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“Surprisingly Interesting and Engaging”

Athlone Castle Visitor Centre
Ranked #2 of 25 things to do in Athlone
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: 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!
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities, Stairs / elevator
Reviewed April 24, 2013

We stopped in Athlone almost by accident, and decided to tour the castle since we had time. We were surprised to see that the visitor experience had just opened in late February of this year (2013). We entered and thoroughly enjoyed the interactive experience! The designers did a great job of engaging the visitors with interactive displays and audio-visual performances. We enjoyed the view from the castle walls and learned a surprising amount about the history of Ireland there!

1  Thank cmkcmk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"athlone castle"
in 103 reviews
"interactive displays"
in 21 reviews
"self guided tour"
in 18 reviews
"well worth a visit"
in 45 reviews
"the river"
in 46 reviews
"interesting place"
in 7 reviews
"interesting history"
in 13 reviews
"great for kids"
in 7 reviews
"really enjoyed our visit"
in 8 reviews
"great place to visit"
in 8 reviews
"all ages"
in 15 reviews
"on display"
in 8 reviews
"friendly staff"
in 11 reviews
"sean's bar"
in 8 reviews
"siege"
in 36 reviews
"dress"
in 36 reviews
"costumes"
in 25 reviews
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536 - 540 of 623 reviews

Reviewed April 18, 2013

We took the kids who were aged ten and twelve at the time for a visit. It was nice to see the history of the castle and the town. The castle has a great view of the Shannon with lots of little bits of information scattered around.

1  Thank Ann G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2013

My husband and I visited the castle on St Patricks Day in our attempt to be cultural! As a native of Athlone I was interested to see how the tour had changed given all the recent works. My husband, who has lived in Athlone for 11 years, thoroughly enjoyed learning the history of our town and its importance in many battles and how many of our streets and roads are still named after Generals etc. The new interactive exhibition is very well laid out and informative and includes some games etc to keep the little ones amused (and us adults too!).

Thank MissJen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 12, 2013

The castle is only recently open to visitors. There are several interactive displays included in a presentation which details the history of Athlone from prehistory to the present day. The main section is dedicated to the siege of Athlone in 1690 by Cromwell's New Model Army. Interested in history I thought it was very well presented and well worth a visit which will take about 2 hours. It is right in the centre of town overlooking the bridge so you cannot miss it.

Thank Thomas07364
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 10, 2013

The castle has been refurbished to an excellent standard. Very informative exhibitions and interactive ones for the children. The 3d room was a bit too scary for the small ones so I can't comment on that but it looked good!

Thank eurotripperIreland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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