Athlone (Central Ireland)
Athlone (Central Ireland)
Birr Castle Gardens
River Shannon
Counties Westmeath and Offaly are situated in the heart of Ireland, surrounded by beautiful lakes and rivers.
Did you know? The Great Telescope in Birr remained the largest in the world for over 70 years!
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Westmeath golfCo. Westmeath

Athlone in County Westmeath is located in the centre of Ireland and is the heart of the magical and scenic Irish Midlands. Its strategic location as the gateway to the west made it a historic town. The river Shannon divides the town into two parishes, two dioceses, two counties and indeed two provinces. If you want to explore the two counties Westmeath and Offaly, Athlone is an ideal base. This busy and thriving town boasts many tourist attractions and excellent restaurants.

Activities near Athlone

Have a stroll in Athlone’s winding streets and experience the ambiance of history and colour reflected in its lovely shops, pubs and restaurants. If you’re an antiques enthusiast, make sure you go on Main Street: its many shops will keep you busy for many hours!

Dominating the town, Athlone Castle dates back to the 13th century. It was built in 1210 and served for almost 300 years as an extension of the military barracks. It is now the main attraction in the town and features exhibitions and audio visual presentations on the Siege of Athlone in 1691.
Sean’s Bar is the oldest pub in Ireland and the British Isles, according to the Guinness Book of Records 2004! Excavations beneath the current pub have revealed wattle and daub walls, bits of crockery (mugs and the like) and self-minted coins the bar would use for trade with clients dating back to 900 A.D.

Co. Offaly

Not far away from Athlone is the Heritage town of Birr in County Offaly in the centre of Ireland. It’s quaint Georgian market town with a largely unspoilt picturesque centre. Birr castle is the main attraction.

Birr CastleBirr Castle hosts some of the most attractive and wonderful gardens in Ireland. A visit to the castle is a perfect day out for families, as it’s now home to the Historic Science Centre which reveals the wonders of early photography, engineering, astronomy and photography. There you will find the world famous Great Telescope. It was the largest telescope in the world for over 70 years and the oldest still working today.

If you’re a horse enthusiast, the Birr Equestrian Centre lets you experience day or hourly trekking in the magnificent Slieve Bloom Mountains

What’s nearby

Clonmacnoise Monastic Site was founded in 548 and contributed to the development of Clonmacnoise as a major centre of religion, trade and political influence. The site is the burial place of St. Ciaran, and since then has attracted pilgrims for nearly 1500 years. The site now offers exhibitions, audio-visual show, guided tours, tearooms and tourist information services. The best way to get to Clonmacnoise is by ship! You can cruise the River Shannon on a replica Viking boat to Clonmacnoise or into magnificent Lough Ree.

Lough Ree is the second largest lake on the Shannon with numerous islands, bays and inlets offering the adventurous angler wonderful sport. Its waters, shores and islands of the lake have probably the richest concentration of wildlife in Ireland, and in summer many of the waterside flowering plants are very spectacular.

Derryglad Folk Museum is an award winning museum hosting a 25 year collection showing the farm and folk life in Ireland from the 18th century.

Tullynally Castle has been the home of the Pakenhams, for more than 350 years. The original 17th century fortified house was transformed first as a comfortable Georgian mansion, then as a huge rambling gothic revival castle in the early 19th century. It is still inhabited as the family home. The considerable and magnificent 12 acre gardens are well worth a visit.

Obama / Kearney Road Home is a 40 km road honouring US President Barack Obama’s momentous 2011 visit in sear of his Irish roots. It follows the footsteps taken by his Kearney family ancestors where they lived between Shinrone and Moneygall. They immigrated in 1849, soon after the famine. Along the way you will find historic castles, cottages, fine period houses, old churches and ancient cemeteries.

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