Dunoon, known as Dùn Omhain in Gaelic, is perched on the Firth of Clyde, which is west of Gourock and south of Holy Loch. By
far the biggest town in the Cowal peninsula in historic Argyll, this beautiful and picturesque resort is renowned for its ancient past. On one side is an imposing hill and on the other two sides a massive body of water. Due to its geographical position, it has long held an important place in the history of Scotland. The most astonishing feature of the resort is its natural surroundings, bringing the visitor a deep sense of peace of mind.
Although it has a small population of only 13,000 inhabitants, it has built a reputation for itself as an idyllic resort town. It’s most famous feature may be the pier, which was originally built in 1835 and rebuilt in 1895. The pier still connects the ferry from one end to the other end. Caledonian MacBrayne runs a ferry that connects the town with Gourock. The PS Waverley is the only surviving seaworthy paddle steamer.In its heyday, the town used to be a favourite destination for Glaswegians, who sailed in hordes from Glasgow “doon the watter” for their vacations.
On Castle Hill, is an enormous statue of Highland Mary, known also as Mary O’Argyll.
A Rich Historical Legacy
No guide is complete with mention of the town's history because it is considered “The Gateway to the Highlands” because it is
surrounded by the story of Scotland. Dunoon castle, built around 1050 AD, was a fortress that served for many centuries. Mary Queen of Scots visited the castle around 1563 and she granted numerous charters during her stay. However, the castle was abandoned in 1650 and finally destroyed in a rebellion in 1685. Today, only a few grassy protrusions on the hills remind visitors of the massive fortress.
However, not all was lost when the impressive structure that once dominated the hill slipped into oblivion because materials from the ruins contributed to the construction of Castle House.Castle House was constructed in 1822 by James Ewing, the Lord Provost of Glasgow. It served, so to speak, to put the region on the map, because its presence drew attention to the region. Wealthy families from around Scotland were attracted to the area because of its prime seaboard position and began to establish their reputation with their impressive villas.
A Tradition Of Hospitality Reflected In Its Hotels
Due to its rich historical traditional, breathtaking natural beauty, and ideal geographic position, the town has always attracted visitors from all over the U.K. After the United States built a nuclear submarine base here in the 1990s, it also attracted the attention of world travellers. After the base was closed down, the economy spiralled and the town had to rely on its reputation as a beautiful unique resort town to survive. As a result of all these economic fluctuations, hospitality, has been woven into the fabric of economic and cultural life.
A visitor's guide will feature a choice of numerous hotels, including Dhailling Lodge, Mccolls Hotel, Enmore Hotel, Hafton Castle, Royal Marine Hotel, Argyll Hotel, Esplanade Hotel, Selborne Hotel, and Abbots Brae.Dhailling Lodge is renowned for its fine dining and rare wines and it offers a calm retreat from the busy modern life, a place to explore the beautiful landscape. It is located on the sea front and close to the town centre. The lounge and dining room overlook the Firth of Clyde.
Mccolls Hotel faces south and overlooks the Isles of Cumbrae, Bute & Arran. The hotel is famous for its home cooking and its 5 course hot buffet. Enmore Hotel has open fires, candles, and flower displays in the rooms and the intimate establishment is managed by a dedicated staff. Hafton Castle is a 200 year old castle that is surrounded by beautiful, manicured lawns. The castle offers a spectacular view of Holy Loch. The castle has nineteen rooms and can accommodate up to 42 people. Classical and Scottish music is played each night.
Royal Marine Hotel, once home of the Royal Clyde Yacht Club, embodies the beauty of the Tudor Style. It is perched on the edge of the water and faces Holy Long and Holy Loch. The rooms face Strone points as well as Kilcreggan, beyond which loom the mountains of Loch Lomondside.
Argyll Hotel is arguably the most popular hotels. Perhaps this is due to its central location in the town. It gives visitors easy access to the attractions, restaurants, and pubs. The hotel itself houses several restaurants, and is also well known for the Clyde Suite Bar.
Esplanade Hotel is a family-run business on the West Bay Promenade and overlooks the water. It provides a cosy atmosphere, and visitors remember it for its excellent meals and comfortable rooms. The sun terrace proffers’ a panoramic view of the River Clyde.
Selborne Hotel at the base of a mountain has 98 rooms with private facilities. Visitors can request a sea view.Abbots Brae is nestled in the woodland with a breathtaking view over the Firth of Clyde.
Traditional And Speciality Shopping
This entire region has earned a reputation as a nexus for specialty shops and is recognized for its traditional shops. Those on a self catering holiday can enjoy local produce from traditional delicatessens, fruit shops, bakeries, fishmongers, and butcher shops. There are also specialist shopping outlets run by people who have a passion for what they sell. A prime example is Delicate Essence.
A Town With A Pub On Almost Every Major Street
There is never a shortage of places to enjoy a pint of beer and some camaraderie.Here is a short list of the many pubs that can be found in the town:
• Abbeyhill Hotel is on Dhailling Road.
• Clansman Bar is on Moir Street.
• Commercial Bar is on Argyll Street.
• Crown Court Cafe Bar is on 49 Argyll Street.
• Dunoon Combined Services Club is on 32 Union Street.
• Esplanade Hotel is on Victoria Parade.
• Ingrams Bar is on 23 Ferry Brae.
• Lorne Bar is on 249 Argyll Street.
• Mcclures Bar is on 2 Ferry Brae.
• Sundowner Bar is on 47 Queen Street.
• Victoria Bar is on 51 Hillfoot Street.
• And Why Not Bar is on Springfield Buildings Sandbank.
Local Attractions And World Famous Events
There are diverse events in this resort town and it has hosted jazz and dance festivals. Studio A is a popular cinema, Argyll and Golf can be played at the Innellan Golf Club or the Cowal Golf Club. Entertainment is also available at Queens Hall on occasion The Royal National Mod, an annual event, is the biggest festival in Scotland and celebrates the Gaelic language, arts, music as well as the culture of Scotland.
However, the biggest event and the one the town is most famous for is the Cowal Highland Gathering, which is informally called the “Cowal Games.” Every year, without fail, 3,500 competitors and 20,000 spectators gather for these highland games on the last weekend of August. This is the largest Highland Games in the world. It closes with a triumphant parade of pipes and drums through the streets