Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus at Athlone Castle on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th December!

Athlone Castle will be turning into a magical Christmas land on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th December to welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus who will be visiting for two days to meet the boys and girls from the town and surrounding areas.

Children and their parents will be greeted by Mrs. Claus, who will entertain them with a Christmas storytelling session. Mrs. Claus will regale the children with lots of festive tales about Santa, his elves and reindeers, helping others during the season of goodwill, and lots more about their adventures in the North Pole.

After Mrs. Claus’ storytelling, children will enter the Castle Visitor Centre and follow a festive trail through the visitor centre where they will get a chance to have fun creating Christmas arts and crafts and have their faces painted whilst waiting to meet Santa Claus in his grotto in the Upper Keep of Athlone Castle. This will be a great opportunity for children to have a little chat with the man himself about their Christmas list, discuss whether they were naughty or nice this year, and take the opportunity to get a photograph with him. Santa will also have a small gift in store for all the good children and a treat for toddlers.

Storytelling and Santa visits will take place during four sessions daily at 12.00pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3.30pm on Saturday and Sunday. Families are advised that pre-booking for each of the four sessions is essential to avoid disappointment as places will fill fast. Tickets for the event will cost €10 per child (children under two free), €4 per adult, €25 for two adults and two children and families of two adults and three children will cost €28. This will include entrance to Athlone Castle Visitor Centre, storytelling with Mrs Claus, festive face painting, Christmas crafts corner, a visit and chat with Santa, and a small Christmas gift for children and an edible treat for toddlers. This Christmas experience will last for approx 45 minutes, and the castle gift shop and café will be open each day, with Christmas gifts and vouchers available to purchase onsite. Places for the event can be booked online in the Events section at www.athlonecastle.ie

For more information contact Athlone Castle at info@athlonecastle.ie or by ringing 090 6442130. Athlone Castle looks forward to welcoming all the boys and girls to a very special and memorable Christmas experience!

Culture Night 2019

Athlone Castle, Luan Gallery and Abbey Road Artists’ Studios will be offering a busy and exciting schedule of free events for this year’s Culture Night 2019, taking place on Friday 20th September.

Culture Night visitors to Athlone Castle will enjoy free entry to the Castle Visitor Centre between 5pm and 8pm (last entry, 7:30pm). Traditional Games will be set up on site for visitors of all ages to play with. Children will also be invited to experience and engage in the work of an archaeologist, with our popular workshop, “Dig It With David”. Plan, sketch and excavate some of our hidden treasures with Athlone Castle’s own resident archaeologist and historian, David Landers. During this event, children will have the chance to immerse themselves in modern day archaeology and learn what life is like an archaeological dig. This event is suitable for children aged seven and upwards.

Across the road at the Luan Gallery, exhibiting artist, Conor Walton, will be undertaking an all-day Portrait Drawing Marathon, drawing portraits of members of the public from 11am – 7:30pm. Demand for a free portrait from the renowned artist will be high, so pre-booking for people interested in sitting is essential. Please call, email or drop in the Luan Gallery Reception and state your preferred availability to claim a place. Members of the public are welcome to drop by the Gallery throughout the day to observe the artist at work. The Gallery will also be extending its opening hours until 8pm and offering free guided tours of Walton’s exhibition; Asymmetrical Warfare.

Over the Shannon at Abbey Road Studios, visitors will have the chance to experience the Open Studios from 4pm to 8pm, providing a unique, behind-the-scenes view of the artists’ practice in their studios. Our resident artists will be on hand to showcase some of their old and new work, and to explain their working process and inspiration to members of the public. Abbey Road will also play host to a photography exhibition by community group, Athlone Photography Club. The exhibition showcases images from members of the club across the wide range of subjects, from Portraiture, to Landscape, Creative Art and Nature.

Culture Night is an innovative public event taking place nationwide, that invites people to spend their evening exploring the best cultural offerings available to them on their doorstep. Special, one off events and workshops are specifically programmed at participating locations and everything is available free of charge. With museums, galleries and artists’ studios extending their opening hours all around the country, Culture Night is the perfect opportunity to visit sites that you may ordinarily miss out on due to your work schedule. Athlone Arts and Tourism look forward to welcoming the public to our celebration of culture!

A full schedule of events with further details and times is available to view on www.athloneartsandtourism.ie and www.athlonecastle.ie.

Queries and requests for further information should be addressed to Athlone Castle on 090 6442130 or Luan Gallery on 090 6442154.

Athlone Castle celebrates its rich Medieval heritage this weekend

Athlone Castle will host its seventh annual Medieval Fair this coming weekend, the 31st August and 1st September 2019 from 12 noon to 5pm. The fair takes place in collaboration with the Society for Creative Anachronism and this year will run in conjunction with the Athlone River Festival. The Athlone Castle Medieval Fair is supported by the Heritage Council and the fair is a celebration of living history, customs, pastimes, lifestyle and entertainment.

Athlone Castle will be a hive of activity with events and activities for all the family over the two days. Through collaboration with the Society for Creative Anachronism and living history merchants and facilitators, visitors will get an opportunity to step back in time and experience a busy medieval fair in action. This years’ Medieval Fair will commence with a parade from the band stand across the River Shannon towards Athlone Castle at 11am on both days, culminating in a festival atmosphere in the grounds of the towns’ historic castle.

From 12pm to 5pm each day, several different exhibitors will showcase their expertise in Medieval ranging from; Michael Moylan of Irish History Live, who will display his range of medieval weapons and discuss medieval warfare in depth with all those attending. Susanna Anker, demonstrating the art of wool-spinning, weaving and dying and people will see the authentic process of spinning wool from the very first stages. Jack Pinson, Master Bowyer with the Craft Guild of Bowyers and Fletchers will discuss the creation of medieval and Tudor era war-bows and their prowess on European battlefields between 1170-1600. Come and talk to the master, while he recreates historical bows as you watch! Galway Early Music will provide a spectacle of music and dance from the medieval period. Hear the music of medieval Europe and Ireland and see some of the fascinating instruments they were played on! With lively medieval dances, songs, and aristocratic art music, the Red Earl’s Consort will bring the special atmosphere of Athlone Castle alive with the sounds of history.

Animal Magic will be in attendance to exhibit falconry and wild bird displays and aim to share the pleasure and excitement of falconry, and to impart some of the experiences they have had over the last 30 years handling, flying and rehabilitating these totally fascinating creatures.

Throughout the weekend, the Midland’s branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism will be on site at Athlone Castle re-enacting a broad range of customs and activities, including; armoured combat, fencing, comic jousting, feasting, medieval dance and recreating medieval arts and sciences and crafts as well as medieval music and theatre.

The Castle will also play host to several children’s arts and crafts drop-in workshops and face painting. These workshops are aimed at 4-11 year old’s and will focus on creating crowns, shields and maybe even a sword or two.
Fringe events have been added to the Medieval Fair programme this year and they include;

A children’s Falcon Making Art & Craft Workshop at Luan Gallery on Saturday 31st August. There are two sessions, one is suitable for; 4-7 year olds from 10:00am -11:30am and the second is suitable for 8-12 years from 11:45am – 1:15pm

€7.50 per child, participants of the workshop will gain free access to the Medieval Fair at Athlone Castle.
Also this year, the castle approach will be filled with the sounds, smells and creations of the West Bank Food, Arts and Craft Market which will be located alongside the west bank of the River Shannon in front of the castle on Saturday 31st August and Sunday 1st September from 11.30am – 5.30pm.

A free Walking Tour of Medieval Athlone, with historian, Donal O’Brien will take place on Saturday 31st August from 2pm – 3pm. The starting point will be at the bottom of the castle ramp.

A solo exhibition from the internationally acclaimed Irish artist, Conor Walton is open for viewing at the Luan Gallery and a Children’s Art exhibition in the lower Boardwalk gallery at Luan Gallery from 12pm – 5pm.
Serendipity, a group exhibition of encaustic works from past students of Artist, Rosemarie Langtry is on display at the Atrium of the Civic Centre from 10am – 1.30 pm on Saturday 31st August.

Dr. Rory Sherlock, author of the guidebook to Athlone Castle, first published in 2016, will present an illustrated talk on the history of the castle at 7pm in Luan Gallery and will discuss the early Gaelic activity on the site, the building of the Royal castle in 1210 and the evolution of the monument over the centuries. The talk is free but advance bookings are advised as places are limited Tel: 090 6442130.

The Medieval Fair will be primarily located in the courtyard and upper battlements of Athlone Castle and will be open on both days from 11am to 5pm. Tickets will be available on the gate or by booking in advance online and visitors will have access to the fair and the castle visitor centre all day. Admission prices are: Adult single €8, Student/Senior €6, Child €3, Family (2Ad & 2Ch) €20, Extra Child €1.50

Advance bookings are advised to avoid disappointment for attendance at the Children’s workshops at Luan Gallery(fee paying tel 090 6442154 ), the Walking tours (free – tel: 090 6442130) and the Historical talk by Dr. Rory Sherlock (free – tel 090 6442130) can be made on www.athlonecastle.ie and full details of the programme of events are available on the website.

For further information, please contact Athlone Castle at 090 6442130, or email us at info@athlonecastle.ie

The Heritage Council of Ireland logo
Athlone Castle Medieval Fair was supported by The Heritage Council

Athlone Castle Medieval Fair 2019

Athlone Castle will host its seventh annual Medieval Fair on the 31st August and 1st September 2019. The fair takes place in collaboration with the Society for Creative Anachronism and this year will run in conjunction with the Athlone River Festival. The Athlone Castle Medieval Fair is supported by the Heritage Council and the fair is a celebration of living history, customs, pastimes, lifestyle and entertainment.

Athlone Castle will be a hive of activity with complimentary events and activities for all the family over the two days. Through collaboration with the Society for Creative Anachronism and living history merchants and facilitators, visitors will get an opportunity to step back in time and experience a busy medieval fair in action.

Athlone Castle will treat visitors to falconry displays from Animal Magic, music and dance from Galway Early Music and live displays of medieval weaponry with Michael Moylan of Irish History Live, weaving and spinning with Susanna Anker, historical bow making with Jack Pinson and a host of other medieval activities provided by the Society for Creative Anachronism and the Athlone Castle team which include; drop in children’s workshops, archaeological digs, face-painting, food tasting, fencing, weaponry displays, hobby horses, medieval games, children’s archery, dress-up and much more.

The Medieval Fair will be primarily located in the courtyard and upper battlements of Athlone Castle and will be open on both days from 11am to 5pm. Tickets will be available on the gate or by booking in advance online and visitors will have access to the fair and the castle visitor centre all day. Admission prices are: Adult single €8, Student/Senior €6, Child €3, Family (2Ad & 2Ch) €20, Extra Child €1.50
Supporting events have been added to the Medieval Fayre Programme this year including; Falcon Making Arts & Crafts workshops for children at Luan Gallery on Saturday 31st August, West Bank Arts, Food and Craft Market which will be located alongside the west bank of the River Shannon in front of the castle, daily walking Tours of Medieval Athlone with local Historian Donal O’ Brien, a solo exhibition of work from the internationally acclaimed Irish artist, Conor Walton at Luan Gallery, a children’s art exhibition in the boardwalk Gallery at Luan and Serendipity, a group exhibition at the Atrium, Civic Centre. A talk on the History and Origins of Athlone Castle by Author, Dr Rory Sherlock will take place on Saturday 31st August at 7pm in the Luan Gallery.

Advance bookings are advised to avoid disappointment for attendance at the Children’s workshops at Luan Gallery (fee paying), the Walking tours (Free) and the Historical talk by Dr. Rory Sherlock (free) can be made on www.athlonecastle.ie and full details of the programme of events are available on the website.

For further information, please contact Athlone Castle at 090 6442130, or email us at info@athlonecastle.ie

Celebrate Past Times during Heritage Week at Athlone Castle Visitor Centre!

Athlone Castle Visitor Centre is ready to celebrate all things ‘Pastimes Past Times’ for Heritage Week 2019.

National Heritage Week runs from the 17th to 25th of August, and accordingly, the team at Athlone Castle has programmed numerous exciting events throughout the week, catered to suit all ages!

Amongst this year’s highlights, Athlone Castle will host a talk by celebrated Athlone native; Journalist and Author, Declan Lynch. With sport being so central to Ireland’s pastimes, Declan will lead a talk on the famed Athlone Town Vs AC Milan soccer match of 1975, exploring the enduring myth and fascination surrounding the match. The talk will offer a more personal history to the game, as Declan will share his own memories of following the team with his father, Frank Lynch, while calling back to the day of the match itself. This event will take place in the Upper Keep of Athlone Castle at 7pm on Sunday 18th August. Pre-booking is essential, as places will be limited.

There are also plenty of events that turn their focus to the Castle itself, with Athlone Castle heritage volunteer, Henry Brady due to return with his ever popular ‘Walk the Walls’ tour; a guided exploration of the castle’s historical external defence features on Sunday 18th at 2pm. Guided tours have been scheduled throughout the week, led by the castle’s team of tour guides, who will share their own favourite past times and pastimes of Athlone’s history on display in the Visitor Centre. The annual ‘Storm the Castle’ will take place on Wednesday 22nd August with FREE admission to all from 10am to 5pm. Then on Saturday 24th August, the Castle will host a Traditional Games Day where people are invited to have fun exploring childhood entertainment and try their hand at some traditional games and activities.

For our younger visitors, there will be Drop-in Children’s Workshops on Sunday the 25th August, with three exciting activities. ‘Dig it with David’, our archaeology dig will kick off at 1pm, followed by Kaleidoscope of Fun, the making of optical toys at 3pm. After that will be A Stitch in Time, an introduction to crocheting at 4pm. The week’s events will draw to a close with a recital of Heritage Week inspired poetry by members of Athlone’s Award Winning Poetry in the Park from 2 – 4pm.

Pre-booking is advised for these events, as places will be limited. A full schedule of events with further details, times, and booking information is available to view on Athlone Castle’s website: www.athlonecastle.ie.

Queries and requests for further information should be addressed to Athlone Castle on 090 6442130 or info@athlonecastle.ie

Athlone Castle Work Closure Notice – Update 23rd May 2019

The Office of Public Works have been undertaking essential conservation works on the exterior walls of Athlone Castle this year.

These works will be completed in June 2019.

Athlone Castle Visitor Centre and grounds will be closed to the public on Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th June to facilitate the de-install of the scaffolding erected to deliver these works.

The Office of Public Works have been undertaking essential conservation works on the exterior walls of Athlone Castle this year.

These works will be completed in June 2019.

Athlone Castle Visitor Centre and grounds will be closed to the public on Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th June to facilitate the de-install of the scaffolding erected to deliver these works.

For Public Safety reasons it may be necessary to close the tunnel under the town bridge and adjacent pedestrian area for this brief period also as shown hatched in yellow on attached drawing entitled “Requirements for Scaffold De-install”.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Lots to look forward to St Patrick’s weekend at Luan Gallery and Athlone Castle

Written by castle-keep

Athlone Castle and Visitor Centre will re-open to the public on the 16th of March just in time for St Patrick’s Day, after a period of closure since the 27th of February allowing the Office of Public Works to begin carrying out essential restoration work on the castle walls. Athlone Castle is offering all visitors a 10% discount on our admission prices for St. Patrick’s weekend. Guided Tours of the Castle Visitor Centre will take place at 1pm on Sunday 17th March. The castle guided tour is included in price of admission. Booking in advance is advised as there are limited spaces for the guided tour, first come first served.

For further information on St Patrick’s Day weekend events, contact Athlone Arts & Tourism on 0906442154 or e-mail info@athlonecastle.ie