Things to do in Athlone 2024

A blend of land and water trails, secret spots, and undiscovered gems, a unique place of warmth and charm.

Viking Tours

Step back 1,200 years and join Viking Mike on his themed timber vessel. Cruise up the River Shannon to Lough Ree or down river to the monastic settlement and round towers of Clonmacnoise whilst hearing live commentary on Viking hoards, the beauty of the river, its flora, fauna, bird and fish life. Fun and excitement for all the family. Tickets can be purchased onboard.

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Attractions

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Culture & Heritage

Athlone Castle

Despite the rumours, Viking Mike is not as old as Athlone Castle. First built in 1210, Athlone Castle is now a family friendly tourist attraction in the heart of Ireland. Filled with modern exhibitions, Athlone’s history, people, castle and battles are explored and brought to life. Child friendly multimedia displays and interactive games guide the visitor through the castle.

Derryglad Folk & Heritage Museum

Experience life in rural Ireland back to the nineteenth century. At the award-winning Derryglad Folk and Heritage Museum you can explore our collection of 7,500+ objects. Their guided tours take you back in time, through the village shops, the school room and kitchen as you learn the stories and traditions of long ago.

Dún na Sí Amenity & Heritage Park

Travel through time and experience a unique outdoor adventure exploring tradition, heritage, nature, and activity! Meet the ancient Irish warrior Lugh, explore the roots of Irish music, or journey through the past and discover how rural communities lived throughout time. And don’t miss the annual Viking Festival with reenactors, all in traditional costume, crafts people and traders with authentic hand made goods from all over Ireland and Europe. There is battle re-enactments throughout the day to shock and entertain.

Kilbeggan Distillery Visitor Centre

The Kilbeggan Distillery in County Westmeath is the oldest distillery in the world, dating back to 1757. A trip to this well-known County Westmeath attraction will enable you to discover the history of authentic artisan Irish whiskey, as well as sample it for yourself.

The Arts

Athlone Little Theatre

This theatre boasts an intimate atmosphere that combines a high standard of acting and production to deliver a unique theatre experience. It seats 100 patrons in intimate surroundings. Athlone Little Theatre are always on the lookout for new talent, either on stage or as a member of the crew. Viking Mike has loved seeing memorable performances of The Taming of the Shrew, The Field and Philadelphia, Here I Come!

Celtic Roots Studio

This amazing studio, led by lead sculptor Helen Conneely, is a cooperative studio representing artists who sculpt exclusively in bogwood. See the process of how the beautiful sculptures are made on a tour and create your own work of art to bring home. Learn about the history of bogwood and get a gift for someone special in the shop. Choose from incredible sculptures, wish stones and jewellery.

Dean Crowe Theatre

The Dean Crowe Theatre’s spacious auditorium has a seating capacity of 460, with 338 parterre and 128 balcony seats. Viking Mike is a great fan and active member of the local Film Club that was established under the Dean Crowe Trust to promote Irish, world, and contemporary film. Last, but not least, Viking Tours is a sponsor of the annual All Ireland Drama Festival showcasing the best of amateur Irish drama for over 70 years.

Luan Gallery

Stroll across the bridge in Athlone and nestling on the right hand bank you’ll find the stunning Luan Gallery. A showcase for the most interesting artists from the midlands, Ireland and abroad, the building itself is a modern work of art in its own right. With floor to ceiling windows offering uninterrupted views across the majestic Shannon water, it’s a space that gives the work real room to breath.

Family Fun

Baysports Waterpark

Baysports is located outside Athlone on the west shore of Lough Ree at the heart of the mighty River Shannon. Here you will find one of Ireland’s largest inflatable waterparks. There is also kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, pedal boating, rafting and dragon boating. Wetsuits are available to hire but it is recommended to bring a towel, spare socks, a swimsuit, and a wetsuit if you have one. Booking is via their website.

Elevate Entertainment Centre

This is the largest indoor entertainment centre in Ireland. The entertainment centre covers an area of 100,00 sq. ft. There is so much to do here: Ireland’s first electric Go Kart track, a roller disco rink, Lazer Tag, a Nerf Gun Arena, Nerf Shooting Gallery, a Playstation 5 room, quasar, mini golf and many other virtual reality and augmented reality pods.

Glendeer Pet Farm

Glendeer Pet Farm is an award-winning open farm. It is an unforgettable, interactive experience where you can pet baby animals such as bearded dragons, chicks, goats, rabbits and guinea pigs. This centre is in Strokestown, County Roscommon and is run by a community-owned company, affiliated to the Irish Family History Foundation. Fun Fact: Viking Mike is scared of goats.

The Planet Athlone

This has been a popular family entertainment centre since 1986 and has something for all the family. Facilities include ten-pin bowling, Laser Quest, an Adventureland soft play arena, Astroturf football pitches, American pool tables, snooker, and the very latest in games. The Planet serves Apache pizza and mega platters of chicken goujons, onion rings, garlic mushrooms, cocktail sausages, and wedges. Adults can grab a beer while bowling with the bar being open until late.



Eat & Drink

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Breakfast

Beans & Leaves

An all-day healthy breakfast is available at this café that also has delicious sandwiches, salads and hot meals made on the premises. Beans and Leaves is very close to the strand and when the weather is good you can bring your dog and sit outside while overlooking the mighty River Shannon while eating your avocados on toast. As a bonus, Beans & Leaves is a supplier of local handmade chocolates by Bon Chocolatiers.

Bonne Bouche

The Bonne Bouche or “The Bon Bon” has been a staple diner to locals for decades. Here you will find plenty of wholesome meals and an attentive service that has warmed the hearts of its many patrons. Their dishes include the traditional Irish Breakfast of bacon, sausages, pudding, baked beans, eggs, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, toast, butter, marmalade, and lots of tea to drink.

KAFE U ATHLONE

This is the local eatery for students and staff of the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) with all the meals being very wallet friendly! There is a wide range of options from all-day breakfast, to pancakes and fresh omelettes. There is also great choices for the “egg heads” or anyone who is looking for a light and healthy meal.

Loaves and Fishes

Located in the stylish Left Bank Mall this simple and modern daytime cafe offers breakfast, sandwiches, wraps and coffee to eat in or take away. Their signature breakfast bap is a big hit with the kids! If you are organising an event, Loaves and Fishes has an extensive Catering Menu including seafood chowder, vegetation lasagne, sandwich platters, scones, and salads. Drop in and say Hi to the very chatty and accommodating owner Mary.

Your coffee fix

Fine

There is nothing more fine than FINE! At this centrally located café you will find coffee beans that are ethically sourced and transparently traded. This includes coffee from Farm Land and the Mullingar based roastery Bell Lane. FINE runs coffee classes where you can learn basic barista training, espresso making and filter coffee processes. Every Friday evening FINE becomes an atmospheric wine bar serving cheese and charcuterie boards. For the wine bar evening it is advised to book in advance.

Harvest Homemade

Take a break from all the shopping and sample freshly baked goods with your coffee at Harvest Homemade. Situated inside Athlone Towncentre, they also offer a wide selection of wholesome and homemade tasty carvery dishes, soups, gourmet sandwiches and most importantly sweet treats. A great place to catch up with an old friend! If it’s too busy you can always pop down to the elegant Sheraton Hotel and visit The S Bar & Bistro.

Rustic Roots

Inside this café the walls are decorated with pictures of Ireland and maps of Athlone town. They serve refreshing drinks such as smoothies, milkshakes and juices. The ‘Tropicana’ is a delicious option with mango, pineapple, banana, pineapple juice and natural yogurt. Caffeinated drinks include an Iced Latte or Mocha with vanilla, caramel or hazelnut syrup. If you decide to stay longer they have a full Al La Carte menu.

Spill the Beans

Spill the Beans is a small speciality coffee shop with their beans supplied by the local Coffee Perfection in Co.Meath. Here there is delicious coffee and great customer service that is within a stone throw of Athlone Castle and SS Peter & Pauls Church. The café decor is lovely and fresh with a great vibe. Spill the Beans has delicious baked goods supplied by Jammy Rodgers that are great after a busy day of sightseeing. Open 7 days a week.

Lunch time

Bastion Kitchen

Made with lots of fresh, local, organic and seasonal ingredients, the owner Ann serves hot dishes such as Organic Red Lentil Dahl, Ribollita with Organic Canillini Beans, Moroccan Spiced Chickpea & Vegetable Tagine and Sweet Potato & Chickpea Coconut Curry. There are takeaway deals and a Click & Collect service when you order online. Instore and on their website, there is also many eco-friendly products including thermal bottles, beeswax candles and handmade soaps.

Poppy Fields

Poppy Fields menu boasts a widely acclaimed ‘Today’s Specials’ option, with four Hot Specials available every day, to compliment the regular menu. They also offer healthy options every day including char grilled chicken with quinoa, Kale salad with fresh pineapple salsa. Vegetarian options include roast Mediterranean vegetables with Five Mile Town goat’s cheese & homemade basil pesto. Poppy Fields also has an outdoor seating area with heaters for chilly days.

Savoury Fare at Fernhill Garden Centre

Why not have your lunch, coffee or cake while being surrounded by greenery. All desserts are home-made and are produced by of their in-house pastry chef. Their Garden Centre location is an ideal spot for relaxing and entertaining and is a great way to spend an afternoon. You must try their pavlova! Savoury Fare was established in 1996 by current owners Des Hennelly and Rory Currid, both chefs, each with over 30 years industry experience.

The Brasserie & The Pergola

The Brasserie at the Radisson Blu Hotel has great local and Irish produce simply prepared and cooked by their team of talented chefs. It is the perfect place to meet up and enjoy a superb meal with family, friends or colleagues. Meanwhile, The Pergola is a picturesque venue that enhances the allure of riverside dining by captivating guests with an unobstructed view of the River Shannon. As an extension of the renowned Brasserie, you will be introduced to bistro-style furniture and exquisite views, creating an ambience that invites guests to savour every moment.

Fine Dining

Bacchus Restaurant

From cooking in his mom’s kitchen to a flourishing chef career, Jasim has been doing this his whole life. His rich experience shows through beautiful, flavourful, and unpretentious food with a focus on local ingredients. Bacchus, the home of modern Mediterranean and European cuisine where menus are thoughtfully tailored to meet their guests’ tastes and expectations. Their aim is to ensure that you have a memorable experience, with impeccable service and great food.

Left Bank Bistro

Located on a sunny corner in Athlone’s most vibrant food and drink quarter Left Bank Bistro is well regarded as one of the most vibrant dining experiences in Athlone, a favourite of visitors & locals alike. Founded in 1995 by Annie McNamara and Mary McCullagh, it’s why this neighbourhood is now called The Left Bank Quarter. Their philosophy is to serve food that looks great on a plate and flavours that speak for themselves. Put simply, the Left Bank Bistro has a love for honest food, good coffee, great wine and the simple pleasure of sharing time with friends.

The Fatted Calf

Run by husband-and-wife team, Feargal and Fiona O’Donnell, the restaurant’s focus is on finding and working with the best, fresh, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients that the Midlands has to offer. Feargal’s menu is carefully designed with his take on modern Irish food, served in a relaxed, and comfortable setting. Dinner is served Tuesday – Saturday and every Saturday the restaurant opens for lunch from 12:30 – 2:45pm.

Thyme Restaurant

Thyme was opened in November 2007 by John Coffey and his wife Tara with the idea of showcasing the fabulous producers the Midlands region has to offer in a relaxed and comfortable setting. Thyme has gone from strength to strength over the years garnering many awards along the way. The food is best described as Modern Irish and is based on the seasons so menus will change accordingly. Situated in the heart of Athlone it’s only a stone’s throw from many wonderful local attractions.

Casual Dining

Al Mezza Lebanese Restaurant

As soon as you enter Al Mezza restaurant you know your taste buds are in for a real treat, with authentic surroundings, a real fire and excellent service. Lebanese cuisine or foods from Lebanon are considered a Mediterranean delicacy of fresh vegetarian recipes, salads and stews all seasoned with a flavoursome combination of herbs and spices. One of the most World renowned Lebanese specialties is called the ‘maza’, also written as ‘mezza’, which is a selection of appetizers olives, cheeses or small portions known as mugabbilat.

Il Colosseo

This restaurant takes pride in its causal atmosphere and family friendly welcome by their experienced staff in an elegant premises that offers you an exceptional dining experience. With their extensive menu they have something for everyone, be it a fussy child or a meat lover. They specialise in an authentic Italian cuisine of pasta and pizza, but also have a scrumptious selection of food that includes fresh seafood, succulent steaks, light salads, and indulgent desserts.

Pavarotti’s

Run by Claude, this restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy a quiet meal for two, a family gathering or large party. Pavarotti’s serves pizza and pasta using the finest of ingredients made to order. Their pizzas are noted locally for their fresh handmade base and flavoursome toppings. The restaurants dishes use high-quality, seasonal ingredients, presented in elegant simplicity. Pavarotti’s serves an extensive range of wines, beers and indulgent desserts to complement each meal. Viking Mike’s favourite is the Pizza Napoletana with pizza sauce, black olives, anchovies, and cheese.

The Bailey Bar & Lounge

A traditional Irish welcome awaits, when you enter their friendly, clean, relaxed and inviting space right in the heart of Athlone. Whether you are stopping in while travelling through Athlone or grabbing a bite having stepping out from one of the many local attractions. Food includes the Bailey’s signature ‘Roast Joint of the Day’ and the lemon pepper beer battered fillet of fresh Atlantic pollock with Marie Rose tarter – Have it all with a great pint of Guinness.

Drinks

Castle Inn

The Castle Inn is well known for its character and atmosphere. It’s one of the pubs you have to visit in Athlone and you can be guaranteed friendly banter and a great pint! A tradition of a genuinely warm welcome and first-rate friendly service is the hallmark of one of the friendliest watering holes in Athlone. They pride ourselves on our various Music sessions, Open Mic Nights, Pool Competitions and Sporting Coverage.

Dead Centre Brewery

Featuring copper clad brewing tanks, Dead Centre Brewing Company offers a hands on, interactive brewery tour as well as a full bar and dining options. With great views of the River Shannon from the entire building you can enjoy craft brews like Maroon Oatmeal IPA, made using Kilbeggan Organic Oats, and Seeking Sunshine Pale Ale, as well as several taproom exclusives brewed just for the brew pub. These exclusives have included DIPAs, American amber ales, lagers, fruit beers and last, but not least, Viking Mike’s Ale.

Nut’s Corner

Situated in the Heart of Ireland, Nut’s Corner is a real locals’ pub that welcomes all. Whether you are visiting Ireland from overseas and would like to see what a real Irish Pub is like, or you are just looking for a quality pint in a friendly atmosphere, well Nut’s is the place for you. The Sheraton Hotel, The Prince of Wales Hotel and The Radisson Blu Hotel are all within a few minutes walk with Nut’s Corner being directly across the road from Athlone Town Centre. Call in to hear local musicians and bands.

Sean’s Bar

Sean’s plays host to visitors from all around the world. Whether absorbing the history, listening to music, visiting with friends and family, or simply enjoying the perfect pint, the appeal is equally strong for everyone. Listed in both “25 of the Most Incredible Bars in the World” and “50 Bars to Blow Your Mind” by Lonely Planet, a visit to Sean’s is a must! Even more amazing, Sean’s Bar was officially recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as Ireland’s Oldest Pub. With music 7 nights a week, live bands, flowing pints, electric atmosphere, and that Good Ol’ Irish Craic, no wonder Sean’s Bar has been the chosen destination for many.

Places to Stay

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Hotels

Athlone Springs Hotel and Leisure Club

Boasting 68 bright and spacious bedrooms, extensive leisure facilities, ample free car parking on site and complimentary high speed WIFI, the Athlone Springs Hotel & Leisure Club is your ideal base for your next getaway. Their bedrooms feature smart TV’s with Netflix, while our state of the art gym features a new fitness studio. Enjoy our indoor 20 metre swimming pool while you are staying with us. Their newly refurbished Cedar Brasserie & Bistro and lobby area are the perfect places to catch up, relax and unwind. Outdoor dining can be enjoyed in their Secret Garden, a great place to dine alfresco in Athlone.

Hodson Bay Hotel

This is a well renowned lakeside resort in the town. When you stay with them you can make the most of the hotel’s peaceful setting and central location in the heart of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, 5 minutes from the heart of Athlone Town. Hodson Bay Hotel offers great accommodation, fine dining, casual restaurants, multi-purpose-built conferencing suites, a state-of-the-art leisure centre and luxurious spa. Their sister site is the Sheraton Hotel in Athlone centre.

Radisson Blu Hotel

The perfect place to enjoy your well-earned break, these beautiful rooms feature king-sized beds, large plasma-screen TVs and sizeable en suite bathrooms. If you’re visiting with children, you’ll feel right at home in the Family Suite, which is furnished with two single beds and a separate sleeping area with a king-sized bed. With 128 rooms and suites offering stunning views of the marina and an endless selection of activities, the Radisson is the perfect choice for all the family.

Shamrock Lodge Hotel

The team at the Shamrock Lodge Hotel pride themselves in offering a unique setting with warm hospitality and excellent food. Offering the very best in hotel accommodation, the Shamrock Lodge Hotel offers 40 deluxe and superior bedrooms with garden views and balconies in some rooms and seven unique two-bedroom suites and four self-catering apartments. For the little VIPs, there is a fairy garden to explore and our very own bug hotel. Comfortable tones and modern elegance provide the perfect backdrop for your stay at our family run hotel.

Bed & Breakfast

Arch House

Arch House B&B and Apartments we offers a warm friendly welcome and ensure a pleasant and memorable stay. With modern comfortable bedrooms and fully fitted modern self-catering Apartments we are ideal for the corporate guest, tourist, family breaks, events, and group bookings. And just 100m from the Sheraton Hotel and 500m from the Radisson Hotel they offer the perfect stopover for the wedding guest.

Bastion

With its stylish interior and relaxed atmosphere, The Bastion is a traveller’s respite. Wooden floorboards, crisp white linen and freshly ground coffee await you. The comfortable guest lounge is a place to relax and unwind after a day touring and before sampling the many excellent restaurants the area boasts. They are currently not serving breakfast in the house, but a full breakfast menu is available right next door at the excellent Bastion Kitchen.

Home Inn

This is not a B&B but is very comfortable and convenient because it is within walking distance of the train and bus station in Athlone town. Their guest accommodation offers six different room types to accommodate your needs. This style of accommodation is perfect for solo travelers, couples, friends, and families. Included in the rooms is Free WifiFlatscreen TVEnsuite ShowerBed LinenDesk and Heating. 

Riverview House

This B&B has lovely big comfortable beds, very friendly, attentive and welcoming hosts. Lots of onsite parking with a great. The location is very close to Athlone centre. They are Irish Tourist Board approved with 4* classification and Michelin guide recommended. The B&B is not far from shops, restaurants and bars, so you can enjoy good food, drink, entertainment and shopping.

Pampering

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Brooks & Co. Spa at Glasson Lakehouse

At this spa they offer a holistic approach to the overall spa experience by considering the entire body, mind and soul with the aim of achieving and maintaining balance and harmony of the vital energy that runs through our body. They provide the ultimate self-care journey by using specific Aromatherapy scents to enhance your treatment experience, promote a sense of relaxation and improve mood with every treatment being tailored to suit your individual needs.

Cedarwood Spa at the Wineport Lodge

Spa Manager, Christine Mannion and her team have created a spa experience like no other, featuring luxuriant signature treatments using Irish skincare brand Voya, and the premium French skincare brand Yon-ka. Cedarwood Spa is a natural addition to Wineport Lodge’s existing array of relaxing, wellness experiences for guests to enjoy during their stay from sunrise yoga and lake swimming, to bike hire, boat hire and paddleboarding. As soon as you arrive at Cedarwood Spa your shoulders will drop and as soon as you leave, you’ll yearn to return!

glo Skin Clinic

Clinic director and skin professional Paula Fitzpatrick, specialises in non-surgical skin treatments, digestive health treatments and nutrition. At glo Skin Clinic, their philosophy in achieving good skin health is to take a targeted 360 approach and address the skin and body as a whole. Paula is the only practitioner in the Midlands to offer colon hydrotherapy and nutrition to address digestive issues, IBS, food intolerances, skin problems and overall health.

Sirana Spa at the Sheraton Hotel

The Sirana Spa boasts seven contemporary treatment suites, a rustic tepidarium, Arabian Rasul Chamber and a spacious, tranquil relaxation suite. Their therapists ensure that every treatment is prescribed for your needs. Sirana Spa is a healing hub where touch and technology are turbo-charged by the power of minerals, plants and active natural fragrances. All the treatments developed by ELEMIS are designed to support great skin health; to respect that skin is alive. No two skins are the same, and no two bodies are the same shape. Every spa therapy is shaped and moulded around you.

Hidden Gems

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Athlone Guided Tours

Join Vincent as he wanders the streets of Athlone recounting tales of war and conquest, joy and tragedy, emigration and slavery, and success and folly. Taking place every Thursday and Saturday, Athlone Guided Tours are an eco-friendly walking tour suitable for visitors and locals alike. He combines a quick wit, a vivid imagination and a great interest in history to paint a picture of Athlone in every age. The tours encompass oral history, folklore, memories, famous residents, landmarks and place names throughout the history of Athlone. The tour starts at Athlone castle and visits various locations in Athlone, including the Strand, the Civic Square and Athlone’s Latin Quarter.

Athlone Whiskey Walking Tour

On the Athlone Whiskey Walking Tour, you will fully discover the centuries-old tradition of whiskey production in Athlone that encapsulates over 270 years of whiskey heritage and enjoy a few local tipples along the way! Athlone was once a bustling hub of distilleries and breweries. The earliest record of distilling in Athlone can be traced back as far as 1740 and brewing can be traced back to the 1730’s! On this walking tour, we will delve into the fascinating history associated with the distilling industry in Athlone that dates back as far as 1740! You will journey through a range of Irish whiskey’s and discover what makes them so unique.

Bastion Gallery

Established in 1990, this Gallery stocks a selection of gifts and jewellery both designed and made in Ireland and sustainably sourced Fair Trade products alongside books and other unique gift ideas. You are sure to find a suitable gift for birthdays, wedding, christenings and retirement. Viking Mike recommends checking out the handmade Bog Buddies, written Ogham Wishes and the Jellycat stuffed toys. All can be bought instore or online.

Glasson Craft Gallery

Born out of a passion for Irish Craft, Glasson Craft Gallery first opened its doors in 2011. They have a wide range of Irish craft available: from jewellery, millinery, knitwear, ceramics, glassware, homeware, woodturning, local artisan foods and much more. Every piece is unique and is handcrafted in Ireland. They also have an exhibition space for Fine Art and photography. Glasson Craft Gallery is located just a short stop from Athlone.

John’s Bookshop

The shop is owned and run by John Donohoe who opened the doors in 1997 and launched his online store in 2011. This quaint shop is in the old part of Athlone town and mainly sells antiquarian, used, rare, and a few new books. John also sells original documents, signed first editions, photographs, ephemera and a few select paintings. Whilst he stocks books of all sorts there is an emphasis towards Irish Literature, Local History, Inland Waterways, and Irish language books — leabhair Gaeilge. Fun Fact: John is a big fan of birdwatching.

Left Bank Antiques

Left Bank Antiques, run by Brian and Mary Kelly, has been in operation for over 20 years. They offer the discerning customer a wide and varied choice of quality antiques and collectibles, ranging from furniture, porcelain, paintings, clocks, silver, lighting, jewellery, and linen. They pride themselves in supplying good quality antiques at very affordable prices and doing their utmost to facilitate customer budgets. Their current stock ranges from Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian periods, and they guarantee an extremely pleasant and interesting experience.

Always check with the venue directly for up-to-date information including opening times, offers, deals and admission charges as they are subject to change. Last updated January 2024