Ayrshire, a large maritime county in the SW. of Scotland, washed on the W. by the Firth of Clyde and the North Channel. Its greatest length is 78 miles; its greatest breadth, 28; and its area is 1149 sq. m., it being seventh in size of the Scottish counties. The general aspect of the county is undulating; Shalloch on Minnoch (2520 feet) in the S. is the highest summit; Loch Doon (5 3/8 x 3/4 mile) is much the largest of several fresh-water lakes; and the chief rivers - only 20 to 38 miles long - are the Ayr, the ' bonny' Doon, the Garnock, the Irvine, the Girvan, and the Stinchar in the south, with the first 16 miles of the Nith. Ayrshire is rich in valuable minerals, especially coal, ironstone, limestone, and freestone. The three ancient divisions of the county are - Carrick, south of the Doon, mostly wild and hilly; Kyle, between the Doon and the Irvine, containing much rich level land; and Cunning-hame, comprising all the country north of the Irvine, mostly fertile. The percentage of cultivated area is 43.2. Dairy-husbandry is carried to high perfection. The Dunlop cheese, almost as celebrated as Stilton, since 1855 has been almost superseded by Cheddar. Manufactures, especially woollen and cotton, are largely carried on to an important extent. Pop. (1801) 84,207; (1881) 217,504; (1901) 254,468. Ayrshire returns two members to parliament. The chief towns are Ayr, Kilmarnock, Girvan, Maybole, Dairy, Kilwinning, Beith, Irvine, Stewarton, Old Cumnock, Ardrossan, Saltcoats, Troon, Mauchline, Galston, Newmilns, Kilbirnie, and Largs. Of antiquities, the most interesting are the ruins of Crossraguel and Kilwinning Abbeys; of ' Allo-way's haunted kirk,' with the 'auld clay biggin,' Burns's birthplace, hard by; and of the castles of Turnberry (the family seat of Bruce), Dunure, Loch Doon, Dean, Dundonald, etc. It contains the battlefields of Largs and Loudon Hill; and during the religious persecutions of the Stuarts, it was a stronghold of the Covenanters. See works by J. Paterson (2 vols. 1847-52), and A. Millar (1885).