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1837 - Ayrshire Directory by Pigot and Co
Is a small town, in the parish of its name, and district of Cunningham; 69 miles w by s of Edinburgh, 25 sw of Glasgow, 16¼ ssw of Paisley, 5 sw of Beith, 4 n of Kilwinning and 7 n by e of Saltcoats; pleasantly situate on a rising ground, surrounded by the rivers Caaf, Rye and Garnock, which run in different directions so near the village, as to give it, when the streams are swelled with rain, the appearance of an island.
The branches of manufacture existing in the town and parish are those of cotton and carpet yarn with silk and harness weaving, in which many of both sexes are employed; while a considerable number of females are occupied in sewing and embroidering, usually denominated "Ayrshire needlework" for the Glasgow and Paisley manufacturers. The dressing and spinning of flax is likewise carried on to some extent, and lime and coal abound in the neighbourhood.
At the beginning of the last century, Dalry village contained only about six dwellings, and a population not exceeding 100; at present there are about 1,000 inhabitants, and the town consists of five streets, three of which diverge from a centre forming a small square; many of the houses are well built, and the shops are neat. There are several public houses for the accommodation of travellers, and two which belong to the grade of Inns; the one called the "Crown" is the principal. The town is lighted by gas, by a Company formed in 1834. There are three public libraries in the parish, viz, the "Dalry Library", the Dalry Church Library" and the "United Secession Library".
At Loansbrea is a reasonably fine spring of water; and from a situation near the church is seen, to the west, a beautiful natural cascade, which has a curious and extraordinary appearance during the continuance of frost. At Auchenflech, on the estate of Blair, two miles from Dalry, is a cave, evidently the work of nature, and well deserving the examination of visitors to the district; it is about 183 feet in length, and from 5 to 12 in height; the roof is encrusted with petrefactions, and over the entrance projects a vast rock, 30 feet by 27; its exterior resembles Gothic arched work; near the middle it expands into a spacious chamber, 35 feet long by 12 broad, and 12 feet in height; in former times popular superstition peopled it with elves - it accordingly received the appellation of "elf-house"; in later days, under the arbitrary and treacherous reign of Charles II., it afforded a refuge to the covenanters of this parish from the violence of their infuriated persecutors.
In Dalry parish also is "Camp-hill", where the Scottish army is said to have encamped previous to the battle of Largs, in 1263.
Dalry bestows the title of baron upon the eldest son of the Earl of Glasgow.
The weekly market is held on Thursday, and there are fairs in January, May and July.
James Stirrat, Post master - Letters from Beith, Glasgow &c arrive every morning at a quarter past ten, and are despatched every afternoon at a quarter before four.
To Glasgow: the "Fair Trader" (from Saltcoats) calls at the Crown Inn every morning (Sunday excepted) at eight; and the "Herald" calls at the King's Arms every evening (Sunday excepted) at seven; both for through Beith and Paisley.
To Saltcoats and Ardrossan: the "Herald" (from Glasgow) calls at the King's Arms every morning (Sunday excepted) at nine; and the "Fair Trader" calls at the Crown Inn every evening (Sunday excepted) at half past seven.
To Glasgow Robert Crawford and Hugh Roger every Tuesday and Friday.