County Westmeath (Irish: Contae na hIarmhí) is sometimes referred to as “The Lake County” due to the abundance of lakes, streams and other waterways in the county. Westmeath is the largest county by population in the midlands at 95,840.
Tourism in Westmeath is generally based on its many water amenities. The county lakes include Lough Derravaragh, Lough Ennell, Lough Owel, Lough Lene, Lough Sheelin and Lough Ree. Both the Grand Canal, and the Royal Canal flow through Westmeath, and the River Shannon (Ireland’s key tourism waterway) has a modern inland harbour in Athlone.
The Royal Canal Greenway provides a 130km walking and cycling trail from Maynooth to Cloondara where the Royal meets the Shannon. Nested within is the Mullingar Blueway, where you can explore a 23km paddling trail.
The Royal Canal is heaving with wildlife, and eagle-eyed nature watchers could be fortunate enough to spot herons, swans, otters, badgers and foxes amidst the restful waters and colourful hedgerows.This makes angling a very popular activity along the canal with all levels of experience finding excellent conditions.
To give you a sense of what Athlone has to offer, from delicious food to heritage.Travel writer Pol O Chongaile, best describes Athlone’s Left Bank, sandwiched between the Shannon and a broody Norman castle, “as a plum spot for a mosey, browsing quirky jewellery in the Bastion Gallery, checking out John’s Bookshop and Sean’s Bar (which claims to be the oldest in Ireland).Then it’s over to the Left Bank Bistro for a bowl of carrot and lentil soup”
Learn more about Westmeath on https://www.visitwestmeath.ie/