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“If in Athlone, worth the visit”
Review of Athlone Castle

Athlone Castle
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 café area located in the reception. There is seating for 16 with extra seating outside. 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: Stairs / elevator, Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities
Fullerton, Ca, USA
Level Contributor
453 reviews
201 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 202 helpful votes
“If in Athlone, worth the visit”
Reviewed February 13, 2014

Nice local museum, primarily focused on the siege of Athlone. A number of interactive exhibits inside the center. I especially enjoyed playing the interactive video game of capturing the castle - and I am over 65! One can wander around the battlements and there are some nice views of the surrounding area. Well worth a visit if you are in town and it is a nice day. Very friendly and accommodating staff.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank JackR46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Dublin
Level Contributor
159 reviews
97 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 137 helpful votes
“The Castle - not great; the visitor/interpretive centre/museum - very good.”
Reviewed January 26, 2014

If you are interested in the history of Athlone and the castle, then this is worth visiting. However, you will not be able to see much of the castle itself, apart from viewing the outer walls and walking around some of the battlements. There is no tour of the actual castle itself, but there is an excellent visitor/interpretive centre/museum - a self guided tour - which provides a very good history of Athlone and the castle, particularly it’s role and that of the various characters involved in the Sieges of Athlone in 1690 - 1691 - an event that had a long lasting impact of the history of Ireland. The military barracks in Athlone - Custume Barracks - is named in honour of Sgt. Custume who died heroically defending the bridge at Athlone from the attacking Williamite forces.
If you are not interested in visiting the interpretive centre, you can still enter the castle free of charge, and walk around part of the battlements for good views of Athlone and the River Shannon. However, if you just want to see the castle itself, I don’t think I would waste my time, as there are far better and more interesting castles to visit , such as - Trim Castle, Cahir Castle, Ross Castle in Killarney, where you can get guided tours and walk throughout the castles.
Athlone Castle is not open on Mondays.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank fenlaDublin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cork
Level Contributor
36 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Good interactive display of local history”
Reviewed January 20, 2014

Well presented exhibits gave a taste of local history and provided further context for the castle buildings.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
Thank TravellerCork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Galway
Level Contributor
40 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Historic site worth a visit”
Reviewed January 1, 2014

Athlone castle has a lot of history and is worth visiting. You can see the whole thing in about 30 minutes. Definitely go to the top to see the view of Athlone from there.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank GalwayGal001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
56 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Interesting and interactive”
Reviewed December 18, 2013

lots of information about the battle of Athlone and quite arty costumes. Nice gift shop. Good views over the castle walls.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank Lisa04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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