Athlone is the Shannon River’s gateway town, a cosmopolitan crossroads where you can just as easily rent a cruiser, or stay put and explore its medieval castle and artsy Left Bank.
Athlone Castle is a 12th century stronghold and tourist attraction, originally built for King John of England by Bishop John de Gray of Norwich. It was erected to defend the crossing point of the River Shannon and everything from raging battles to ancient artefacts is on display as you wander through 5,000 years of the area's history.
Athlone town is a compact maze of old streets, shopping centres and restaurants such as The Left Bank Bistro and Thyme Restaurant. And if you’re looking for a local drink to wash down your meal, Kilbeggan Whiskey is sure to hit the spot.
With charming venues like the Dean Crowe Theatre and the quaint Athlone Little Theatre, it’s no wonder the RTÉ All-Ireland Drama Festival takes place here annually. The event brings together amateur drama groups from across Ireland with street acts, art exhibitions and workshops all in store.