Athlone is located in the heart of Ireland in County Westmeath, with incredible landscapes, fascinating history and amazing culture. Athlone offers visitors an ideal long weekend break or a week-long holiday off the beaten track. Here are eight great reasons to visit amazing Athlone.
1 Explore Athlone’s History
Athlone is steeped in history. In the 11th Century, Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair (King of Connacht) built a wooden bridge at Athlone to defend the city from attacks. It was at this time that a number of forts were built and many ruins still can be seen to this day.
Rindoon Medieval Town and Clonmacnoise are popular visitor sights offering a window into life as far back as the 13th Century. Take some time to discover the rich, fascinating history of Athlone Castle, where you can take a tour and walk in the shoes of kings and monks. On your tour you can see elements of the original castle and learn about Ireland’s Ancient East through the Neolithic, Viking, and Medieval ages.
Find out more about Athlone’s Irish heritage on our Kings and Queens website, showcasing some of Ireland’s most notable historic legends.
2 The River Shannon
Witness the wonder of the River Shannon, Ireland’s longest river. The Shannon is truly a magnificent body of water with an everlasting beauty unmatched throughout all the Emerald Isle. Visitors to Athlone can enjoy taking a stroll along the riverside, or you can take to the water with a relaxing boat cruise or white-knuckle powerboat ride. Other water sports here include kayaking, Viking tours and bay sports where you can enjoy the water-based inflatables or have a go on the tallest floating slide according to Guinness World Records.
3 Embrace the Great Outdoors
If the weather is nice during your visit you can explore the great outdoors with a game of golf at Athlone Golf Club, a parkland course surrounded by the beautiful Lough Ree. With 18 holes and challenges to be found along the four new water features, golfers will challenge themselves across the course whilst basking in the picturesque woodland landscapes. Buggies and trolleys are available for hire and golfers can enjoy a lunch or coffee in the clubhouse after the game.
4 The Home of Athletics
Athlone is known for the AIT Arena, which was Ireland’s first indoor athletics arena. Showcases run throughout the year across the six-lane 200-metre indoor running track, jump pits, pole vault, shot put and sprint tracks. If athletics are your thing, a visit to AIT Arena will be top of the list.
5 Award-Winning Food and Drink
Foodie lovers will enjoy Athlone’s many restaurants, cafes and coffee houses. If you’re craving some good modern Irish food, you will enjoy a visit to Thyme Restaurant or The Fatted Calf. Diners can also find Mediterranean, European and Turkish cuisine at Bacchus Restaurant in addition to Asian and Thai at Kin Khao. For a night of live Irish traditional music and dance, pay a visit to one of Athlone’s many pubs and bars.
6 Retail Therapy
Athlone High Street offers shoppers a number of stylish and unique boutiques to explore. One thing visitors to the town will notice is the friendly customer service from all shops and service providers. Athlone’s shopping centre located in Mardyke Street is the midlands’ largest shopping centre, with over 60 stores. Here you can buy gifts for friends back home or purchase a new outfit for a night on the Athlone tiles.
7 Athlone Arts and Culture
The Luan Gallery in Athlone showcases the most unique and interesting artists from across the midlands of Ireland. Here you can find textiles, sculpture and painting exhibitions, with the gallery having showcased national and international visual arts projects. Gallery visitors can choose from guided tours and occasionally you will find creative workshops, classes and lectures open to the public.
8 Cycling Trails
For keen cyclists, Athlone has a number of amazing cycling trails that give you incredible views of the local landscape. The Old Rail Trail stretches along 42 kilometres starting in Mullingar and arriving in Athlone Greenway. Along the route you will follow the old railway track with arched bridges, tunnels and spectacular countryside. There are many stops for food and coffee along the way, and cyclists can dismount to explore Dún na Sí Amenity and Heritage Park, where you will find a sensory garden, farm house, Blathsmith’s Forge and Fisherman’s Cottage.
To plan your Athlone stay, check out the many Athlone hotel options available in the city and surrounding areas.
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