Celebrate Heritage and Education during Heritage Week with Athlone Castle!

Athlone Castle Visitor Centre is ready to celebrate all things “Heritage & Education: Learning from our Heritage” for Heritage Week 2020. National Heritage Week runs from the Saturday 15th to Sunday 23rd August, and accordingly, the team at Athlone Castle has programmed numerous exciting events throughout the week, catered to suit all ages! This year’s Heritage Week is a lot different from previous years, as Athlone Castle and many other Heritage sites have organised online events.

Demonstrations and workshops provide the focus for staff and heritage professionals to showcase Ireland’s rich medieval history. Workshops include the ever popular ‘Dig it with David‘; an archaeological excavation that can be replicated at home, Medieval themed arts and crafts videos where people of all ages can make their own suit of armour for instance. There will be demonstrations live streamed to everyone at home of bow making, wool spinning and healthcare from the Medieval era. Athlone Castle will also host the ‘Bloodsports and Boozing in the Barracks’ talk on site. Consultant Archaeologist and owner of Atlantic Archaeology, Angela Wallace will present a talk based on the finds uncovered during recent excavations at the Garda Station, Barrack Street in Athlone.

Pre-booking is advised for the on-site talk, as places will be limited, and strict social distancing rules will apply. Online events will be broadcast on our social media channels. A full schedule of events with further details, times, and booking information is available to view on Athlone Castle’s website. Queries and requests for further information should be addressed to Athlone Castle on 090 6442130 or info@athlonecastle.ie

Athlone Castle Reopening

We are delighted to announce that Athlone Castle is reopening on Monday 29th June after a temporary closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We would like to assure you that the health and safety of our visitors and team members is and always will be our highest priority.

Revised opening hours will be in place from 29th June and ticket availability will be monitored in line with HSE Guidelines, health and safety measures and within the constraints of our business. Please continue to check our website and social channels regularly for updates and information on the enhanced safety measures we are taking to keep you safe during your visit.

If you have any questions please contact our team on info@athlonecastle.ie and they will be happy to assist you.

We appreciate your support more than ever in these challenging times and we look forward to welcoming you safely to Athlone Castle soon.


Temporary Closure Notice

Written by castle-keep

Following the advice of the Irish public health authorities and to protect the health and safety of our visitors and staff, please note that closures at all three sites managed by Athlone Arts and Tourism – Athlone Castle Visitor Centre, Luan Gallery and Abbey Road Artists’ Studios will continue until further notice.

Please check our website and social channels for updates.

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