The renovated Athlone Castle contains the tourist office now. The library is in the Civic Centre. Bistop is the nearest internet cafe to the Civic Centre. There is no general hospital in Athlone. Portiuncla Hospital in Ballinasloe is 16 miles (26 km) away. There is a general practice located behind the Civic Centre and adjacent to the ATC. There may be left luggage facilities at the train station. There is a laundromat on John Broderick Street called Shannon Dry Cleaners opposite Dunnes Stores. There is the full spectrum of Supermarkets including Tesco, Dunnes, Lidl, Aldi, Centra, and Spar, throughout the town. For those who need their fix of fast food there is a Burger King at the Golden Island Shopping Centre and a Subway at the bridge. McDonald's is on the edge of town at the Kilmartin Retail Park. Between the river and Dunnes you will find the Allied Irish Bank, Ulster Bank and the Bank of Ireland. All three have on street ATM machines. There are two Post Office's. One is between the Civic Centre and the ATC. The other is on Pearse Street across the river. Should you need a barber there is Dec's on Lloyd's Lane just off Church Street and five minutes from the Civic Offices. There are ladies hairdressers all over town. Should you need fuel for your car there is Green Apple in Arcadia, and Topaz on the Dublin road. In terms of car parking there is parking at the Fair Green along Garden Vale, you have the two shopping centres and also at the Strand at the end of Lloyd's Lane.
By planeAthlone is about 90 minutes' drive from either Dublin (DUB), Shannon (SNN) or Knock Airport (NOC).
Both Citylink and Bus Éireann operate buses from Dublin Airport to Athlone on their Galway routes. The Citylink bus stops at Athlone Institute of Technology and Arcadia, which is a bus shelter about a 15-minute walk north from the Civic Centre.
By trainAthlone is on the Dublin to Galway/Westport line. The train station is 10 minutes north of Church St.
By carThe M6 motorway connects Athlone with Dublin (90 minutes) and Galway (60 minutes).
By busAthlone is serviced hourly by Bus Eireann from either Galway or Dublin during daylight hours. The bus station is beside the train station. There is a bus to Waterford, Sligo, Cork and Limerick. Within the town there is a local Bus Eireann service serving Monksland on the west side of the town.
Citylink multistop service from Galway to Dublin stops in Athlone, at the Institute of Technology, at Golden Island (town centre) and Arcadia.
The centre of Athlone is small enough to get around on foot. There are taxi ranks at the train station and on Church St.
phone: +353 90 6442130Great for history-lovers. It was built for England's King John in 1210, it was twice besieged in the 17th century (The Siege of Athlone) before finally being captured by the Williamites. The closing decades of the seventeenth century were among the most turbulent in this country's history. It is not surprising then to realise that the most dramatic events in the history of Athlone occurred during the Williamite and Jacobite Wars.
In 1690 the town was besieged by 10,000 Williamite troops under the command of General James Douglas. The Jacobite force present in the town, under the command of the Governor of Athlone, Colonel Richard Grace, resolutely refused to surrender. Following a week long siege the Williamites retreated.
Athlone enjoyed a year of relative peace until June of 1691 when the town was again besieged by the Williamites. This time it was the full Williamite Army of almost 25,000 men led by the Dutch General, Godard de Ginkel which laid siege to the town. The Williamites quickly captured the Leinster town but the jacobites broke down the bridge to stem their advance. Under the command of the French genera, the Marquis de St. Ruth, they courageously resisted all attempts to repair it. A brave Sergeant of Dragoons, Custume by name, lost his life in his attempts to dislodge the vigorous repair works and by so doing became a folk hero celebrated in poetry and story. Ginkels guns, in one of the heaviest bombardments in Irish history, fired 12,000 cannonballs into the tiny Connacht town badly damaging Athlone Castle and reducing other buildings to rubble. The Williamites discovered a fording point and in a surprise attack crossed the river and captured the Castle.
Church of St Peter & Pauladdress: Barrack StThis twin towered church, built in the 1930s to replace an older but smaller church which stood on the same site was cleaned up and looks very well. It is the nationally recognised symbol of Athlone.
Bronze bust of Count John McCormackAn Athlone native and renowned singer, is on the promenade in Athlone. Count John McCormack was born in Athlone on June 14, 1884. His father, Andrew McCormack had been lured to Ahlone, from Galasheils in the Scottish lowlands by the prospect of employment in Athlone Woollen Mills. In time Andrew was to become a foreman in these Mills which had a world-wide reputation for the quality of the tweeds they produced. In 1903 John won the coveted gold medal in the tenor class of the Dublin Feis Ceoil. It was this victory which was to lead to a phenomenal singing career. In 1907 John made his operatic debut in Covent Gardens in Cavaleria Rusticana. He was made Count of the Papal Court in 1928 by Pope Pius XI. Having conquered the operatic world John turned his attention to the concert stage where he was soon to become the most popular lyric tenor of his day. Apart from his rendition of popular Irish songs John McCormack was renowned for his masterful singing of German lieder He made successful concert tours of America, Australia and Europe but in Ireland the highlight of his career was his singing of Panis Angelicus at the open air mass for the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin's Phoenix Park in 1932. John's colourful career spanned almost forty years and included a brief but lucrative career in Hollywood. His earnings for the film Song O'My Heart in 1930 was estimated to be in the region of $500,000 John McCormack died in Dublin on September 16, 1945 and is buried in Deans Grange Cemetery. The bronze bust of McCormack on the promenade in Athlone, the work of the Cork sculptor Seamus Murphy, was unveiled in 1970.
ArchitectureThe following are worth a look for those interested in architecture
Church of St Peter & PaulOpposite Athlone Castle. A monumental Catholic church with twin towers built in the 1930s replacing an older but smaller church which stood on the same site. It is the nationally recognised symbol of Athlone.
Church of IrelandOn Church St. A typical Protestant church with the unusual accompaniment of a separate tower.
Dillon ShoesOn the corner of Church St and Northgate St. It has a lovely decorative red brick front. Particularly over the doorway.
Methodist Churchon Northgate Street. A quaint stone structure with twin mini spires.
Gainsborough HouseOpposite the Methodist Church. It has a neat inset window on the second floor.
Allied Irish BankThis branch at the bridge is typical of such buildings around the country save for the nice pedestrian bridge leading into it.
WorkhousesOn Northgate St. These were again typical of such buildings put up in Irish towns. A fine broad stone structure in good condition at least from the outside.
Court Devenish HouseOff Northgate St/Church St. The grounds are private but the roadside allows a clear view of this fine Jacobean House from the 17th century. There is also the ruins of an abbey on the grounds again visible from the roadside.
St Mary's ChurchIn St Mary's Square, just beyond Church Street, is a fine RC parish church and the best of its kind on the east side of the town.
Franciscan FriaryOn Friary Lane, off Church St, is a nice replica of the older style stone churches built throughout the country with the tower at the side of the church.
The Athlone West Train StationIt's just beyond the barracks. This is a fine long (17 windows wide) classical stone structure which no longer operates as a train station. The current train station is on the other side of the river. When in use it was one of the finest and most imposing railway stations in the country.
Garden ValeIt's between the train/bus station and Church St. This is the best example of red/grey brick old world housing in the town. It consists of two/three storey imposing townhouses.
Church of Corpus ChristiIt's off Pearse Street on the west side of the river. A nice small stone parish church hidden away.
Luan GalleryOpposite St Peter's and Paul. It's a new swanky gallery in a new building which incorporates the former Father Matthew's Hall which in its day was the old library.
Pearse StreetHome to a run of buildings on the right hand side as you walk up from St Peter's and Paul. They are occupied by various state bodies and are typical of state architecture from the 1940s. They include the Post Office, Garda Station, and Social Welfare Office.
Athlone Railway BridgeIt's north of the road bridge and is visible from same. One of the finest railway bridges in the country. This one, which was built in 1851 spans Ireland's longest river, the Shannon.
Athlone CastleBuilt between 1129 and 1210 by the River Shannon. It is on the left bank of the river opposite the Church of St Peter & Paul. It's construction is crucial to the subsequent development of the town of Athlone. Along with King John's Castle in Limerick it is one of the oldest surviving castles in Ireland. It is open for visitors.
- Go golfing at the Glasson Golf & Country Club or the Mt. Temple Golf and Country Club.
- Sit on the east side of the river and enjoy a view of the Castle/Bridge and St Peter's & Paul. A walk along the strand gives a pleasant vista of the town and access to Burgess Park.
- Take a boat on the river.
- Take a drive out to the Hodson Bay which is on Lough Ree. Lovely peaceful spot with a fine hotel and golf course.
- Coosan Point located about two miles north of Athlone is a nice entry point for Lough Ree.
Dean Crowe Theatrephone: +353 90 6492129address: Chapel StOn the west side of the town about a 5-minute walk from St Peter's and Paul. Check the Westmeath Independent newspaper for listings.
phone: +353 90 6476760address: Golden IslandHas the likes of Tesco, Argos, Lifestyle Sports, and Athlone's cineplex.
phone: +353 90 6484387Features well known clothing stores such as M & S, River Island, H & M, Next, Easons and various eateries. It is a visually appealing and well laid-out over two floors.
McGorisk for Menphone: +353 90 647-6688address: 12 Church StStockists of Hilfiger, Lacoste, Gant, State of Art, Replay, Gas, Diesel. Classy man's shop with a bridal shop upstairs.
Allensphone: +353 90 647-2826address: 8 Church StGiftware, kitchen shop and bedlinen store over two floors. Stockists of brands including Waterford Crystal, Belleek, Le Creuset, and Denby, etc.
Church StFeatures among the aforementioned, a fine selection of independent stores not found in shopping centres. These include Burgess Department Store (clothing and homewares), Sheffield Jewellers, Olivia Danielle (Classy Boutique), other female clothing shops including Jezebelle, Paco, Devernois and Clara Ellen. Shoe Zone is the last national chain store left on the street.
Wood B Designsphone: +353 90 647-7468address: Sean Costelloe StStockists of quirky quality wooden handmade gifts as well as family crests.
Burgessaddress: Church StreetOne of the last department stores left in the country. A fine store over three floors selling mainly clothing but also bedding and kitchenware.
address: at Monksfield on the Tuam RoadRestaurant open for Sunday lunch and evening dinner.
Prince of Wales HotelIn the centre of Athlone. It offers breakfast, lunch and evening dinner.
phone: +353 90 6494446address: Fry Place AthloneDelicious food at reasonable prices and excellent service.
phone: +353 90 649 8805address: 1 Abbey LaneAuthentic Thai cuisine that’s not watered down; an exciting wine cellar, a large range of craft beers and award-winning and friendly service
phone: +353 090 647 8850address: Custume Place
phone: +353 90 6433371address: Church St
phone: +353 90 6444830address: High St
Harveys Barphone: +353 90 647-4051address: Lloyds LaneGood pint and staff are nice. Customers are a great laugh.
Karma Nightclubaddress: Church St
Kellysaddress: Dublin Gate St
Lough Ree Innaddress: Coosan Point
Potters Barphone: +353 90 647-4057address: Sean Costello StA pub for all ages with a great pint and great atmosphere. Soup and sandwiches served weekdays 12:30-15:30.
Ricksaddress: Church St
Riverside Innaddress: Castle St
phone: +353 90 649-2358address: Main StEstablished in 900 AD. According to Guinness World Records, it is the oldest pub in Europe (and maybe in the world?)
The Castle Innphone: +353 90 6494048address: Main St
The Prince Bar, Prince Of Wales Hoteladdress: Church St
phone: +353 90 6439010address: GlassonA lakefront 5-star lodge with breathtaking views.
phone: +353 90 6476666address: Church St4-star hotel in the centre of Athlone
phone: +353 90 6451000address: Gleeson StIn the centre of Athlone with views over the whole town.
phone: +353 90 6442000address: Roscommon Rd4-star hotel overlooking scenic Lough Ree
phone: +353 90 6477777address: Dublin Rd
phone: +353 90 6444444address: Tuam Rd
phone: +353 90 6492601address: Clonown Rd
phone: +353 90 6442600address: Northgate St
Bed & Breakfast
phone: +353 90 6477222address: Sean Costello StBed and breakfast and self-catering apartments.
phone: +353 90 6472245address: Cartrontroy
phone: +353 90 642927address: Tuam Rd
- Clonmacnoise, is 10 miles south of Athlone near Shannonbridge, Co Offaly. Along with Glendalough, Clonmacnoise is the best monastic site in Ireland. Head for Birr and turn off at Ballinahowen.
- Glasson, 4 miles northeast of Athlone, on the main Athlone to Cavan road, is a neat village, quaint and well maintained. Good views of Lough Ree on your left as you drive out from Athlone.
- Locke's Distillery, is in Kilbeggan, 20 miles east of Athlone along the M6.
- Clonfert is the location for a small cathedral with a stunning romanesque doorway. It is almost opposite Clonmacnoise. Take the motorway heading for Galway, and then branch off for Portumna at Ballinasloe. Along that road you'll see it signposted.
- Birr formerly known as Parsonstown, is a beautiful heritage town in County Offaly 28 miles southeast of Athlone along the N52. The road takes you through the boggy plains of the Midlands.
- Ardagh is a heritage village in County Longford. It is a beautiful old world rural English style village. It was founded by the Fetherstone family. Their house is now an agricultural college. It is about 3 miles off the main Athlone to Cavan road. Turn left at Carrickboy.