(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.
Castle (1210) and museum
library's local history collection
Folk Museum, 7 miles north west of Athlone on the Tuam road.
The museum has 2,000 items related to farm and folk life.
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.
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
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).
details for Athlone
or (01) 8366222 http://www.irishrail.ie/
County Enterprise Board
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