On entering the Cathedral all the awkwardness of the red brick exterior disappears and you find yourself in an inspiring church quite unlike any other you will have ever seen.
A tin cathedral served Oban for nearly five decades. It was Bishop Donald Martin (1919 on) who decided that a replacement was overdue. Fundraising initially went well, helped by trips the Bishop made to the USA and Canada, but the financial collapse of 1929 delayed matters. Work began on the new cathedral in May 1932, and as this grew it gradually enveloped the existing tin cathedral, in which services continued to be held. The new St Columbas Cathedral opened for worship on Christmas Eve 1934, though by this time it was still only partly complete. Work on finishing the cathedral was virtually halted by the Second World War, and it was not until 1953 that the tower was built, with the bells Brendan and Kenneth being blessed in 1959.
St Columbas Cathedral was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and built in pink granite transported from Aberdeenshire. The style has been described as a blend of Gothic and Romanesque. Though it is partly hidden from view, the building still manages to convey an imposing sense of grandeur and bulk. Once inside, this translates into an impressively large space, given a sense of much greater age than the chronology allows by the absence of clerestory windows in the upper part of the nave extending above the flanking aisles.