RIVERSIDE RELAXATION IN HISTORIC ATHLONE
Looking for a luxury hotel in Athlone? Situated at the stylish marina near Athlone town centre, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone is the perfect base for cruising on the River Shannon, exploring Athlone Castle, hitting the shops or fishing on scenic Lough Ree. Round off your trip with a visit to the fascinating 6th century monastic site of Clonmacnoise, just a short drive from the hotel.
Athlone lies in the heart of Ireland’s spectacular Lake District, to the south of the tranquil Lough Ree (Lake of the Kings) and on the lively banks of the River Shannon. Surrounded by calm waterways, Athlone has a unique location straddling the counties of Roscommon and Westmeath, making it a great base for exploring Ireland’s midlands, as well as soaking up the town’s culture and history.
The medieval town is small enough to navigate by foot and the many pubs, shops and restaurants are just a five minute walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone. The hotel is also close to Athlone Bridge, which was historically the main link between east and west and leads to the Norman Castle on the Left Bank. The castle offers a wonderful insight into Athlone’s character and is a good place to get a feel for its history. Today a lot of the town’s activity happens on the shores of the River Shannon, which is a magnet for fun and relaxation. During the day people stroll happily along the riverbank through the colourful winding streets, taking in the friendly ambience, dipping in and out of shops and relaxing with a coffee to watch the world go by. As night falls the waterfront sparkles with colourful lights from the bars and restaurants and music beats and bounces gently across the water.
With so much water around it is no surprise that Athlone attracts those who love the Great Outdoors. Lough Ree is the place to get into some serious sailing, swimming, canoeing, or full day fishing but for those who enjoy an adventure with a little less of an adrenalin rush, there are the popular Viking boat cruises on the River Shannon. The Viking cruises tell the story of the Vikings arriving in Athlone and give visitors fantastic photo opportunities of the town from the water.
Athlone has always been a centre for meeting, trading and exchanging ideas and today it is still all about the people who live and work here - a genuine and vibrant piece of the Emerald Isle waiting to be explored.
Top 10 things to do in Athlone
Athlone is a pretty town in the heart of the Irish Lakelands. You could just relax in the hotel or take a couple of trips into town for a nose around, but we’ve picked 10 things for you to see, experience and explore while you’re here.
- Go sailing or windsurfing on Lough Ree – the largest lake on the River Shannon. It’s a beautiful place to spend a few hours and afterwards you can warm up with a hot chocolate or a whiskey.
- Explore Athlone Castle – the medieval structure overlooks the town and has a modern visitor centre inside with exhibitions and displays about Athlone’s history.
- Enjoy an evening out in Athlone starting with a sunset cocktail on the riverbank.
- Head to one of Athlone’s many green spaces for a picnic or a coffee overlooking the river – Burgess Park is a pleasant place to stroll along the waterfront.
- Get out your golf clubs and tee off at the glorious Athlone Golf Club which was founded in 1892 – you’ll have great views of Lough Ree. Make sure you book ahead as it’s a popular course.
- Take a walking tour. Get to know the town by foot and you’ll understand Athlone’s secrets and the way it ticks. Ask the hotel concierge for a map.
- Head out for dinner at one of Athlone’s many restaurants. The town has a wide range of cuisine to choose from including Russian, Italian, Chinese, Thai and Lebanese.
- Get on a bike and explore the town – it’s quick and easy and you’ll work up a thirst in the fresh air – the perfect excuse to stop for a pint of Guinness.
- Spend an evening at the theatre – Dean Crowe Theatre and Arts Centre or Athlone Little Theatre has some great shows. You may be lucky enough to visit during the annual drama festival in May.
- Just across the river from the hotel is the Luan Gallery, a diverse new space for exhibitions and visual arts. Get absorbed in the world of art and admire the award winning architecture.
Athlone is at the centre of the Emerald Isle’s Lake District and it’s a breath of fresh air from the busy towns and cities across this busy happy country. Whether you are staying for one day or a week you will easily find a way to enjoy the town’s water in its spectacular surroundings.
Athlone thrives on the banks of the River Shannon and at the mouth of the Lake of the Kings, Lough Ree. When you’re staying with us in Athlone we can help you to sail, windsurf, kitesurf, swim, canoe and fish to your heart’s content – remember you only have to ask our concierge who has great local knowledge and tips on where to enjoy the water. There are plenty of water sports centres where you can hire wetsuits and equipment too.
You don’t even have to get wet to enjoy the waves – you can take a Viking Boat Cruise on the River Shannon learning about the history of the Vikings in Ireland, or a longer tour into the lake and around Hodson Bay. The tour guides are a great source of information about the area and you’ll certainly get a feel of Athlone’s history and culture.
If you’ve had enough of being in and on the water there are some beautiful walks to discover around the lake. You can choose from easy 5km walks on the lake shore to longer circular rambles, as well as local walks from Athlone’s centre taking in the town’s attractions on the banks of the River Shannon, including the Castle, the Boat Club, St Peter’s and St Paul’s Church, and Sean’s Bar – apparently the oldest pub in Ireland and a great way to end the day.