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a council area of W central Scotland, on the Firth of Clyde: comprises the N part of the historical county of Ayrshire, including the Isle of Arran; formerly part of Strathclyde Region (1975--96): chiefly agricultural, with fishing and tourism. Administrative centre: Irvine. Pop.: 136 030 (2003 est.). Area: 884 sq. km (341 sq. miles)