Athlone is a town that lies on the River Shannon near the southern extremity of Lough Ree, Ireland. Athlone is located close to the geographical centre of Ireland, on the border of two counties,Roscommon and Westmeath. Although the River Shannon, which runs through the town, forms the historic border between County Roscommon and County Westmeath, the Local Government Act of 1898 designated most of the town as belonging to Westmeath, including areas west of the river.
The River Shannon runs through Athlone and the town is a popular spot for people passing through on pleasure craft, many of whom stop off at the Marinas. Lough Ree, the largest lake on the Shannon, is a short distance upstream from Athlone to the North of the town, and is popular among anglers, birdwatchers, and swimmers. The lake shore is easily accessed from Coosan Point, and Hodson Bay.
Athlone is the main retail centre in the Midlands, and The Golden Island Shopping Centre attracts shoppers from a wide radius. The Athlone Town Centre comprises two internal streets, with 54 shops and a hotel, and is the largest shopping and leisure centre in Ireland, outside Dublin. Athlone also has a vibrant town centre extending from Church street to Sean Costello street. Athlone Regional Sports Centre is a facility developed by the Town Council.
Sean's Bar, located on the west bank of the river, is listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest pub in Europe and is renowned for a great pint of Guinness.
Other popular attractions for visitors are the Glendeer Open Farm and the Viking Cruise of the Shannon. The town's tourist office is located at Athlone Castle, in the town centre.