Dunure Castle
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A reconstruction and another account of Dunure Castle can be found here 


This ancient seat of the Kennedys stands by the sea shore, about six miles from Maybole and seven from Ayr. Its massive walls and commanding situation shew it to have been formerly a place of great strength. Here dwelt that Sir John Kennedy who built and endowed the Collegiate Church of Maybole, and whose descendants have since become Marquesses of Ailsa.

But the grim story, which has entwined itself about Dunure more firmly than the ivy upon its walls, brings before us a much less pious Kennedy than the good Sir John. This was Gilbert, third Earl of Cassillis, who, according to the old historian, was "ane werry greedy manne, wha cairitt nocht how he gatt land, sa that he culd cum be the samin." After trying in vain to get the new Commendator of Crossraguel Abbey to sign away his lands, he seized him, and bore him off to this Castle, where, in the "black vault," he roasted him before a fire, in the hope that he would sign the paper provided. But the Commendator proved tougher than the Earl expected, so his plan failed. In which of the chambers of this old ruin the dark deed was done, there is no tradition to tell, but there are several of them which seem quite handy for such a purpose.

Dunure Castle and lands have now passed into the hands of the Dalquharran Kennedys, who have built a neat fishing village adjoining, and spent a considerable sum in providing a harbour. The old castle is wonderfully well preserved considering its age (probably over 600 years), and the conical dovecot to the right in the engraving is almost intact. The name Dunure is said to mean the fort of the yew tree. On the hill side above stand the ruins of the unfinished castle of Dunduff a local illustration of that searching question of our Lord’s—" Which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish." Its date is about 1650. Close by this old castle is the churchyard of Kirkbride.

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