Athlone News

Westmeath Culture Night 2014

Atrium Concert by the Midlands Youth Orchestra
Atrium Concert by the Midlands Youth Orchestra

Westmeath’s cultural communities and spaces are gearing up to open their doors, illustrate their artistic practices and welcome new audiences on Culture Night 2014.

The end of September is an important landmark in the cultural calendar. Unless you have been hiding under a rock the last few years audiences will know that all the cultural spaces and places around the county fling open their doors and invite the public to come in (for free) and experience the talent that resides on their doorstep.

Last year Westmeath had a staggering 55 events around the county. These ranged from yarn bombing Joe Dolan in the market square of Mullingar to scheduled tours of Athlone’s new Luan Gallery. Westmeath Arts Officer Miriam Mulrennan says of Culture Night, “it’s a day and night with so many perspectives, there is the lens of the new audience, people who have not perhaps been in the venues on their doorstep – and this is an invitation to remedy that. It is also about a ground-up day and night of cultural experiences. By this I mean that many of the events are organised directly by the arts community themselves, musicians, writers, dancers, visual artists – organise events, workshops, exhibitions, and in doing so showcase their work in a way that is not always visible”.

Hannah Tyrrell of the Mullingar Harp School at the last Culture Night Launch
Hannah Tyrrell of the Mullingar Harp School at the last Culture Night Launch

Westmeath Culture Night will feature Irish Midlands Youth Orchestra in the impressive Atrium space of the County Buildings, and the event is free on a walk-in basis. Local venues and cultural spaces will be advertising their own unique events via their own websites and social media. If you have an event in mind or would like to make it into the Culture Night 2014 brochure, there is still time to contact the arts office in Westmeath on

Bressie finally get gold at HSE Community Games Launch

Bressie is pictured with Lily O’Connor, left and Lucy Connaughton, both from Mount Temple, Baylin, Co. Westmeath, at the launch of the HSE Community Games 2014.

Bressie is pictured with Lily O’Connor, left and Lucy Connaughton, both from Mount Temple, Baylin, Co. Westmeath, at the launch of the HSE Community Games 2014.
photo: Paul Mohan/SPORTSFILE

With  Athlone Castle as the setting, the HSE Community Games launched their 2014 Festival on 22nd July with the help of former participant and fitness ambassador Bressie (Niall Breslin).

Gerard Davenport, President of Community Games, presented Bressie with a Community Games Gold medal to reward him for all he has done over the years in encouraging people to be more active in their daily lives and also for helping to put the spotlight on mental health.

Mr Davenport said on the day that Community Games were looking forward to a spectacular festival in August and that all participants could look up to Bressie as a role model in promoting healthy living throughout their lives.

Speaking at the event Niall said:

“When I took part in the Community Games I loved the feeling of representing my local town and area and it always gave me such motivation to do well. I was a competitive young fella!”

He also gave some great tips to the young participants on how best to keep active:

“Find a sport you love. There are so many sports and just because your friends may love rugby or soccer you don't have to play it. Life is too short to do something you don't enjoy and when there is so much choice there is no reason to not give everything a shot.”

With such focus on finding the right balance in life, Niall spoke about the link between physical activity, eating well and feeling good about yourself.

“As you grow older this link becomes much clearer. Sport has a profound impact on your mental health and when you are happy in body and mind, you have more confidence and this all filters down into your private and professional life.”

“Sport has a profound impact on your mental health and when you are happy in body and mind, you have more confidence”

The HSE Community Games has teamed up this year with Healthy Ireland, the new national initiative that is promoting health and wellbeing throughout the country.  Dr. Cate Hartigan from the HSE today said, "We are delighted to support the Community Games in 2014, and to make it part of our Healthy Ireland programme. Encouraging more children, families and communities to be active, and to see the enormous benefits that this can bring, is one of the most important changes that we all want to see in Ireland. On top of that, the community participation and volunteerism that is an essential part of Community Games adds to our shared wellbeing in towns and villages nationwide.  Well done to everyone involved and we're looking forward to this year's festival."

This year has been a very busy year for the 600 areas involved in HSE Community Games - there will be over 8,000 children from all over Ireland participating over 2 weekends in August (15th to 17th and 22nd to 24th) in Athlone IT.

The HSE Community Games festival will take place  in Athlone Institute of Technology, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, over 2 weekends in August:

National Festival Weekend 1: 15th – 17th August 2014

National Festival Weekend 2: 22nd – 24th August 2014

For a List of Events and the weekends they are on please visit the Community Games website

Ireland’s largest inflatable water park now Open at Baysports!

Waterpark at Baysports
Baysports is a water adventure centre on the shores of the majestic Lough Ree. Located only five minutes from Athlone on the N61 the purpose built centre is an ideal location for all types of outdoor fun activity.

The centre is constantly adding to its range of activities and equipment and this summer saw the launch of Ireland’s largest inflatable water park for even more water based adventure fun.  Covering an area of 1400sq meters this new floating water park is a major attraction in the region and provides hours of fun for both children and adults alike.

€10 under 15
€15 Adult
€45 Family (two Adults and up to three children)

Baysports, Hodson Bay Boat Training and Watersports Centre,
Hodson Bay, Athlone, Co. Roscommon.
Tel: 090 6494801

Destination Athlone launches new brand campaign to support local tourism drive

Kathleen Shine, Tanya Flynn, Grainne Cornally from the Destination Athlone Marketing Team
Kathleen Shine, Tanya Flynn, Grainne Cornally from the Destination Athlone Marketing Team celebrate the launch of new brand campaign to support local tourism drive to Athlone and lakelands.

Destination Athlone has launched a new creative advertising campaign to encourage visitors to consider Athlone, Lough Ree and the surrounding area for their summer break. Supported by a number of tourism offerings in the area including hotels, Westmeath County Council, as well asFailté Ireland, the campaign focuses on Athlone being at the very heart of Ireland and offering a wealth of quality experiences for both domestic and international visitors.

The nationwide advertising campaign, including print and radio ads, will run throughout the summer months to coincide with key holiday planning occasions.
A ‘brand book’ has also been developed as a guide for tourism businesses in the area to help them to maximise benefit from the overarching, Destination Athlone brand.
Grainne Cornally, of the Destination Athlone Marketing Team said, “Athlone and its environs offers visitors an impressive range of uniquely rewarding experiences. By working together as one coherent brand, all of us involved in the local tourism sector can deliver experiences that will compel visitors to return again and again, as well as encourage them to recommend the Athlone area to their family and friends. By working together and considering how our individual businesses, policies and communications can support the Destination Athlone brand, we have the potential to make our local area one of the top visitor locations in Ireland.”

Pat Keating, Athlone Municipal District Manager, Westmeath County Council said, “Westmeath County Council is delighted to work with various stakeholders in the town to develop Athlone as a quality tourist destination. We have undergone much work this year and now have a framework in place thanks to the support of Failte Ireland that will guide us in the business of tourism about what’s important for our visitors to understand, appreciate, enjoy and experience about this part of Ireland and the world. It has guided us in determining what we need to do collectively to ensure that the experience visitors have of Athlone is positive and compelling. Today’s launch of the 'Athlone at the Heart of It’ national media campaign and new destination website is the beginning of the telling of the story of Athlone to existing and hopefully many new visitors to Athlone & environs.”

The campaign invites those considering a staycation to ‘sail with the Vikings, kayak wild shores, hit a hole in one..climb high towers…be king of the castle, be queen of shops’ – reminding potential visitors about the rich array of experiences that awaits them including sports and culture, art and heritage, food and drink, beautiful scenery and a natural, unspoilt environment.

“Athlone and the surrounding area has so much to offer – both bustling urban and tranquil rural locations including rivers, lakes, bogs and beautiful woodland, all waiting to be explored. This campaign will remind those planning a staycation that when in Athlone they will be at the centre of everything from sports and recreation to a wealth of cultural and historical experiences – it’s an invitation to come and be ‘at the heart of it,’ ” added Tanya Flynn of the Destination Athlone Marketing Team.

Athlone, one of Ireland's 7 Prettiest Towns!

View of the Rivr Shannon, Athlone Castle, Church of Ss Peter and Paul and Town Bridge inn Athlone

Athlone was recently mentioned as one of Ireland’s prettiest towns by Frommer's

Sitting at the edge of the River Shannon, its streets curving around a sturdy, fortress-like castle, Athlone is a charmer…