Athlone , County Westmeath

Athlone is a substantial ancient / modern town on the River Shannon ; some narrow winding streets , tucked away behind a lively main shopping street.

Athlone is a favourite stop off for cabin cruisers on the Shannon and is well worth a stop of on your tours of Ireland. Another hidden gem.

Lough Ree , is just North of Athlone and is an expansion of the Shannon , 15 miles long and up to 6 miles wide , with many islands and gently sloping , wooded shores.

South of Athlone is Clonmacnoise , a monastic site by the banks of the Shannon ; the Cross of the Scriptures is one of the most-photographed Celtic crosses , but in addition there are the haunting ruins of a cathedral , eight churches , two round towers and two other high crosses.

The hamlet of Lissoy ,  North West of Athlone , is where Goldsmith lived as a boy and returned as a man - the heart of Goldsmith Country. 'Let not his frailties be remembered , he was a very great man'.

Nearby Clonmacnoise is a must see attraction and worth a stop on your Ireland tours