Located in the geographical heart of Ireland, County Westmeath encompasses part of the historic Kingdom of Meath. It’s home to centuries-old castles, historic gardens and incredible scenery, as well as a fascinating mythological past. While the county seat is the elegant market town of Mullingar, the most populous settlement is Athlone.
Things to do in Westmeath
Culture, history and plenty of adventure - County Westmeath offers a memorable detour from Dublin.
Visit Athlone Castle. Established in the 12th century as a timber fort, Athlone Castle is now an impressive stone fortification on the banks of the River Shannon. Step inside the 360-degree cinema to experience the 1691 Siege of Athlone, then explore the castle’s ancient halls with the help of its multi-media displays. Down the road from Athlone Castle is Ireland’s oldest pub, Sean’s Bar, which has been serving drinks since around 900 AD.
Cycle the Old Rail Trail Greenway. Extending from Athlone to Mullingar, the Old Rail Trail Greenway takes in 42 kilometres of magnificent countryside. This relatively flat route follows a former stretch of the Midlands Great Western Railway and is dotted with stone-arched bridges and beautifully preserved station houses. The Old Rail Trail Greenway can be cycled in three sections, with overnight stops in Moate and Castletown, or it can be completed in a single day.
Explore Dun na Si Heritage Park. Encompassing 10 hectares on the edge of Moate, Dun na Si Heritage Park is a family-friendly destination that translates as “Fort of the Fairies”. It features reconstructed historical sites that bring the county’s past to life, including a dolmen, a stone circle and a forge. You can get up close to friendly animals in the Pet Farm and stroll through the native woodland before learning the art of Irish dance at Comhaltas Teach Cheoil.
Getting around Westmeath
County Westmeath is around an hour’s drive from Dublin and Dublin Airport, which has flights to destinations across the globe. Trains connect to Athlone and Mullingar while buses serve towns and villages throughout the county. Renting a car is the most convenient way of getting around.