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The Best Hotels in Athlone

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Best Hotels in Athlone

Athlone Introduction

If the waters of the formidable River Shannon could talk, they'd tell riveting stories of Athlone's strategic importance in Ireland's wars through the centuries. Today the river bears witness to how Athlone is a beguiling mix of the old and the new, where buildings more than 200 years old sit alongside contemporary architectural marvels, and where families can marvel at ancient ruins and splash the day away in the country's biggest inflatable water park. Nights are equally eventful, with bars and clubs buzzing with live entertainment until the wee hours.

Hotels in Athlone

The fact that Athlone isn't overrun with hundreds of hotels, despite its many tourist attractions, lends to its enduring charm. Nevertheless, there's a good selection of accommodations for a comfortable, even luxurious, holiday. There's a couple of international 4-star hotels with spacious and comfortable suites and rooms, and amenities you'd expect to find in upscale hotels, such as swimming pools, fine dining, elegant spas and state-of-the-art business facilities. Athlone is also home to a number of charming B&Bs that promise a stress-free holiday, with mouthwatering breakfast to start the day and tranquil gardens where you can unwind after a day of sightseeing.

Where to stay in Athlone

The streets east of the River Shannon are abuzz with some of the largest hotels in town, as well as shopping options that include a 19th-century department store and a modern shopping centre housing some of the biggest names in Irish and international fashion. The Left Bank is an equally colourful area, boasting atmospheric restaurants, quaint gift shops and what's reputed to be the oldest pub in all of Ireland. About 10 kilometres north of Athlone lies the picturesque village of Glasson. Also known as the Village of the Roses, it's home to a couple of superb hotels and historic pubs.

Things to see in Athlone

The thick stone walls of Athlone Castle offer a fascinating glimpse into how it had been instrumental in defending Athlone for 750 years. Fortifications such as drum towers that were added in the 13th century survive to this day. The castle's keep has been declared a National Monument, and exhibition spaces have been added to showcase the castle's Norman roots and its role in the town's development. The Clonmacnoise monastic site is another awe-inspiring repository of Irish history. Founded in the 6th century by St Ciarán, it grew to become an epicentre of learning, religion, trade and craftsmanship. Ruins that can be seen there today include those of Temple McDermot, where the last High King of Ireland was buried. A cruise on the beautiful River Shannon is a great way to pass the day. Several companies offer leisurely river trips where you can appreciate the unspoilt scenery as you make your way upstream to Lough Ree.

How to get to Athlone

Athlone is located close to Ireland's geographical centre and easily accessible from several major cities. Visitors flying in will land either at Dublin or Shannon Airport, which are both approximately 1.5 hours away from Athlone. Irish Rail runs train services passing through town to and from Dublin and many other Irish cities. National bus operator Bus Éireann also services Athlone, with routes to Dublin and Galway, and there are several private bus companies that ply local routes. If you're driving from Galway or Dublin, you can get to Athlone via the N6 road, where the town is situated.