Leinster | Co Westmeath
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Athlone (population 15,544) is the largest town in Westmeath. It straddles the River Shannon at the centre of Ireland, 78 miles west of Dublin on the border between Leinster and Connaught. It is strategically situated at one of the main crossing points on the River Shannon, Ireland's longest river. Consequently, the town is a good base for fishing and other pleasure trips up and down the Shannon.

Norman Castle (1210) and museum

Athlone library's local history collection

Around Athlone
Derryglad Folk Museum, 7 miles north west of Athlone on the Tuam road.
The museum has 2,000 items related to farm and folk life.

An Dún Transport & Heritage Museum. The museum, which features vintage cars, bikes, and farm implements, is in Doon, Ballinahown, 10 kilometres south east of Athlone on the N62. It is open daily from Easter to the end of October.

Clonmacnoise, Ireland's most important monastic site, overlooks the River Shannon south of Athlone. It was founded in 545 AD by Saint Ciarán. Most of the remains date from the 10th and 12th centuries and include churches, high crosses, and round towers. There is also a museum, interpretive centre, and coffee shop. It is 24 kilometres south of Athlone by road but about half that by river. Daily buses head to the site from Athlone. Viking Tours' 54-foot Viking long boat replica departs most mornings across the river from Athlone Castle between 10 and 11 am.
The ship sails from Easter to mid-September, and takes walk-on passengers.

Lough Ree, to the north of Athlone, has the double attraction of trout fishing and monastic ruins. Sailing boats, from dinghies to yachts, can be hired on Lough Ree, and there are organised fishing and boat trips that depart from Athlone.

The nearby Athlone and Glasson Golf Clubs are on either side of Lough Ree.

Athlone Leisureworld provides indoor entertainment such as ten-pin bowling, snooker, pool, and Quasar.

There are nine trains a day to Dublin.
There are only three Bus Éireann buses to Dublin (four in the summer).

Useful contact details for Athlone
Bus/train station (0902) 72651
Bus Éireann (01) 8366111 http://www.buseireann.ie/
Iarnród Éireann (1850) 366222
or (01) 8366222 http://www.irishrail.ie/
Viking Tours (0902) 73383
Garda Station (0902) 92609
Bank of Ireland (0902) 75111
AIB (0902) 75101
Chamber of Commerce (0902) 73173
Westmeath County Enterprise Board (044) 49222
District Hospital Athlone (0902) 75527
Tourist Information (0902) 94630
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