Museums and attractions

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Athy Heritage Centre & Museum

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Contact details


Town Hall, Emily Square, Athy, Kildare,
Ms Margaret Walsh
T: +353(0)598633075

The Athy Heritage Centre and Museum traces the history of the town of Athy in County Kildare and tells the stories of a number of iconic historical events including: WWI, Sir Ernest Shackleton's exploits, and Gordon Bennett's motor race.

Through historical artefacts, graphic panel, photographs, audio guides in Irish, English, French and Polish the Athy Heritage Centre and Museum traces the history of Athy town in County Kildare and a number of other major international events.

The Athy Heritage Centre is situated in the early 18th Century town hall. You can view audio visual displays in a 30 seater audio room which bring the past to life. You can follow the exploits of the famous Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. Athy Heritage Centre-Museum has the only permanent exhibition anywhere devoted to Shackleton. Highlights include an original sledge and harness from his Antarctic expeditions, a 15-foot model of Shackleton’s ship Endurance, an exhibition of unique Shackleton family photographs and an audio visual display featuring Frank Hurley’s original film footage of the Endurance expedition.

Footage of one of the first car races in the world, the 1903 Gordon Bennett motor race, can be viewed here. The Athy Heritage Centre also covers topics such as WWI, Grand Canal, Norman settlement and the effects of the famine and the 1798 rebellion. The centre is also a tourist information office, internet access point and gift shop.

Amenities On-site: Tourist Information. | Audio Visual Presentation: Footage on the Grand Canal, WW1, Ernest Shackleton and 1903 Gordon Bennett Motor Race. | Guided Tour: available on request. |Language guides available:Irish, English, French and Polish. |Internet Access | Disabled Access.