Fishing and shipping were the main sources of income to this village and in 1811 the harbour was improved and it is thought that the fishermen's cottages date to around that period.

The ruins of Dunure Castle, built on the rock platform of a tall outcrop above the sea, provide the most dramatic feature of the village. The tower was extended in both the 15th and 16th centuries.

In c.1610 the castle was described as being the residence of the Earl of Cassillis, though it is written that by 1696 the castle was "wholly ruined".