Your Guide to Visiting Westmeath

Athlone Bridge And River At Day

County Westmeath, located in the midlands of Ireland, is a land chock full of scenic pleasures and vast amounts of history. The county is known for its many waterways comprising of famous lakes and rivers. You’ll find our Europcar office in the town of Athlone which is the principal town of the county.

Athlone has plenty to offer to visiting tourists. In the centre of the town you’ll find Athlone Castle which dates back to the 13th century. It’s an incredibly well preserved structure which saw many battles and sieges throughout its lifespan. It was originally built to protect the bridge crossing the River Shannon as it was the only way to cross into the west for miles around. Today you’ll find a dedicated visitors centre inside the castle walls that features multiple exhibitions covering a wide span of history. There’s plenty of pubs and restaurants in the town to suit any taste as well as multiple accommodation options ranging from top quality hotels to B&BS.

The surrounding countryside makes for a walker’s paradise as you’ll find multiple signed walking trails that will bring you alongside lakes, through thick forests and over large hills offering beautiful views out across the land.

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Athlone Castle:

In Co. Westmeath’s largest city, Athlone, is the formidable Athlone Castle. A fort constructed from wood in the thirteenth century, the Castle has grown into a mighty stone bastion which now houses eight exhibits that chart the history of the town and its battlements: Gallery one documents early settlement in Athlone; two shows the Castles first 400 years; three and four cover different aspects of  the siege of Athlone in 1690; five examines eight key figures from the siege; six looks at the town’s last 200 years of trade; seven exhibits medieval life in the town; eight is a display of the bloody execution of those siege survivors.

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Viking Ship Cruises:

Sailing out of Athlone, Co Westmeath, as Vikings have done since 795 on the mighty River Shannon, is the seventy-foot replica of the Viking Knarr longship. The longest serving wooden passenger ship in the UK and Ireland was built in Southend-on-sea in 1923, and now cruises the waterways of Co. Westmeath and Co. Longford to allow visitors a taste of what those early raiders must have felt, more than a thousand years ago. Ploughing up and down the Shannon, visiting Athlone Castle, Hodson Bay, Clonmacnois and Lough Ree, an exciting Viking cruise allows visitors to see Ireland from a new perspective.

Kilbeggan Distillery Experience:

Possibly the oldest licensed distillery in the world, the Kilbeggan boutique distillery is, unsurprisingly, in the town of Kilbeggan, around fifteen miles south of Mullingar. The Distillery began working back in 1757, and has been owned by several different families over the years. These days a fascinating tour is on offer to showcase the fine art of whiskey making, taking in the old mash tuns and fermenters, the great water wheel that powered the whole distillery, and a look at the actual whiskey being produced today, still in the traditional way and using pot stills that are nearly two hundred years old.

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