the Scots Kings of Dalriada, and the first appearance of the name is in the early reign of King William the Lion in mid 12th century when Gilbert macKenedi witnessed a charter of lands in Carrick. Famous Kennedys have; fought with Joan of Arc, roasted the Abbot of Crossraguel (to obtain Abbey land), been a Justice General in Cromwell's House of Lords, been a Captain in the Royal Navy and owned land in Hoboken (New Jersey) and was the greatest property owner in New York, been part Cree Indian and searched the Northwest Passage, captured the eagle and colours of the French Infantry at Waterloo. Another famous Kennedy, of Irish origin, was, of course, John F. who was president of the U.S. from 1961 until his assination in November 1963. The old capital of Carrick was Maybole which is still the seat of the Kennedy Chiefs. Carrick Castle, strangely, is over a hunred miles away on the shores of Lochgoil in the Cowal peninsula. TARTAN: Carrick (Red) and also Carrick Hunting, both designed about 1930 by Hugh Galt Ltd. of Girvan. The Red Carrick tartan is now available from stock.

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