The Kennedys were a strong clan as early as the 10th century. A marriage to the heiress of the Carrick Earl enhanced their estates and status, and in the 1400s, a marriage to the daughter of King Robert III resulted in the title of Lord being bestowed. In the 1500s, King James IV honored the 3rd Lord Kennedy for loyalty and service by raising him to Earl of Cassillis, a title still in use. In 1831, the 12th Earl of Cassillis was created Marquess of Ailsa, taking his title from an island, Ailsa Craig, jutting out of the Firth of Clyde between Scotland and Ireland, offshore from the 12th Earl’s newly renovated home, Culzean Castle. (Click here to see some striking photos of Ailsa Craig.)
Note for curling fans: Many traditional curling stones are made from granite collected from Ailsa Craig. See this article from Scottish Curler magazine.