Dotted with sparkling lakes amid rolling hills, Westmeath is truly in the heart of the Lakelands Country. The tranquil Royal Canal meanders around Mullingar on it's way to the majestic River Shannon.
County Westmeath is rich in natural resources with many lakes, rivers and waterways, particularly the River Shannon and the Royal Canal. The county’s major lakes include Lough Ennell, Owel, Derravaragh, Lene, and Sheelin which have been traditionally popular for Angling. Golf, Angling and Equestrian activities have traditionally been important pursuits for the visitor to the county and will continue to be important activities in the future as the county has a good product base in these categories. In recent years, Westmeath has benefitted from the emerging development of national off-road Greenways that currently traverse the county. Developments such as the Royal Canal Greenway and Old Rail Trail cater for the increasingly popular walking and cycling markets.
Westmeath is steeped in heritage and history and hosts significant visitor attractions in Belvedere House, Athlone Castle and Kilbeggan Distillery. It also contains important heritage sites such as Fore Abbey in the North of the county and Uisneach, one of the royal sites which has great historical significance and is often considered the centre of celtic Ireland.
Known as the ‘County of the lakes and legends’, Westmeath boasts a ring of breathtaking scenery, rolling hills, unspoiled countryside and wild bogland. It offers remarkable beauty and diversity. Naturally there’s water here too.
Abounding in rivers, lakes and streams, it is a terrain of possibilities for every visitor.
Located in the Heart of Ireland, Westmeath has an area of 710 square miles and stretches from Lough Ree in the west to the shores of Lough Sheelin in the north east and southwards to Kinnegad and the Royal Canal. Lakes are its greatest asset with fishing, cruising, water sport activities and shore amenities. There is a wealth of trout and coarse angling on the Westmeath Lakes, Ennell, Owel, Derravaragh, Sheelin, Lene, Lough Ree, the River Shannon and the Royal Canal. Derravaragh is the source of the infamous legend of the Children of Lir who are said to have spent three hundred years in isolation on its waters. Visitors wishing to cruise or to fish, to recall mythology from childhood, to tour the scenic routes, traverse Goldsmith country or the Fore Trail, will find much, much more in Westmeath.
Westmeath is a paradise for angling, golf, equestrian pursuits, tourist trails, genealogy, and heritage holidays.
The towns of Mullingar and Athlone are the two main commercial centres in the county providing Westmeath's 70,000 inhabitants with a range of fine boutiques and modern shopping centres. An important junction in the county is Kinnegad where the N4 (Dublin/Sligo road) and the N6 (Dublin/Galway road) meet.
It's beautiful riverside location opening on to Lough Ree is the cornerstone of its attraction and the source of its outstanding natural beauty and enchanting atmosphere.
Present day Athlone is a busy and prosperous town with an abundance of interesting tourist attractions and excellent restaurants each with its own distinctive character catering for all the family. Dominating the town is Athlone Castle Visitors Centre - a Norman Castle with panoramic views of the Shannon. Features include exhibitions on the siege of Athlone, John McCormack, Shannon wildlife, folklore and military museums.
Athlone is proud to be the centre of Shannon Cruising and its hire boat companies delight in guiding tourists on the Shannon. River trips are available on the MV Ross and the Viking Longboat. The River Shannon is an important route for migratory birds in spring and autumn while the Shannon Callows is one of the last remaining Corncrake habitats in Europe. No trip to Athlone is complete without a visit to the famous ruins of Clonmacnoise - a monastic settlement on the banks of the Shannon. For more information on Athlone visit www.athlone.ie.
Glasson, known as the Village of the Roses, is situated in the heart of Goldsmith Country, approx. 10 kms north of Athlone. Originally built as an estate (Waterstown) village, Glasson still retains its olde world charm, beauty and tranquillity. There are many historic buildings and monuments in the area including the old schoolhouse built in 1844. Glasson has something for everyone - award winning restaurants, traditional pubs serving food, entertainment and barbecues throughout the season. Glasson is surrounded by beautiful countryside on the shores of Lough Ree where you can enjoy Lakeshore & Forest Walks and of course the now famous Glasson Golf & Country Club.
Goldsmith Country gets its name from one of Ireland's world renowned 18th century poets, Oliver Goldsmith. Goldsmith's writings include the epic poem "The Deserted Village", and the play "She Stoops to Conquer". He was reared at Lissoy Parsonage, 5 kms from Glasson. It was his native Lissoy (Sweet Auburn) he recalled when writing "The Deserted Village".