Athlone is the largest town in Westmeath, however it also spans into the county of Roscommon. It is a crossing point of the Shannon, and it's name means the Ford of Luan. The ownership of the ford has been disputed from early history. In 1001, Bran Boru marched here with a great army, 1129 saw King Turlough O Conor build a wattle bridge here, in 1199 the Normans occupied the town, and built the town walls in 1257. After the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, the Irish withdrew to Athlone. One of the attractions in Athlone is the 13th century castle, which during the 17th century Cromwellian Wars changed hands many times. The castle was handed over the the State in 1922, and was declared a National Monument in 1969, after serving as a military post.


 © 2009