Athlone , County Roscommon/ Westmeath

The River Shannon here divides the counties of Westmeath and Roscommon and the provinces of Leinster and Connacht. As it was a strategic crossing point there were frequent battles in the town, first between the Irish tribes and then with the Anglo-Normans. Bishop John de Gray, the English justiciar, built a castle in 1210 to guard the bridge into Connacht.

In 1691 the Williamite forces laid siege to and later defeated the Jacobite troops here.The museum in the remains of Athlone Castle has exhibits dating from the Stone Age, artefacts from the siege of Athlone and memorabilia of one of Ireland’s most famous singers, John McCormack. The town is one of the best-known river cruiser bases.

The towns rich history makes it a must see on your Ireland tours.