Tourism Culture

Best Things to Do in Athlone Ireland

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

· 5 min read

The best things to do in Athlone, Ireland, are plentiful. From exploring ancient castles popular places steeped in legend to cruising along the serene waters of the River Shannon, Athlone invites visitors to immerse themselves in its charm. Whether you're a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply seeking a relaxing getaway, Athlone promises an unforgettable adventure in the heart of the Emerald Isle.

For day trips, visit Galway's top restaurant and arts scene or stroll through Birr Castle's gardens. Weekend activities include local markets, cultural exhibitions, and riverside leisure. Nighttime offers pub crawls, dining, and historic site tours. Outdoor adventurers will find boating on the banks of Lough Ree, cycling the Greenway, and golfing at Athlone Golf Club the ideal way to spend time and to explore this vibrant town's natural beauty and spirit.


Top 10 Things To Do in Athlone, Ireland

The top 10 things to do in Athlone, Ireland are exploring the historic Athlone Castle, visiting museums and the Luan Gallery, cruising the Shannon River, admiring local churches, relaxing at Sean's Bar, discovering the Derryglad Folk Museum, roaming Clonmacnoise, playing at Bay Sports, hiking in nearby Portlick Forest, and enjoying family-friendly fun at Leisure World Athlone.

Athlone town offers a myriad of activities and destinations to suit every traveler's preferences with its rich history, scenic landscapes top attractions, and vibrant culture. Here are more details on the top things to do in Athlone, Ireland, ensuring a memorable and enriching experience for all who wander its storied streets and buying perfect souvenirs.

Visiting Dublin? Here are Best Things To Do In Dublin Ireland: In Depth Guide for 2024


1. Explore Athlone Castle

One of the most popular places, Athlone Castle, dating back to the 12th century, stands as a testament to Ireland’s rich history. The interactive exhibits offer a glimpse into the region's past, and the stunning views of the River Shannon from the castle walls make it a must-visit landmark. I explored the interactive exhibits and admired the stunning views of the River Shannon, making Athlone Castle a memorable visit.


2. Visit the Luan Gallery

The Luan Gallery is a contemporary art space that celebrates both local and international artists. Situated along the Shannon Riverfront, it features exhibitions that showcase Athlone's creative spirit. I visited the Luan Gallery and enjoyed exhibitions that brilliantly showcased Athlone's creative spirit.

Visiting Cork? Here are Best Things to do in Cork Ireland: Awesome Places To Visit, Outdoor Activities to Do


3. Cruise on the Shannon River

Experience the beauty of Athlone from the water. Several top hotels, tour operators and hotels offer river cruises where you can soak in panoramic views and learn about the region's history. My cruise on the Shannon River was filled with captivating panoramic views and rich historical insights, offering a journey through Athlone's scenic beauty and storied past.

Visiting Belfast? Here are Best Things to Do in Belfast, Ireland: Top Attractions & Tours of Belfast


4. Explore the Churches

Visit St. Peter and Paul Church for its impressive architecture, as seen in photo and serene atmosphere. Alternatively, step foot into the historic St. Mary’s Church, which showcases a blend of Georgian and Victorian designs. My exploration of the churches revealed St. Peter and Paul Church's impressive architecture and serene atmosphere, while the historic St. Mary’s Church charmed me with its exquisite blend of Georgian and Victorian designs.


5. Relax at Sean’s Bar

Sean’s Bar is a historic site itself, and it is considered Ireland’s oldest pub till date. Enjoy a pint of local brew in an authentic Irish pub setting that dates back to 900 AD, beside Glasson golf. My visit to Sean's Bar, Ireland’s oldest pub, was a journey back in time, enjoying a pint of local brew in an authentic setting dating back to 900 AD.


6. Discover the Derryglad Folk Museum

For an off-the-beaten-path experience, discover the Derryglad Folk Museum houses a collection of artifacts reflecting rural Irish life over the past century. My exploration of the Derryglad Folk Museum near the relaxing area's riverfront, uncovered a treasure trove of artifacts reflecting rural Irish life over the past century, making for an off-the-beaten-path experience.

7. Roam around Clonmacnoise

A short drive from Athlone, Clonmacnoise is a monastic site dating back to the 6th century. It features high crosses, churches, and round towers with breathtaking views of the Shannon River. Roaming around Clonmacnoise was an extraordinary journey through the 6th-century monastic site, where high crosses, ancient churches, and round towers offered breathtaking views of the Shannon River.


8. Visit Bay Sports

Families and adventure seekers will love Bay Sports, Ireland’s largest inflatable water park, located just outside Athlone. It's the perfect spot for water-based attractions and fun, which are just Athlone things. My visit to Bay Sports, Ireland’s largest inflatable water park, was brimming with water-based fun, offering the perfect adventure and escape for families and thrill-seekers just outside Athlone.


9. Hike in Portlick Forest

Nature lovers will enjoy the serene trails in Portlick Forest at County Westmeath, offering scenic views of Lough Ree and opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting. My hike in Portlick Forest led me along serene trails with scenic views of Lough Ree, perfect for birdwatching and spotting wildlife amidst tranquil nature.

10. Enjoy Leisure World Athlone

Leisure World Athlone offers kids a range of activities, with attractions including bowling, arcade games, and laser tag. It’s an ideal spot for family-friendly entertainment. My time spent at Leisure World Athlone was filled with family-friendly fun, with kids enjoying bowling, arcade games, and laser tag in a lively entertainment haven.


What Are the Best Day Trips From Westport, Ireland?

The best day trips from Westport, Ireland, include a journey west to Galway, where you can immerse yourself in the city and vibrant arts scene, eat out, explore Eyre Square, and stroll through the Latin Quarter. Alternatively, visit Birr Castle in County Offaly to experience its extensive gardens, massive telescope, and captivating Science Centre.

Day Trip to Galway

Take a day trip west to Galway, a lively city celebrated for its vibrant arts scene, historic charm, and warm hospitality. Begin your journey by exploring Eyre Square, the heart of Galway, where you can soak in the lively atmosphere and enjoy the green surroundings. Wander through the historic Latin Quarter, known for its charming, cobbled streets lined with colorful shops, cozy cafés, and lively pubs.

Visit St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church, marvel at the Spanish Arch, and engage with the city's rich cultural heritage. I wandered through the charming Latin Quarter, explored Eyre Square, and marveled at the Spanish Arch, fully immersing myself in Galway's vibrant arts and culinary scenes.

Visit Birr Castle

Located in County Offaly, Birr Castle is a captivating destination that artfully blends history, science, and nature. Its extensive gardens are a sight to behold, featuring carefully curated flora, serene water features, and lush landscapes that inspire a sense of tranquility. The castle grounds house one of the world’s largest telescopes, known as the Great Telescope, which was once the largest in existence. The adjoining Science Centre brings Birr Castle’s scientific legacy to life, showcasing pioneering inventions and astronomical achievements. I explored the beautiful gardens, marveled at the impressive Great Telescope, and was fascinated by Birr Castle's legacy of scientific innovation.


What Things To Do in Athlone on the Weekend?

Weekends in Athlone are typical Ireland things: vibrant and filled with activities. Wander through the local weekend markets to explore unique crafts, regional flavors, and support local artisans. Attend cultural exhibitions and events like art showcases at the Luan Gallery, theater productions, or live music festivals to celebrate the town's artistic spirit. By the Shannon and Riverfront, you can kayak, paddleboard, picnic by the riverside, or rent a bicycle to enjoy leisurely rides along the scenic riverfront trails.


Weekend Markets

Browse through the weekend markets in Athlone, where local artisans offer crafts, food, and unique goods. It’s an excellent opportunity to sample regional flavors and support local businesses There are lively bars nearby and hotels for night life.


Cultural Exhibitions and Events

The town hosts a range of cultural events, from art exhibitions at the Luan Gallery to local theater productions and live music festivals, celebrating the best of Athlone’s artistic community and region.

Leisure Activities by the River

The Shannon River is perfect for leisurely activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, and riverside picnics. You kids can also rent a bicycle and explore the scenic river trails.


Things To Do in Athlone at Night

Nights in Athlone are filled with excitement and entertainment. The lively pub scene combines traditional Irish bars and modern venues, where you can join pub crawls to enjoy the atmosphere, meet new people, and listen to live Irish music.

Athlone's culinary and drink scene is diverse, offering everything from traditional Irish fare to international cuisine, including fresh seafood, steaks, and craft beers. To round out your evening, join a guided night tour of Athlone Castle and other historic sites nearby, which come alive with captivating stories and visuals.


Pub Crawls and Live Music

Athlone's pub scene is a lively mix of traditional Irish bars and modern venues. Join a pub crawl to enjoy the atmosphere, meet new people, and listen to live Irish music.

Dining Out in Athlone

Athlone’s culinary scene offers something for everyone, from traditional Irish fare to international cuisine. Try out the local seafood, steaks, and craft beers.

Night Tours of Historic Sites

Some of Athlone’s historic sites and attractions, such as Athlone Castle, offer guided evening and day tours that bring these landmarks to life with captivating stories and visuals.

What Are the Top Outdoor Activities To Do in Athlone?

The top outdoor activities to do in Athlone include boating and fishing on Lough Ree, where you can sail, kayak, or fish while admiring the lake's clear waters and wildlife. Cycle the 42-kilometer Old Rail Trail Greenway for scenic views, or enjoy a challenging round of golf at Athlone Golf Club's 18-hole course overlooking Lough Ree country club and country club enjoy.


Boating and Fishing on Lough Ree

Lough Ree is a paradise for water enthusiasts. Whether you want to sail, kayak, or fish, its clear waters and abundant wildlife make for an unforgettable experience through the lovely green space.

Cycling the Greenway

The Old Rail Trail Greenway is a 42-kilometer route that passes through Athlone, offering scenic views for cyclists. It’s a beautiful way to explore the city and the countryside nearby.

Golfing at Athlone Golf Club

Golf lovers will appreciate Athlone Golf Club’s 18-hole course, which combines challenging play with panoramic views of Lough Ree.

FAQs on Best Things to Do in Athlone, Ireland

What is the best way to travel to Athlone from Dublin?

The most convenient way to travel is by train, which takes around 1.5 hours. Alternatively, there are smaller cities nearby that are direct bus routes or you can rent a car.

Are there guided tours available at Athlone Castle?

Yes, Athlone Castle offers guided tours that provide in-depth insights into the castle's history and significance.

What is the best time to visit Athlone?

The summer months (June to August) are ideal for warm weather and outdoor activities. The shoulder seasons of spring and autumn are also pleasant and less crowded.