Athlone, an ideal regional centre is the largest town on the River Shannon standing on the boundaries of two counties - Westmeath and Roscommon - in the centre of Ireland on the main N6. It is a historic town because of its strategic location and is commonly referred to as “the gateway to the west”. An ideal base for tourists, this busy and prosperous town has a wide range of tourist attractions, top class accommodation and excellent restaurants each with its own distinctive character catering for all the family.
Athlone grew up around the principal crossing of the River Shannon and is mentioned in the Táin; an early Irish epic, the route of which can be traced today from Co. Louth to Co. Roscommon. On the western side of the present road-bridge is Athlone Castle, where the Normans fortified themselves around 1210. It is now a Castle Museum and a Military Museum together, with space for exhibitions relating to aspects of the cultural and natural history of Athlone and the surrounding countryside.
The town's riverside location, opening on to Lough Ree, is the cornerstone of its attractions and the source of its natural beauty. Athlone is proud to be the centre of Shannon Cruising and its hire boats delight in guiding tourists on the Shannon. Day trips are also available. Other activities in the area include walking, angling, cycling and golf.