You might hear people saying this weekend that it is "Glasgow Fair" - but what does that mean, and why is it significant for the folk of Ayrshire? 

Whilst the third Monday of July (19th this year) is still referred to as 'Glasgow Fair Monday', the two-week celebration (that dates back to the 12th century, by the way) is no longer observed in the same way. 

It was known as the Glasgow Fair Fortnight, and in times gone by, factories, shipyards, and businesses would close down completely, heralding a mass exodus of the city as workers and their families headed to the seaside to enjoy some well-earned time off.

Origins of the Glasgow Fair

Dating back to 1190, Bishop Jocelin got an agreement from King William the Lion to be able to hold an annual trader fair that could allow for buying and selling livestock, goods, and even servants, free from tolls and under the protection of the king.

It later developed into a two-week-long festival, with amusements and shows, where quite possibly participants were libated for the period. 

It was later adopted by the Glasgow factories, effectively shutting down the city's industry for two weeks.

On a Friday (today), women would meet their husbands after work to collect the holiday pay to stop them from spending it all on the bevy.  

On Saturday, families would flock to places like Ayr, Largs, Troon, Saltcoats, Dunoon, Bo'ness, and even further afield like Blackpool or the more exotic Aberdeen. 

But why take the Glasgow Fair fortnight as a holiday, when it seems it would be easier - as we do now - to space out holidays throughout the year?

Back in the not-so-distant past, Glasgow was an industrial powerhouse. Factories and other large employers found it simpler to shut the factory for that fortnight to allow for routine maintenance work, and the workers simply had no choice but to take the holiday then.

And now?

Now, with staycation trends booming and fuelled, in part, by travel restrictions, the essence of making trips "doon the watter" has seen somewhat of a revival. 

Ayrshire's seaside towns are seeing city folk arrive en masse to get a bit of respite from being cooped up at home and closed city life, replacing it with sand, sea and (very occasional) sunshine.

The revival based on nostalgia for these once-popular destinations can be seen as a positive move for Ayrshire towns that were once associated with the Glasgow Fair. 

And although Ayrshire residents have similar gripes with the descending crowds just like days of yore, we don't really mind so much - as long as you give our seaside pubs, shops, and chippies a bit of custom, and you take your litter home with you!