Ireland - Shannon Bars and Restaurants - East Athlone - Neils Travel WebIreland - Shannon Bars and Restaurants - East Athlone - Neils Travel WebShannon Towns & Bars - East Athlone

Info - The Town of Athlone is recognised throughout Ireland as the biggest town nearest the centre of Ireland. The town is situated almost halfway between the countries two major cities, Dublin and Cork, and has always been an important crossing point on the river Shannon.

Athlone is one of the biggest towns on the Shannon River, and as such has a great deal to offer. There is a wide variety of pubs and restaurants to choose from, as well as major department stores and fast food outlets. Despite the rapid expansion of this bustling town, it has managed to retain its’ old world charm within the narrow streets.

Athlone is at the foot of Lough Ree, one of the biggest lakes to be crossed while cruising the Shannon, and as such offers a wealth of water related sports and activities.

History - The name 'Athlone' is derived from the Irish 'Ath Luan' , which means 'The Ford of Luan'. According to the story, a man called Luan kept a hostelry here and acted as a guide to travellers who needed to cross the wild currents of the river.

Due to its location in the centre of Ireland, Athlone has always been of great strategic importance and has always housed a garrison of some sort. The current garrison is known as Custume Barracks, and was built in the 1690s. The original wooden fort at Athlone was replaced in 1210 by the Normans, and the town walls were built in 1257. The town was the scene for many fierce battles, and the walls and castle have been partially destroyed and rebuilt many times over the years, although there is little evidence remaining of the town walls.

Athlone Cathedral
Our bit - As Athlone is the largest town on the Shannon I've listed the pubs according to which side of the river they are on. The main part of Athlone is on the East side of the Shannon and all pubs here are on or around the main road which also contains many shops.

The Cathedral pictured here should really be on the West Athlone page as it is on the west bank of the Shannon , but the older part of the town is more photographic and the picture was taken from the east side, well that's my excuse anyway. The main reason there is so many pubs listed in Athlone is due to the fact we spend four nights, one in 1999 and three in 2000 when we picked up our boat from Athlone Cruisers at the Jolly Mariner Marina in 1999 and our Emerald Star from Portumna in 2000.



● Conlon's bar is in the main road. The small entrance leads to a long bar which opens up towards the back. The main bar is towards the back of place, which is somewhat unusual. There is also seating upstairs. Like many Irish pubs it was somewhat dimly lit. The pub also served food which appeared to be the standard kept warm at the bar type, we never tried the food here. This was the first pub we visited in Athlone and after slacking our thirst we carried on exploring Athlone.
Church Street, Athlone. Westmeath. Phone:+353 902 73078

September 1999

Gertie Browne

Gertie Browne ● Gertie Browne lies just off the main road near the bridge and is clearly visible from the traffic lights at the bridge. The bar looks as if it's always closed, but is actually very busy. On entering the bar you will notice that the wooden exterior is reflected inside, which gives the place a dark and somewhat gloomy atmosphere. The front bar was always crowded when we were there, however once past the first bar you find your self in a labyrinth of small rooms and cubby holes containing various seating arrangements. There was also meant to be a restaurant somewhere in the basement but as we were not eating there we never did find it. The place is extremely dimly lit, especially at the back as there are no external windows and gets very crowded (and noisy) at night.

There are several old prints and photographs scattered around the rooms including one of the largest pile of Guinness barrels I've ever seen.

All in all an interesting and unusual bar. Who Gertie Browne was (and why the backward R in the name) I do not know but I noticed that there appears to be a plaque on the outside of the bar in the photograph, which I did not notice until the film was developed.

Custom Place, Athlone, Co Westmeath. Tel: 0902 74848

June 2000

Kelly's Bar

Kelly's ● Kelly's bar is just beyond Conlon's. The bar did not appear to serve food and was not particularly busy when we arrived. The bar was near the front as you come in with several seating areas towards the back, but the place did look like it needed some work done on the interior
The bar seemed to be used by locals. Although there was nothing particularly wrong with the bar, there was nothing really memorable about the place. It was convenient and quiet, and there was nothing wrong with Guinness. There are however better bars in Athlone.
September 1999

North Gate Inn

The North Gate Inn ● The North Gate Inn is the first bar you'll see if you are leaving the marina. It is just beyond the marina's entrance with the main street being off to the left. The bar is also a restaurant but we never tried the food there. Unusually there is two separate bars with a small area just to the left as you enter and the main bar towards the back. As there was no sign of the restaurant I assume that it was upstairs with the balcony in the picture being used in good weather.
The whole place was quite but busy both times we visited it (as it was convenient for the marina) and the service was good, as was the beer.
June 2000

Jolly Mariner Marina

● Athlone Cruisers has its base here. We didn't try the pub / restaurant as it was closed when we arrived to pick up the boat. A bit off the beaten track (except for marina access).
Coosan Road, Athlone, Westmeath. Phone:+353 902 72113
September 1999

Other Athlone Bars or Bar/Restaurants not visited

We have not yet visited these places, and therefore any comments have been taken from the www, and are not by me. Click Here

Comments and additional material on the bars in this area are always welcome.
I can be contacted on Neil MacPherson.
Last Updated 26nd December 2004 - Neils Travel Web - Ireland - East Athlone - Pubs