Discover Athlone: The Tasty Medieval Town Full of Surprises

The medieval town of Athlone truly is at the heart of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. It is easy to get to, close to Dublin and is a veritable cornucopia of activities to do, places to go and things to see. Add in award winning restaurants, cafés and pubs plus some serious options for retail therapy and it’s easy to see why Athlone is becoming very interesting indeed to holidaymakers. The quality of accommodation is outstanding, both in the town and in the scenic Shannonside hideaways of Glasson Village or Hodson Bay. Glasson Golf Club designed by Christy O’Connor Junior is both scenic and challenging. 

Award winning restaurants abound in Athlone and the surrounding area. The choice is very broad, from fine dining to a more casual experience. Check out Thyme with its coveted Michelin Bib Gourmand, The Fatted Calf, The Left Bank and Savoury Fare or Wineport Lodge in lovely Glasson village where time seems to stand still. 

Park up the car in the historic town core and everything you could possibly need is within easy reach. Shopping is a real pleasure with all the high street brands a teenager’s heart could desire as well as beautiful traditional department stores and specialist shops. A wonderful selection of eateries are just around the corner and towering Athlone Castle stands guard over the River Shannon as it has for centuries. It is open for tours and is well worth the visit. Next door the Luan Gallery showcases national and international artists in an incomparable riverside setting.

Picture of the recently opened Luan Gallery in Athlone, Co. Westmeath taken on the 17/12/12. It cost 3.5million to renovate the new Gallery. The new building blends in with St Peter and Paul’s church which is in the background. Photograph by: Liam Kidney

Take a guided tour along the winding streets to orientate yourself and experience a different side of Athlone:

Historic Athlone hides many secrets within its ancient streets and Vincent of Athlone Guided Tours knows every single one. A fascinating insight into the town’s history, folklore, industrial heritage and more

Another enthralling tour is the Athlone Whiskey Walking tour led by Deirdre who has forgotten more about the amber nectar than most of us will ever know. 270 years are distilled into an afternoon of stories, yarns and tastings – with locally handcrafted chocolate to complement the tipple.

On the wonderfully named Custume Quay lies Athlone’s only brewery. Dead Centre Brewing offer a combined experience including brewery tour, beer tasting and pizza. Now there’s a combination that’s hard to resist.  

Photo: Boyd Challenger

How would you like to step back in time and sail with the Vikings? Join Viking Mike on his historic boat and take to the river with Viking Tours Ireland. Cruise upriver to Lough Ree or down to ancient Clonmacnoise listening to local lore and engaging history as you go. 

Or take a trip out of town with Heart of Ireland tours offer bespoke, ready to go and customisable day and multi-day tours for you to start your adventure and explore Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. 

Fun is the name of the game for families especially at Baysports on Hodson Bay, Ireland’s largest inflatable waterpark. Never has so much laughter been heard on the River Shannon! It’s suitable for everyone from the age of 6 upwards with a brand new junior waterpark for 2-6 year olds. 

Athlone really is the leading staycation destination in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. Try it and see. 

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