Welcome to County Westmeath Hotels Guide
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Situated in the western half of the Irish Midlands, the charming county of Westmeath is home to an endless array of panoramic vistas and natural beauty spots around every corner, particularly in and around Goldsmith Country in the west of the county. Renowned for its beef farming and its rich, fertile pastures, Westmeath has a modest selection of places of historical and cultural interests waiting to be explored as well as offering the discerning traveller a superb choice of restaurants serving prime quality beef from the county.
The county town of Athlone is the gateway the enchanting West of Ireland, nestling in the very southwest corner of Westmeath. In spite of its small size, the town has a vibrant and welcoming ambience that is apparent in its pubs and shops that align the main street. Visitors can purchase a host of handcrafts and artwork at the various workshops and galleries dotted around Athlone or visit the imposing Norman Castle and Athlone Museum exhibiting a host of artefacts that one belonged to Ireland's great tenors, John McCormack who was born in the town. Straddling the banks of the majestic River Shannon, Athlone is a superb location to embark on Shannon River Cruises during the summer months.
Several miles northeast of Athlone along the main route through Westmeath to County Longford, Goldsmith Country, named in honour of 18th Century Irish poet and playwright Oliver Goldsmith is certainly worth discovering during your visit and best explored by bicycle. A vast network of cycle routes criss-cross this area of outstanding natural beauty interspersed with picture postcard villages such as Glasson and Ballykeeran near the banks of Lough Ree. In the east of this county of gentle terrain, Lough Ennell, Owel and Derravaragh are equally as popular for leisure persuits such as rambling,fishing and course angling and equally as picturesque as Lough Ree, an invigorating vacation spot.
County Westmeath has a modest selection of interesting attractions at various locations in the county from the large town of Mullingar to the rural setting of Tullynally Castle near Lough Derravaragh. In the small town of Doon, The An Dun Transport and Heritage Museum has an exquisite display of classic cars and trucks, immaculately restored to their former glory. Wander around and capture the essence of times past where the exhibits of horse drawn machinery and pre-war implements are demonstrated by engaging audio-visual presentations and live demonstrations. A must-see attraction in Westmeath is Locke's Distillery Museum where you can tour the around the restored whiskey distillery and be enchanted by the various processes deployed from grain grinding to fermentation and casking. Traditional methods have been preserved at Locke's Distillery where there is a water wheel and sluice gates in full operation.
Nearby Locke's Distillery is the largest of Westmeath's towns, Mullingar, located in the east of the county and within reasonable commuting distance from Dublin, some 80 kilometres to the east. With the Royal Canal navigating its course from Dublin Docks through the town on its way to the River Shannon in the west, Mullingar is a popular spot for pleasure craft and barges touring up and down the canal and is surrounded by a preserved bog and fine fishing lakes for outdoor aficionados.
Accredited for its pewterware, visitors can watch craftsmen at the Mullingar Bronze and Pewter Visitors Centre transforming the silvery metal into spectacular objets d'art and home ware, available for purchase in the craftshop. The town also boasts an extensive selection of pubs, eateries and restaurants serving anything from traditional Irish to Tandoori as well as host of a bed and breakfasts and hotels suitable for weekend and mid week breaks in this magnificent rural county in the Irish Midlands. Whatever interests and past-times you enjoy, you will be inspired with what Westmeath has on its doorstep, from beautiful fresh water loughs to a wholesome feast of Irish cuisine and Whiskeys to savour.
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