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Athlone was a just convenient resting spot for us. It'll keep a tourist busy for at least a day, and you'll probably notice hen parties as locals visit from the surrounding areas.
After landing in Dublin, we rented a car from Sixt and started driving west. We spent one night in Athlone, Ireland on the way to Galway only because there was a Starwood Hotel. It's a pretty little city with at least enough to keep you busy for a day.
How we spent the day:
- Checked into the Sheraton Athlone
- Lunch at The Bastion Kitchen
- Walking the Shannon Banks Nature Trail Walk
- Athlone Castle
- Power nap
- Dinner at Top Deck Bistro
- Drink at Sean's Bar (the oldest pub in Ireland/Europe)
After checking into the Sheraton Athlone, we were a bit hungry so we walked to The Bastion Kitchen (#1 on TripAdvisor) for lunch. Almost everything is walking distance here. It's a small cozy cafe serving good fresh sandwiches – think organic, local, hippie. The desserts are made in house and sitting right on the counter so it's hard not to get one. The food is not what you might expect if you are thinking “Irish food” but instead more like a cool cafe in the Village (Manhattan). Definitely a good spot to grab lunch, coffee, or a small snack!
Homemade rhubarb cobbler with creme fraiche. I LOVE cobbler and rhubarb too! Turns out rhubarb is very popular in Ireland – I noticed many desserts made with it during my trip. That is something I rarely see in the States.
There were several other restaurants in the area — some in these cool old colorful buildings.
SHANNON BANKS NATURE TRAIL WALK
Trying to fight off the jet lag, we wanted to get some fresh air and stretch our legs. The Shannon Banks Nature Trail Walk was the perfect way to do that and see some beautiful views. This took up a couple hours. After all the walking combined with the sun, we had to take a 1 hour power nap back at the hotel to be able to make it through the day and go to sleep at the normal time.
This little scooter was sitting near the docks:
Head up to the top of the Athlone Castle for some great views of the city. I found the views more interesting than the castle itself. This was a quick visit – no more than 30 minutes.
After our power nap, we walked towards the Castle/bridge area where there are many restaurants. A few locals hanging outside of another restaurant recommended Top Deck Bistro (#30 of 83 on tripadvisor) as a place with good food and drink. As you might expect by the name, they had a nautical theme with sailboats everywhere. We ordered the fish with veggies and a pasta dish with a side of fries. The total damage without drinks was $39 USD – not bad considering TripAdvisor rates this as €€€€.
After dinner, it was time to check out the bar scene – and how could we not go to Sean's Bar – Ireland's oldest bar? Wait what? They have been there since 900AD. Over 1,000 years old? Well, Wikipedia confirms it so it must be true. Also, Guinness World Records confirmed Sean's Bar as the oldest pub in Europe! The walls are so old they are made of waddle and wicker (I didn't know what that was either). Another useless fact – Boy George owned the bar briefly in 1987.
The bar was extremely crowded – only enough room to squeeze by. There was an older crowd in the main front section sitting along the long bar and a younger crowd standing in the back covered patio. Definitely not an alternative to your Tinder app.
On the way back to the hotel, this was the first time we realized how long the days were in Ireland in the summer. It was surprisingly light outside – the photo below was around 10:15pm.
Have you been here? Did I miss anything?
My Cameras: These photos were taken using my Canon S110 Digital Camera (which has been replaced by the S120) as well as my larger Nikon D50. I love the S110 – it’s tiny, fits in my pocket, and takes amazing pictures/videos.