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The ease of access to watersports is just one of the things that makes County Westmeath so appealing. Its location also makes it excellently placed for exploring the rest of the country, and towns such as Athlone, Mullingar, Delvin, Kilbeggan and Finnea offer much to explore in terms of culture, history and entertainment.
Although surrounded by rich rural landscapes and natural beauty, County Westmeath is still only 61 miles away from Dublin Airport. With over 50 different airlines serving 175 European and international destinations, and flights landing and taking off every day of the year except Christmas day, Dublin Airport offers a gateway to County Westmeath from the rest of the world.
Once you’ve landed at the airport, the heart of the county is just an hour and 10 minutes away by road.
If you’re interested in history, architecture, then two of the historical gardens in the county are sure to delight. Belvedere House and Gardens, located close to the shores of Lough Ennell, off the N52, is a beautifully restored Georgian villa set in 160 acres of parkland. As well as the beauty of the house and gardens themselves, Belvedere stages events throughout the year, including weekend music festivals, open air theatre performances and special events to mark Christmas and Halloween.
Tullynally Castle and Gardens is located in rural splendour between Lough Derravaragh and Lough Leane. It was built in the 17th century and is home to the Pakenham family to this very day. As well as the chance to admire the buildings and grounds, a visit to the castle includes a tour of a unique collection of historic artworks and furniture and a genuine Victorian kitchen and gardens.
Unlike most castles, Tullynally also has its own distillery, the Lockes Distillery Museum. This produced whiskey between 1757 and 1957, and is thought to be the oldest of its kind in the world.
The Athlone Agri Show and Festival takes place every June in Athlone and is, ostensibly, a chance to learn something about the place that agriculture and farming occupies in Irish life. It is a lot more fun than it sounds, however; as well as the livestock on display, you can enjoy pony rides, watch show jumping, peruse traditional Irish arts and crafts, take a ride at the funfair and tuck into some delicious, freshly prepared food and drink.
If you want to soak up some of the culture for which Ireland is famed, then look out for the RTE All Ireland Drama Festival, which takes place in Athlone at the end of April and the first week of May. This celebration of amateur dramatics groups brings together companies from all over Ireland to battle it out for the grand prize. The plays on offer are augmented by performances of music, dancing, poetry and dance.
This family-friendly Athlone hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Athlone Towncentre, Rose Island and Luan Gallery. Athlone Castle and St. Peter and Paul's Church are also within 10 minutes.
Situated in Athlone, this hotel is 2.4 mi (3.9 km) from Luan Gallery.
Located in Mullingar, this family-friendly hotel is 1.8 mi (2.9 km) from Mullingar Arts Centre, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Mullingar Equestrian Centre and Belvedere House Gardens and Parks. Mullingar Golf Club and Mullingar Sailing Club are also within 6 miles (10 km).
Located in the heart of Athlone, this bed & breakfast is within a 10-minute walk of Athlone Towncentre, Rose Island and Luan Gallery. Athlone Castle and St. Peter and Paul's Church are also within 15 minutes.
This family-friendly Mullingar hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Mullingar Golf Club and Belvedere House Gardens and Parks. Mullingar Equestrian Centre and Mullingar Arts Centre are also within 3 miles (5 km).
Located in Glasson, this golf hotel is within 9 miles (15 km) of Krazy Kids Fun Factory, Athlone Institute of Technology and Athlone Towncentre. Mount Temple Golf Club and Luan Gallery are also within 9 miles (15 km).
Situated in Mullingar, this guesthouse is 1.9 mi (3.1 km) from Mullingar Arts Centre and within 6 miles (10 km) of Mullingar Equestrian Centre and Mullingar Golf Club. Belvedere House Gardens and Parks and Mullingar Sailing Club are also within 6 miles (10 km).
Situated in Athlone, this boutique guesthouse is 2.9 mi (4.7 km) from Krazy Kids Fun Factory and within 6 miles (10 km) of Athlone Institute of Technology and Athlone Towncentre. Luan Gallery and Rose Island are also within 6 miles (10 km).