Heart of IrelandWith the kids back in school and the weather still pleasant, September is a great time for a late holiday through the heartland of Ireland.
A former garrison town, Athlone is steeped in history and the site of the imposing Athlone Castle, dating back to 1210. The town can also lay claim to Ireland’s oldest pub. Sean’s Bar can trace its history back to 900AD and holds a daily tour of the bar to whet the appetite for a pint or two of Guiness. The Old Rail Trail is a designated cycle path through the area that starts at Garrycastle and continues for 40 kilometres finishing at the market town of Mullingar. Along the way you can visit Dun na Si Amenity & Heritage Park home to an ancient hill fort as well as a wetland reserve that is home to a wide variety of native species. The park also boasts a number of buildings from Ireland’s rural past including a working Blacksmith’s forge and a fisherman’s cottage. The Thyme Restaurant in Athlone prides itself on its local ingredients and its location on the banks of the Shannon is a perfect spot to end the day.
Read more in the September issue…