The word Dailly is derived from the Gaelic for meadow and field, which aptly describes the farmland surrounding this small Ayrshire village, 5 miles from Maybole.
New Dailly has its roots in the late 17th century, when the main church was moved there from nearby Old Dailly. The village was laid out more formally in the 1760’s for coal mining.
The ruins of 15th century Dalquharran Castle lie on the bank of the Water of Girvan, while ‘new’ Dalquharran Castle dominates the village from higher ground, and is another fine example of the work of the architect Robert Adam.
Other notable houses in the area include Bargany to the south-west, Kilkerran to the east, and Penkill Castle, near Old Dailly. All three have connections to the literati of the 18th and 19th centuries, with Penkill estate the inspiration for Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s poem ‘The Stream’s Secret’.
Old Dailly is 3 miles south-west of Dailly, and has just a few houses and the ruins of a 14th century church, built on the site of an older Celtic chapel.
Old Dailly churchyard contains the graves of several Covenanters, and you can see the ‘Blue Stanes’ or Charter Stones, which by ancient tradition provided sanctuary to criminals or debtors. The stones were said to have the power to heal and bring good fortune to those who touched them, and so have had many visitors over the years.
Another famous stone that lies in a field to the north of Old Dailly, near Killochan Castle, is the ‘Baron’s Stone’, a 37 tonne granite rock, deposited by a glacier from its original location near Loch Doon. The rock is part of the Hill of Justice, where in ancient times barons gathered men and murdered their enemies.
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