Things to do in Athlone

When the summer comes the River Shannon and Lough Ree welcome a fleet of vessels to take you on a voyage of exploration on the water. Here are some more things to do in Athlone..

Sean's Bar

This is Athlone’s local pub with a riverside garden, live music and a 1000-year history, having a complete record of every owner since its inception. This low-ceilinged watering hole been serving customers since the start of the tenth century and has been declared the oldest pub in Europe.

Originally known as Luain’s Inn from “Atha Luain”, meaning “Ford of Luain”, from which the town got its name. It has been since listed in various sources as being one of the best bars in Athlone. The inn was on the west bank of the Shannon, and the inn-keeper manned the river-crossing. It doesn't look like it from the front, but its log fires, uneven floors (to help flood waters run back down to the river), sawdust, rickety piano and curios collected over the years are worth a look. The riverside beer garden has live music most nights in summer.


Seven miles from Athlone, down the River Shannon is Clonmacnoise, founded in 544 by St Ciarán. The centre of learning and religious life in Ireland at the time, it is still possible to see the remains of a cathedral, seven churches, three high crosses, and grave slabs dating from as early as the tenth century. The most famous monument at Clonmacnoise is the sandstone Cross of the Scriptures, with its carved bible motif. This monument was mentioned in The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland in the years 957 and 1060.

Church of St Peter & St Paul

Situated opposite Athlone Castle, the Church of St Peter & St Paul dates from 1937 and contains stained-glass images of St Peter and St Paul on either side as you enter. The church looks large from the outside, but it is massive when you see the interior. It is a basilica in form with a combination of Romanesque and Classical architectural features. Its beauty is its simplicity. It is grand enough to be a house of worship but not overly decorated.

There are six windows from the Harry Clarke studio, though he did not design them himself. Other highlights are the replicas of Michelangelo’s Moses and Pietà, a mosaic by the Fratelli Alinari and an altar with a Baroque baldachin.

Little Theatre

Founded in 1936, the Little Theatre has its home it what was once known as “Little St Mary’s Hall”. With seven plays performed in 2016, but only one in 2017, the Little Theatre has opened its 2018/19 season with The Glass Menagerie, a classic tale of love, bitterness and abandonment written by Tennessee Williams. The play ran from 21-28 September 2018. Future performances in 2018 include ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ by Niall Williams which was first performed in 1998 and ‘The Memory of Water’ written by Shelagh Stephenson.