Athlone doesn’t have any single awe-inspiring attraction that draws visitors here. Instead, the collection of galleries, ancient ruins and a recently renovated castle works together to justify a visit. But really, it’s the energy of this dynamic and vibrant city that draws visitors and keeps them here.
Many of Athlone’s visitors are here on business as well. Manufacturing and industry are major players here, and the fact that Athlone has so many sights and activities on offer make it a pleasant place to visit on business. If you have a few hours to spare and a car at your disposal, you’ll find plenty to see and experience.
The following are some of Athlone’s leading attractions:
Athlone CastleAthlone’s position on the River Shannon was hotly contested over the centuries, and anyone who needed to hold it needed a fortified outpost. The first castle was a wooden structure built in the early 12th century. Less than a century later, the Normans built a stone structure that has survived in part to the present day. The castle keep is a national monument.
At the end of the 17th century, William of Orange released an onslaught of 12,000 cannonballs. Needless to say, serious renovations were required. A multi-million euro renovation completed in 2012, creating state-of-the-art audio-visual installations, 3D maps and informative illustrations.
Church of St Peter and PaulIt pales in comparison to the castle, but this church (not a cathedral) is still worth a look. It was completed in 1937 and stands near the castle on the western bank of the River Shannon. It features twin towers on the main façade.
John McCormack Memorial
This renowned tenor was born in Athlone in 1884. He achieved significant recognition on the opera circuit and was even made Count of the Papal Court by Pope Pius XI in the 1920s. A bronze bust of McCormack is displayed on the river promenade.
Dún na Sí Heritage CentreThis attraction is located roughly 15 km west of Athlone on the M6 on the outskirts of a small town named Moate. It features a reconstructed ring fort, a genealogy centre and a folk park that recreates a traditional Irish village. During the summer, visit on a Friday night for traditional performances including song, dance and storytelling.
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