Travel To Oban

Trip Start Mar 10, 2009
Trip End Mar 30, 2009

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Scotland,
Friday, March 13, 2009

After a fun final night in the pubs of Coalisland with Wifey drinking imperial pints of Harp and Azcelt quaffing Guinness the holidaymakers load their luggage and pile into Geraldine's Volkswagen for the one hour trip to Belfast where they meet the ferry that will take them to Stranraer, Scotland where they will meet a bus from Highland Heritage Coach Tours.

We arrived at least two hours before the Stena Lines Ferry terminal where we would eventually meet up with our transportation across the Irish Sea the HHS Stena Voyager which boast a 119 crossing time. We checked out luggage with a representative from Highland Heritage Coach tours and then boarded the ship.

Geraldine had pack sandwiches for the trip which were very tasty. The ship had just about every amenity one could think of from bars and restaurants to coffee shops and amusement arcades for children. The boat was very clean and the weather was calm which made for a fine journey. The boat was rather crowded which was attributed to a big

The ship docked in Scotland walked off the boat. The police who seemed to be serving as immigration gave everyone's face coming off the ship the once over. We walked to a parking area and met our bus which would serve as our transportation for the next five day's.

Our driver for the trip name was Wooley. We boarded the bus and had our heads counted and Wooley and a relief driver turned the bus North towards Oban. We made two stops en route to Oban. The first at a farmer's market, restaurant and gift shop along the coast near Troon. The second stop was a gift shop near Loch Lomond. It was possible to grab a quick bite to eat or something to drink but we chose not to as the coach did not have a restroom. We arrived in Oban at around 9:30 p.m.We seemed we have a fairly lively group of folks on our bus. It appears to be a mix of Northern Irish Catholics and Protestants. Most of the tour participants seem to be pensioners.

We were greeted by the Alexandra Hotel manager Brian and were told about our arrangements. We were then given a key to our room.
AzCelt had attempted to do some research on Oban, Scotland by asking a question in the Oban forum of the TripAdvisor web site where he is a regular poster in the Las Vegas forum. Here is how the conversation went.

AzCelt Tucson

Posted on: 3:33 pm, February 18, 2009

We are planning to be in Oban in mid-March and was wondering if any pubs have any events planned for St. Patrick's Day? We also enjoy a game of darts while we sip our pints and would like to know which pubs have the best darts setup. Cheers

rcspeirs London

Posted on: 3:58 am, February 19, 2009

As as sweeping generalisation (with all the pitfalls of a sweeping generalization), I get the impression that St Patricks day is treated as an excuse for a party across many parts of the United States, no matter what ethnic background or religion you are.

It would be a mistake to assume the same applies in many parts of the United Kingdom. Especially in parts of the UK (some parts of north west England, some parts of Scotland) where there has been historic tension between those with an Orange tradition versus those of an Irish background. There will be a few pubs where St Paddys will absolutely not be celebrated.

Use normal common sense and I am sure you will be fine.

Alanrow Scotland

Destination Expert for Edinburgh

Posted on: 5:21 am, February 19, 2009

Why would Scotland (patron saint St Andrew) want to celebrate the Saint's day of another country? Getting drunk on "Paddy's Day" is an American invention as is the truly horrible "Paddy's Day" itself

CrazyHorseOban Oban

Posted on: 6:35 am, February 19, 2009

Az Celt

Nobody seems to be answering your question here. St Patrick's Day in Oban wouldn't really be regarded differently from any other day up here. If any of them do, it would most likely be O'Donnells Bar or The Hydro. I'm sure you will be able to find out when you're here(Oban ain't that big!) However, you are well served for darts as most of the local pubs participate in a local darts league so there are boards in most of the bars. Personally, I would recommend Aulay's Bar.

Hope this is useful.

AzCelt Tucson

Posted on: 10:49 am, February 19, 2009

Save Save

Thanks Crazyhorse great information on the holiday pub and darts. Wow we have not even arrived yet and I already feel the tension between the different religious factions. It's a pity these deep rooted feuds continue. Welcome to Scotland. We've celebrated St. Patrick's Day in Tucson, New York, Frankfurt and even Seoul. I thought there might be a pub in Oban with a good atmosphere. I'm sorry I opened a can of worms with my question. It reminds me of the atmosphere we experienced when we attended a Celtic-Ranger match a couple of decades ago in Glasgow around hogmanay. Cheers

dicanio10 Dunfermline, United Kingdom

Posted on: 4:31 pm, February 19, 2009

Save Save

It reminds me of the atmosphere we experienced when we attended a Celtic-Ranger match a couple of decades ago in Glasgow around hogmanay. You're getting warmer.

AzCelt Tucson

Posted on: 4:43 pm, February 19, 2009

Yes it's all coming back to me now like the Falls Road in Belfast. Hmm this may require a change of plans as we don't go on vacation to experience "historic tension" Thanks for the heads up. Cheers

CrazyHorseOban Oban

Posted on: 4:07 am, February 20, 2009

Az Celt

These contributors are misleading you. Oban doesn't suffer form any of the nonsense that goes on elsewhere. Celtic and Rangers co-exist here without any problems. You'll enjoy the Oban pubs I'm pretty sure.

scottish74 paisley

Posted on: 3:49 pm, February 20, 2009

the only Irish pub i know off in oban is O'Donnell's so try there.

AzCelt Tucson

Posted on: 4:48 pm, February 20, 2009

Thanks for the information we have no worries now. I was also wondering if there is a exercise facility that sells guest passes in Oban. Were looking for a place that has stationary bikes or elliptical trainers where we can sweat out a few pints before topping up again if it is possible.

H mm Scotland does not seem to be a particularly inviting place if one cannot visit without having to take into consideration the type of pub you enter and which religion is welcome. To have a destination expert like Alanrow actually ridicule the idea of tourists celebrating St Patrick's Day which he called a "truly horrible" holiday in and a pub in Scotland as very unprofessional in his part. Maybe he should lose his status a destination expert?

Wifey having grown up under the cloud called the troubles said that the ancient rivalries between protestants and Catholics was much deeper and ingrained in Scotland but rarely lead to violence unlike Northern Ireland a few decades ago. I seems all the trouble began when Henry VIII switched religions and things just have not been the same. We did consider changing our plans and traveling to a more tolerant destination but with deposits paid the hassle and the loss would not have been worth the effort.

We also attempted to meet-up with an old friend who was currently living in Dumfries which is south of Glasgow. Wifey had know Ronnie since the early 1980's.
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