Athlone Castle Visitor Centre is situated in the heart of the Midlands...read more
Athlone Castle Visitor Centre is situated in the heart of the Midlands, on the west bank of the river Shannon adjacent to St Peter and Pauls Church and the Luan Gallery. It was reopened in November 2012 following extensive renovations. The 13th century Norman castle now boasts 8 new exhibition spaces that tell the story of the castle, Athlone town, its people and the surrounding area. The spaces have been designed to be very interactive visitor's are encouraged to get hands on and engage with the rooms as they move through them. First built in the 12th century as a timber fort, Athlone Castle evolved into a bold, defensive building. Its most significant architectural features, such as the keep, have now been harnessed to act as a dramatic backdrop to its diverse and fascinating story. The newly designed exhibition spaces pursue both a chronological and thematic sequence combining hands-on and fun experiences such as games and dress-up activities. Learn about the rich history of Athlone from pre-historic settlement right through to the modern town. Athlone was the setting for many battles down through the centuries. The most famous is the siege of Athlone in 1690 and 1691. The story of the siege and the fighting that was ongoing is brought to life at Athlone Castle through illustrations by renowned illustrator Victor Ambrus. During a spectacular 360 degree audio visual presentation, a re-enactment of the siege of Athlone is experienced. Bold sculptural forms help to convey human figures and historical milestones. 3D maps, audio-visual installations and original artifacts combine to bring the stories and characters of Athlone to life. The newest addition to the visitor centre is the display dedicated to the memory of Athlone's famous son, John Count McCormack. Here the world-renowned tenor is honored with artefacts from both his social life and musical career. At Athlone Castle you can sit down and enjoy some refreshments in the cafe area located in the reception. There is seating for 16 with extra seating outside. Visitors can also avail of audio-guides in English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese. The Failte Ireland tourist office is also located in the castle courtyard. Take the opportunity to visit our sister property Luan Gallery, located just across the road. It is a modern art gallery that showcases local and national artists in a modern impressive gallery overlooking the river Shannon. Athlone hosts a number of fairs and festivals throughout the year that offer fun-filled activities for all. If you are looking for somewhere central to travel with a lot to offer, from museums and galleries to shopping, then come to Athlone, the heart of the Midlands. This renovated tourist attraction is the perfect stop off point in the heart of the Lakeland's Region of Ireland enroute to the beautiful Wild Atlantic Way and along the exciting and culturally interesting route of Ireland's Ancient East. Athlone Castle Visitor Centre is waiting for you to explore, engage and enjoy!