Cracking castles, historical houses, marvellous monasteries and so much more! Your Instagram followers will thank you for checking out the many picturesque places within easy reach of Wineport Lodge. Here’s a snapshot of what’s worth seeing:
800 years old, Athlone Castle has played a pivotal role in some of Ireland’s most historical events. Now it’s home to a fascinating visitors’ centre with outdoor picnic tables – bring a basket!
15 minutes from Wineport Lodge, Ballinahown is home to the renowned Celtic Roots Studio which creates stunning sculptures and jewellery from ancient bog wood. Peckish? This quaint village is also home to charming tearooms serving delicious soups, sandwiches, tartlets and quiches.
A beautiful Georgian house, gardens and park, Belvedere House offers spectacular views as well as the ‘Jealous Wall’. This is an 18th century folly built by Robert Rochfort to block views of his brother’s bigger, better house. Families, eh?…
It’s been home to the Parsons family for nearly 400 years and, in the 19th century, it also housed the world’s largest telescope. Today, Birr Castle boasts 50 hectares of beautiful gardens (including the world’s largest box hedges!) plus a Science Centre. This celebrates early photography, engineering and, of course, astronomy. Make a smart move and visit!
Founded in the sixth century and just 30 minutes from Wineport Lodge, the iconic monastery of Clonmacnoise is one of Ireland’s most revered historical sites. But when you drop in, be nice. Over the centuries, it’s had more than its share of unfriendly visitors: Vikings attacked it at least seven times and the Normans hammered it on more than six occasions. However, the worst offenders were the local Irish who clocked up more than 27 raids in medieval times!
Derryglad Folk Museum
Life’s changed a lot in Ireland. The Derryglad Folk Museum offers a glimpse into how things were before 4K TVs, smartphones and even electricity. Just 20 minutes from Wineport Lodge, this award winning museum contains over 7000 items recalling life in bygone Ireland.
Wine or whiskey? Two of Ireland’s most celebrated distilleries are within easy reach of Wineport Lodge and we’d definitely encourage a visit! Self-guided tours of the Kilbeggan and Tullamore distilleries offer a fascinating insight into the craft, care and lore associated with these iconic whiskey brands.
Dún na Sí Amenity & Heritage Park
People have lived in this area for thousands of years and Dún na Sí celebrates rural Ireland’s traditions, activities and biodiversity. Just 10 minutes from Wineport Lodge, it contains a beautifully reconstructed ringfort, farmhouse, cottages and blacksmith’s forge plus a pet farm and even a genealogy centre.
Hill of Uisneach
Definitely not to be myth-ed! The Hill of Uisneach played a leading role in some of ancient Ireland’s greatest myths including the Táin Bó Cuailgne (Cattle Raid of Cooley). Supposedly a gateway to Ireland’s mythical fifth province, a 30 tonne limestone boulder is said to mark the final resting place of the earth goddess, Ériu.
Lough Boora Discovery Park
Far from bog-standard, Lough Boora Discovery Park was a commercial bog in a previous life. It’s now been transformed into a family wonderland featuring walking and cycling trails, a fairy walk, huge stunning sculptures plus buggy and wheelchair-accessible picnic and play areas.
Located in a picture-perfect spot beside the Shannon, Athlone’s Luan Gallery showcases enthralling work from contemporary artists and is unmissable if art and culture fascinate you.