Once known for its weavers and carpet markets, Kilmarnock is probably best known for being the original home of Scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker. But that’s not its only claim to fame.
Kilmarnock appears in numerous poems by Robert Burns. In fact, the first edition of his poems was actually published in the town.
The Proclaimers make reference to the Kilmarnock Bonnet in their 1987 song ‘The Joyful Kilmarnock Blues’ and one of The Sweet’s biggest hits was inspired by their gig at Kilmarnock’s Grand Hall in 1973 when they were forced off stage by a barrage of bottles thrown from the crowd, hence the title, ‘Ballroom Blitz’!
Kilmarnock does, in fact, have a rich musical history, a subject explored in this issue by new contributor, Robert Neil.
And we can’t mention music without mentioning Bagpipes. McCallum Bagpipes has been making bagpipes in Kilmarnock since 1998, exporting the sound of Ayrshire all over the world!
Once voted the ‘UK’s Friendliest Shopping Town’ and ‘Scotland’s Most Improved Town’, Kilmarnock is the largest town in Ayrshire with over 46,000 people calling it their home. One of those people is Flora Fleming who dedicates her life to helping the feral cats of Ayrshire. Meanwhile, retiree George Duff is busier than ever crafting stag heads.
One of Kilmarnock’s most famous landmarks, Dean Castle, has recently undergone major restoration. Suzy Kelly delves into its history ahead of its re-opening on 1st April, while Sheila Grant offers historical insight into some of the town’s other significant buildings.
As the oldest football team in the Scottish Premiership and the second-oldest professional club in Scotland, Kilmarnock FC is without doubt the town’s best known sporting club. However, Cluarankwai Judo Club and Kilmarnock Harriers also have plenty to boast about. Read on to find out more.
In the meantime, AM would like to say a big thank you to everyone who contributed to this special Kilmarnock-based issue. We couldn’t have done it without you!