|Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Gharbhain|
Girvan shown within South Ayrshire
|Population||7,000 (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Council area||South Ayrshire|
|Lieutenancy area||Ayrshire and Arran|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock|
|Scottish Parliament||Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley|
The town has a population of about 8000. Originally a fishing port, it is now also a seaside resort with beaches and cliffs. In 1668, Girvan became a municipal burgh incorporated by charter. It lies 22 miles south of Ayr, and 29 miles north of Stranraer, formerly a principal ferry port from Scotland to Northern Ireland.
Local facilities and festivals
Girvan has a Roman Catholic church, "Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary" built around 1863. The Church is in Harbour Lane, situated between Louisa Drive and Henrietta Street, close to the junction with Ailsa Street West.
Girvan has two Church of Scotland congregations: Girvan North Parish Church in Montgomerie Street (with a spire over 100 feet tall) and Girvan South Parish Church.
The town has several fish and chip shops and pubs. Just north of the town is a William Grant & Sons distillery, also there is a Nestlé factory that manufactures chocolate that is shipped down to York and used in Kit-Kat and Yorkie bars.
The Girvan Folk Music Festival takes place on the first weekend of May each year. Girvan also has a folk music club.
The Lowland Gathering takes place on the first Sunday of June each year in the Victory Park in the centre of the town.
The annual Festival of Light takes place on the first Saturday in November. Its roots lie in the traditional bonfire night celebrations and the Celtic fire festival it replaced.
Nearby places of interest
Culzean Castle is about 8 miles (13 km) north of the town, and the volcanic island of Ailsa Craig is visible about 10 miles (16 km) offshore. Turnberry golf course and hotel are located 5 miles (8 km) north of Girvan. The coastline south of Girvan is famous for its geology, and also for Sawney Bean's Cave, where the legendary murderer and cannibal Sawney Bean supposedly lived until his arrest and execution in Edinburgh.
Education and community
The town's swimming pool was closed in 2009 by South Ayrshire Council, on the grounds that it had reached the end of its operational life. The building has since been demolished and the foundations have been paved over.
The Hairy Tree
Historically, Girvan was significant as the home of the Hairy Tree. According to legend, the Hairy Tree was planted by Sawney Bean's eldest daughter in the town's Dalrymple Street. However, when her family was arrested, the daughter was implicated in their incestuous and cannibalistic activities and was hanged by locals from the bough of the tree she herself planted. According to local legend, one can hear the sound of a swinging corpse while standing beneath its boughs. The Hairy Tree's whereabouts are currently unknown, but two high profile campaigns have been launched to relocate it. The Girvan Online website is running a campaign which was started by local investigative journalist and horoscope writer Andrew Penguin.
Torcy, Seine-et-Marne, France - in honour of a Scottish knight named Sir Thomas Huston originally from Girvan, who fought the English as part of the Auld Alliance during the Hundred Years War. Rewarding him for his bravery during the capture of Meaux in 1439, the King of France granted him the fiefdom of Torcy.
- Wilson, John Marius. The Imperial gazetteer of Scotland. Edinburgh A. Fullarton. p. 726. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
- "Local legends fire up for Girvan's Festival of light". S1Girvan.com. 5 November 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-01.
- "Girvan-Online.net". Retrieved 26 October 2013.
- "Sawney Bean". Girvan-Online.net. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
- About Girvan
- Salmon Fishing on the River Girvan
- Girvan Online
- South Ayrshire Council
- Girvan Folk Club
- National Library of Scotland: SCOTTISH SCREEN ARCHIVE (archive films relating to Girvan)