- Discover Athlone
Athlone is the largest town on the Shannon River, and the capital of the midlands. It stands on the border of Westmeath and Roscommon and has been an important crossing point on the Shannon for many years. Athlone is ideally located on the motorway between Galway and Dublin. It stands on the Shannon and beside Lough Ree which makes it perfect for water sports of all kinds. There’s good shopping in the town with the Town Centre, a new modern shopping centre and also Golden Island shopping centre which has a Penneys and a Tesco.
The town grew as an Anglo Norman settlement around the castle in 1210.
The Siege of Athlone. 1690 and 1691. Willaimite wars in Ireland. William of Orange attached the town with a force of 10,000 in 1690. Col. Richard Grace, the Governor of Athlone defended it succesfully. However the Williamites returned the next year with 25,000 men led by Godard de Ginkle and captured the town. De Ginkle became the first Earl of Athlone after that.
A Norman castle. Tourist office, audio visual preservations on the siege of Athlone, exhibitions. The castle was of strategic importance, as Athlone was a gateway to the west. The castle was largely destroyed during the siege of Athlone, during the Williamite wars.
Rent a cruiser from one of the many hire companies operating on the shannon, anything up to 12 berth or just take a trip with a tour company.
Athlone regional sports centre has a 25m swimming pool and an astro turf pitch. Leisure world has bowling and pool.
Athlone has quite a vibrant nightlife. There are plenty of pubs and clubs in a small area. It's a college town as well so there are many students around during term time. Seans' bar on the left bank is the most famous and has to be mentioned. There is a lovely beer garden on the river and it's a great place to go on a hot summers evening. It is known as the oldest pub in Ireland although there is another in Dublin that refutes the claim.(the Brazen Head)
Visit the farm, feed the animals. There's six acres of land with animals such as deer, ostrich, pot bellied pigs, cows, donkey, peacocks, llama and emu. There are also swings and slides for the kids. In the first weekend of December they transform the farm into Lapland.
Glasson golf hotel and country club. Mount temple golf and country club, Esker Hills golf club. There's an abundance of golf clubs in Athlone and the midlands area.
Athlone eqestrian centre is close to Athlone and offers horse riding for all levels.
Birr, in Offaly is home to Birr Castle and gardens. There's a telescope in the grounds. Once the largest in the world, it was used in the mapping of the moon.
Translated as the meadow of the sons of Nois, Clonmacnois was founded in 548 by St Ciaran. It's a monastary with a round tower that was once a very important centre of religion and trade and is also a resting place for many high kings of Connaught and Tara.