Inside this low and hulking castle that dates to the 13th century there are engaging and modern displays that bring to life the tumultuous history of the town. Entertaining exhibits detail life here through the ages. The highlight is the cacophonous Siege Experience which takes place in a circular panoramic gallery. The ancient river ford at Athlone was an important crossroads on the Shannon and was the cause of many squabbles over the centuries. By 1210, the Normans had asserted their power and built a castle here. In 1690 the Jacobite town survived a siege by Protestant forces, but it fell a year later – under a devastating bombardment of 12,000 cannonballs – to William of Orange’s troops. The castle was soon remodelled and further major alterations took place over the following centuries.
Dún na Sí Heritage Park
This folk park has a re-created ring fort, portal dolmen, lime kiln, mass rock, farmhouse and forge. It also has a traditional session with music, song, dance and storytelling at 8pm on Sundays in summer. The surrounding nature park is lovely. It’s 16km east of Athlone.
Stroll across the bridge in Athlone and nestling on the right hand bank you’ll find the stunning Luan Gallery. A showcase for the most interesting artists from the midlands, Ireland and abroad, the building itself is a modern work of art in its own right. With floor to ceiling windows offering uninterrupted views across the majestic Shannon water, it’s a space that gives the work real room to breathe. There’s always an eclectic and balanced mix of media on display from painting to sculpture to textiles. Entry is completely free and if you’d like a one on one tour, that’s free too. All you have to do is ask. What’s more the collection on display changes every two months so there’s always something new to see. A feast for the eyes, it’s a fantastic way to spend some time.
Dean Crowe Theatre
The Dean Crowe Theatre and Arts Centre is a long established theatre with modern facilities located in the Left Bank area of Athlone.
The theatre provides an entertaining and varied programme of events throughout the year including the annual RTE All Ireland Drama Festival, drama, comedy, musicals, music, opera, dance, art exhibitions, children’s events and much more.
The Hill of Uisneach
Since prehistoric times, the Hill of Uisneach has been the great assembly for the tribes and High Kings of Ireland. It was here that laws were made and disputes settled. A place of energy and renewal, people have been drawn here for over 5000 years. This was the seat of High Kings, a sacred site of worship, the place where St. Patrick established a presence and the burial ground for Éiru, the goddess after whom the Ireland was named.
And it was from here that Catholic Bishops met in 1111AD to begin the work of dividing Ireland into Dioceses. This is the royal centre of Ireland and the coming together of the five provinces. The fifth being Mide, the magical ‘otherworld’. This sacred site still hosts Ireland’s oldest festival, the Uisneach Bealtaine celebration. It is a festival of Irish culture, art, heritage, ceremony and sport which has been held here every May since time memorial.
Sirana Spa at The Sheraton Athlone
Cocooned deep within Sheraton Hotel in Athlone, Sirana is inspired by the sand, heat and colours of the Sahara desert. Sirana features unique signature spa treatments coupled with the most popular Elemis spa treatments.
Indulge yourself with a treatment in one of the seven contemporary treatment suites, relax in the rustic tepidarium and finally unwind completely in the tranquil relaxation suite.
Athlone Towncentre offers over 60 big brand names conveniently located under one roof with renowned Irish and International retailers offering the latest style to discerning fashion lovers.
Choose from national & international brands such as TK Maxx, Marks & Spencer’s, Zara, River Island, H&M, Next, Eason, Tommy Hilfiger, Oasis, Warehouse, and over 60 other big brand names, all offering great discounts and special offers on a weekly basis.
Dial the excitement up a notch. With all the natural beauty around Athlone, the rolling landscapes and gentle waters, there’s no better place for a break that’s full of fresh air and activity. Whatever you enjoy, Adventure Athlone can arrange it. See the sights at your own pace with a guided cycling tour, complete with all the equipment you need. Learn to be both safe and skilful with expert archery lessons.
Or get on the water for a little more excitement with water skiing and wake boarding lessons tailored to suit you, whether you’re a first timer or a dab hand. From hiking treks to helicopter trips, Adventure Athlone can make it happen.
Shannon Banks Walk
Before dinner, with the sun on your back and water lapping at your side, take a stroll along the Shannon Banks Walk. It begins in the shadow of Athlone Castle and leads you along a nature trail that’s bursting with a diversity of wildlife. Stretching along a five-kilometre loop, you’ll pass lawns, grassy verges and parklands. You’ll walk under Sycamore, Norway Maple, Red Oak and proud Horse Chestnut trees.
From Moorhen to Heron and from Coots to Little Grebs, you’ll hear the birds sign as they glide over the water. It’s just one of several wonderful walks and a great way to see the town. What’s more, it’s best way to set you up for a meal and drinks in the lively pubs afterwards.
In the 6th century St Ciaran arrived to build a church on the banks of the mighty Shannon in the very centre of Ireland and Clonmacnoise was born in Early Christian Ireland. It began as a modest settlement but over time the huts were replaced impressive stone buildings. It became a thriving centre for learning and creativity. So much so, it was were the High King of Ireland was buried in the year 915.
Today with it’s two perfectly preserved round towers, three high crosses and large collection of early Christian grave slabs it is a ‘must-see’ part of any visit to Athlone and while exploring Ireland’s Ancient East. Why not make it that bit more special and travel down by boat? Viking Tours will take you there and back.
Get on board for a bit of bearded wonder as Viking Mike sets course for history, beauty and myth filled magic. Sail north up to Lough Ree, the Lake of the Kings, or south down along the River Shannon to Clonmacnoise, the most famous monastic site in Ireland.
Hear about Viking hoards, high kings, big battles and saintly scholars while enjoying the natural beauty and rich wildlife that exists around every corner. In this 21 metre long replica of a Viking Knarr, the longest serving passenger ship in both Ireland and the UK, there’s something to spark the imagination for young and old. With sailings every day, it’s the perfect way to get the whole family out on the water.
Portlick Millennium Forest Walk
This is a wonderful walk that explores the wooded glades and farmlands of Portlick and the Whinning peninsula of Lough Ree. The trail is 5 km with shorter alternatives.
Enjoy native trees and attractive and varied views of Lough Ree and an old ruin features near south-west limit of the walk.
The Spa at Hodson Bay Hotel
From the moment you walk through the doors of the award-winning Spa at Hodson Bay Hotel you will realise that you are in a special place. Here the pace of life slows to its natural rhythm.
Relax in the spectacular hot tub overlooking the shores of Lough Ree. The distinctive thermal spa and exclusive signature treatments will ensure your spa experience will be like no other.
Athlone Equestrian Centre
Ideally situated in a quiet country setting yet only three miles from Athlone town, Athlone Equestrian Centre prides itself in providing a safe and fun learning experience to both adults and kids.
Expert tuition is available and riders of all level are welcome.
Old Rail Trail
This is a ‘must’ cycle for anyone who likes getting out on their bike. Start in Mullingar and follow the path as it snakes along the canal to the head of the Greenway. For the next 40km you’re in biking heaven. But don’t let the distance scare you, hop off and visit Dún na Sí Amenity & Heritage Park along the way. You’ll meet everyone on the route from passionate enthusiasts to those out for the fresh air. This is a dedicated cycle path that follows the old rail track under arched bridges, through a tunnel and past beautiful countryside all the way to Athlone.
With lots of entry and exit points, you can hop on and off to explore the villages and attractions along the way. Whether for a leisurely 8km cycle from Athlone to Moate or the ambitious 40km, check out the brochure, view the map or share the infographic with your cycling friends and plan your day on the Greenway.
Athlone Regional Sports Centre
A state of the art health, sports & fitness facilities including a 25m heated indoor swimming pool, a toddler’s pool, separate family changing areas, jacuzzi, sauna and steam-rooms, a fitness suite, an aerobics studio, astro-turf pitch, sports hall, children’s outdoor playground and the recently developed outdoor skate park.
The centre also has a coffee shop, crèche service and meeting rooms.
Glasson Craft Gallery
Situated in the centre of Glasson village, next to Grogans famous pub is the Glasson Craft Gallery. The Gallery plays host to an eclectic mix of genuine Irish homemade craft and original art. Behind the narrow shop front you can browse the constantly varying collection of ceramics, glassware, textiles, jewellery, woodcraft, artisan foods and much more and learn about the local makers and their crafts.
The shop houses a small art gallery with an excellent picture framing facility where paintings and photographic prints can be admired and indeed purchased. Guest artist exhibitions are a feature of the Gallery.
Athlone Golf Club
With fairways that taper to the waters edge, Athlone Golf Club is one of the most picturesque golf courses in Ireland. For enthusiasts or friends searching for fun in the fresh air, it’s the perfect place to play.
With all sand based greens and tees to a USGA standard, the course is a delight to play all year round. All the gear you need is available for hire on site and guests are always welcome.
Glasson Golf Club
On the shore of Lough Ree, you’ll discover a golfing gem. Designed by the legendary Christy O’Connor Jnr, Glasson Golf Course is a treat for every golfer to enjoy, from the scratch player to the total beginner.
Whether you want to tee off for a relaxing round or test yourself at championship level, what better place to set a challenge among friends.
The River Run
Discover natural unspoilt beauty and wild life as you travel along the longest river in the British Isles, the River Shannon. Ideal for day trips, the River Run pleasure cruiser will whisk you along is real comfort. Enclosed, heated and with a fully licensed bar, you can enjoy panoramic views across the water whatever the weather.
Ideal for families or a get together with good friends and with regular sailings throughout the year, get on board, relax with a snack or drink and watch as stunning scenery flows by.