Athlone and the Lakelands
So much to see and do here...
The Irish Midlands are arguably one of the last unexplored regions in Ireland. There's a fantastic array of things to see and do while you're here. We'll give you lots of suggestions when you arrive or simply contact us now with any question.
Meanwhile, click headings below for info...
King Johns Castle and Athlone Castle Visitor Centre
Experience an immersive journey through 5,000 years of history at Athlone Castle Visitor Centre located on the banks of the River Shannon in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East, just around the corner from The Bastion. Well worth a visit!
Since 2012, Athlone’s Luan Gallery has showcased both national, and international visual art projects ensuring a varied and engaging arts programme is delivered to the people of Athlone. Free admission and well worth a visit. Just next to Athlone Castle.
John McCormack - World Famous Tenor
John Count McCormack, who was born in Athlone in 1884, became the most celebrated tenor of his era, singing to packed concert halls across Ireland, Europe and the United States.
His first choir master and mentor was Michael Kilkelly who lived at what is now The Bastion. He was the great grandfather of the current owners. The young McCormack would have been a regular visitor to the house and in fact it was Kilkelly who first spotted the young boys talent and earnestly encouraged him to pursue a career in singing.
Michael Jackson visits Bastion Gallery and Bastion Street
Michael Jackson and his family spent two hours here in 2006. The store is right next door to The Bastion. They had a two hour out of hours shopping blitz at The Bastion Gallery! He loved the store and the street.
The Glasson Trail and Oliver Goldsmith
Enjoy picturesque Glasson and follow in the footsteps of its most famous son.
Founded by St. Ciaran in 545 AD this monastic complex is one of the most important in Ireland and one of the highlights of any trip to the Irish midlands.
Inchclearun Island and the islands of Lough Ree
St. Diarmuid founded a monastery here in 500 AD. Queen Maeve, the ancient ruler of Connaught, is said to have been slain here as she bathed in the tranquil waters of the east shore, by a slingshot thrown from over a mile away.
Birr Castle/Gardens and Telescope
These beautiful gardens boast the largest box hedges in the world. The famous telescope is now restored.
Knockcroghery Claypipe workshop
Experience the art of Claypipe making as carried out in this village for over two hundred years. They use the original iron moulds to shape the clay.
Strokestown House and Famine Museum
Experience life at the "big house" and learn about the famine of the 1840's and of the lives of the unfortunate who endured it.
World Heritage Site Founded by St. Brendan The Navigator and once the home to over 3000 monks. This hidden gem is easily included on a visit to Clonmacnoise.
Once one of the royal fortresses guarding the line of the Shannon it can be approached by land or water. Close to Inchcleraun Island.
Home of kings, druids and saints this is the ancient centre of Ireland.
Coralea Prehistoric Bog Roadway
This perfectly preserved iron age oak roadway is the largest uncovered in Europe, dating from 140 BC, it's 40 minutes drive from Athlone.
The River Shannon
Hire a boat or just relax and watch this majestic river roll lazily by. The Viking Ship Travels up to Lough Ree daily and to Clonmacnoise weekly.
Every day from the castle at 3pm.
Through the bog, by the lake or for the brave - Clonmacnoise.
Bogs and Corncrakes
Visit this fast disappearing habitat and maybe see or hear the elusive Corncrake.
Horse Riding Available locally
We can make necessary arrangements.
There are numerous excellent courses. All welcome visitors.
Athlone Yacht Club is the second oldest in the world.
There is excellent shopping in Athlone, in particular there are many interesting independent shops in the left bank area. These range from antiquarian books and antiques to funky clothes and gifts. Even Michael Jackson liked to shop at The Bastion Gallery! There are two large shopping centres in the centre of town with many of the major stores. At weekends there is an organic farmers market developing around the Castle area.
The Bastion is also the birthplace of BogBuddies(TM), Irish Gifts From Ireland 100% Organic, 100% fun. They're a unique and totally authentic gift or souvenir of your visit. See the website or during your stay here, visit the wonderful "Bastion Gallery" craft/gift shop next door to The Bastion.
Athlone is the culinary capital of the midlands so there’s really a great choice of excellent restaurants to satisfy even the most discerning palates!
Around the Left Bank area there is a cluster of award winning restaurants. Ethnic cuisine is well represented with Thai, Lebanese and Indian restaurants.
Directly across the river is another fine assortment of good eateries. Most places have ‘early bird’ specials if you arrive before 7pm!
The Left Bank is also home to Irelands Oldest Bar - Seáns - this place really is an institution! There has been a hostelry here from time immemorial, in fact legend has it, since people first found this shallow crossing point on the River Shannon - thirsty work! If only the walls could talk!
There are lots of other great pubs in the area too and there is always plenty of live music and no shortage of fun! This is a great meeting place and the diversity of people who gather here make it a real melting pot! You’d never know who you’d bump into!