7 Reasons to visit the historic county of Westmeath
Westmeath is a region of Ireland that is steeped in beautiful countryside, lakes and rivers. The area is widely known for its farming, agriculture and has an array of pubs to ensure your day out in the area is rewarded with a pint and great atmosphere. Added to this is the area’s great selection of historical attractions that are spread across the county. From age-old distilleries to historic estates, below we have compiled a list of seven reasons to check out historic Westmeath.
1 Old Kilbeggan Distillery
Established in 1757, the Old Kilbeggan Distillery is one of the world’s oldest distilleries. It is the oldest licenced distillery in Ireland, ahead of the infamous Old Bushmills Distillery.
The distillery offers a guided tour, with a tasting of three of their finest Irish whiskeys (there is also an alternative non-alcoholic beverage at the end of the tour). The distillery has a selection of historic and quaint features such as a creaking timber water wheel and giant steam engine on its grounds.
Find the latest hotels deals in Kilbeggan and make the most of your time at this historic distillery.
2 The Lakes in Westmeath
One thing that is unique to Westmeath is its beautiful and breath-taking lakes that have existed in the area for hundreds of years. The county is said to be made up of 22,000 acres worth of water, making it one of the most picturesque and peaceful spots in Ireland. Lough Ennell, Lough Derravaragh and Lough Owel are popular locations for water sports and fishing, or a long walk looking out over the water and breathing in the area’s fresh air.
3 The Seven Wonders
The Village of Fore hosts the largest Benedictine site in the whole of Ireland. This is the location of the Seven Wonders of Fore, a group of features in the area that are associated with St Fechin, a 7th-Century Irish saint. These include “The Monastery Built upon the Bog”; “The Mill Without a Race”; “The Water that Flows Uphill”; “The Tree that Won’t Burn”; “The Water that Doesn’t Boil” and “The Anchorite In a Stone” and “The Lintel Stone Raised by St. Féichin’s Prayers”. The remains of this 7th-Century settlement offer a fascinating destination for any tourists interested in Irish history. After you have ticked off the Seven Wonders you will want to soak up a few minutes amidst Fore Valley. On a good day, a picnic spread overlooking the area’s magnificent countryside is hard to beat.
4 Belvedere House, Gardens & Park
The Belvedere House, Gardens & Park is a spectacular location for all to visit. It is surrounded by magical scenery and is situated on the edge of Lough Ennell.
The house was built in 1740 as a hunting and fishing lodge for the late Lord Belfield. One of the property owners demanded that a Walled Garden was built. To this day, the walled garden is kept in excellent condition and is well worth a visit.
The woodland area that surrounds the house and gardens contains walkways that were created during the possession of the property more than 30 years ago. On a warm summers day, these walkways make for a perfect escape and provide hours of peace and quiet.
Find the latest accommodation deals in and around Belvedere House for an idyllic few days away.
5 Athlone Castle
On the banks of the River Shannon sits the 13th-Century Athlone Castle. The castle was originally built to defend the crossing point on the river.
During your visit, you can discover what history lies inside Athlone Castle and find out how it has evolved over the years. You can partake in many different interactive activities, games and view displays. It’s the perfect day out for families with young children or even older folks who have an interest in ancient Irish history.
Check out the best accommodation for your stay in Athlone.
6 Cathedral of Christ the King
The Cathedral of Christ the King is Mullingar’s most-renowned landmark for tourists to visit. It will be hard to miss with the two huge towers connected to the church. The cathedral originated in 1933 and was consecrated the day before WWII. There are some outstanding works of art inside the cathedral, most notably the mosaics of Saint Anne and Saint Patrick.
View the latest hotels deal in and around Mullingar.
7 Tullynally Castle & Gardens
Dating back to over 350 years ago is the superb Tullynally Castle & Gardens. Take a tour of the castle’s Gothic-style building and explore its stunning gardens. You can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee in the sunny tearoom, as well as tasting some of the delicious homemade food served throughout the day. The castle is open from April through to the end of September.
The castle sits around two kilometres outside of Castlepollard. Check out the latest accommodation deals in and around Castlepollard.
Do you know of any other historical highlights in Westmeath?
Share any further historical highlights in Westmeath in the comment section below.