The Marymass Festival and Irvine Carters Society
The Marymass Festival at Irvine in Ayrshire, Scotland, is organised by Irvine Carters Society and the Marymass Festival Committee. Browse here for its history, with pictures of this annual celebration.
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The Carters Society congratulates the 2013 Marymass Queen Elect Jordan Leckie, of St Matthews Academy, and Marys Kirsty Blackley and Miss Leigh Wallace of Irvine Royal Academy and Chloe Hollas and Jaye Tremble of Greenwood Academy.

The 2012 Queen Emma Morrison of Greenwood Academy and her four Marys - Adele Gaffney, Caitlin Haldane, Yolanda Kelly and Erin McAuley (photo courtesy of Andy Tremble)

Thanks to 2011 Queen Alanna McGinnis of Irvine Royal Academy and her four Marys, Ellie Macmillan, Caitlin-Jay Quinn, Stephanie Sharp and Chloe Wilson, for their contribution to festivities in 2011.

2009 Queen Laurie Swan, with Adrienne Thomson, Helen Kennedy, Stephanie Kane & Ainsley Storrie
other 2009 photos in Photos section
(photos: Steve McKendrick)

2010 Queen Vicky Burns, and her four Marys - Kayleigh Doherty, Leanne Bingham, Heather McLarnon and Lauren McGill

Marymass Saturday - The consumption of alcohol in public places is no longer permitted. This policy, introduced in 2007, makes Marymass Saturday more enjoyable for all those in attendance. There is a designated beer tent on Irvine Moor.

photos on the site are by courtesy of the local press - the "Irvine Times" and the "Irvine Herald" and photographers Charlie Gilmour and Steve McKendrick respectively


2007 Royal Party Queen Courtney Finnegan with her four Marys Hayley Adair, Katie Belsey, Stephanie Kent & Toni Lennox, and her two page-boys, 
accompanied by Captain John Rorison


Irvine Carters Society was first of all formed for business and charitable purposes and their history is as old as the Incorporated Trades of the Royal Burgh of Irvine. In 1753, 106 members subscribed to the 'Box' - this is said to have been the beginning of their charitable activities which continue to this day.

The Festival of Marymass dates back to the Middle Ages and the rich pageantry of this fair draws old Irvinites home in August each year. Visitors too come from all over to enjoy the atmosphere and are never disappointed.

Interest in this fair appeared to be flagging a little in the late 1920s and credit is given to the then Provost of the Royal Burgh of Irvine, Peter S Clark, for first proposing that a Marymass Queen be chosen and crowned as a part of the ceremony. A meeting took place with the Captain of the Carters, James Sloan and members of his Society and so it was that Miss Martha McHarg, a pupil from Bank Street Primary School, was chosen to be the very first Marymass Queen in 1928. This added greatly to the event. Four local girls were also chosen to be the Queen's four Marys - as it was in the days of Mary, Queen of Scots - and two young boys were chosen to act as pages.

Although, in the 1910s, the trade of horse carter was destined to disappear in an era of motor transport, the Carters' Society survived, and the annual Marymass fair has gone from strength to strength. Entering the 21st century, the Irvine Carters Society is the only surviving carters society. No motorised vehicles are allowed in the parade.