Christmas is truly magical in Athlone and this year there’s something really special in the air as you can see from this seasonal video. It’s just the best place for Christmas shopping with everything just around the corner from big brand shopping to specialist shops, Santa’s Grotto and the Christmas Market. Where else has two fabulous shopping centres just minutes from the traditional high street and Aladdin’s Cave of locally owned shops.
The brand new Christmas lights twinkle and sparkle from the medieval castle all the way across the bridge to Count John McCormack Square hosting the festive Christmas Market from Saturday 14th to Sunday 22nd December. Santa arrives on Sunday 22nd so make sure you come along to welcome him to town.
Inviting shop windows showcase gifts to suit every pocket. Café and restaurant menus are rich in festive fare with all the favourites including of course mince pies and Christmas pudding. Cosy pubs offer respite for weary feet promising the warmth open fires and a hot toddy or two. Best of all Athlone has lots of easy parking (free in council cark parks too from 17-24th Dec) and places to stay right in the heart of everything.
If you’re looking for an early Christmas Market, check out Dead Centre Brewing who have their own special craft market on Sunday 8th December with twelve stalls of local craft produce. It runs from 12.30-5pm.
Crafty kids should take note that the Luan Gallery hosts a Santa Hat and Christmas Decoration Making Workshop on Saturday 30th November. What a wonderful way to bring originality to festive decorations. This magical workshop is suitable for children aged 4- 12 years and costs just €10 pe child. It’s divided into two age groups; the 4- 7 years are from 12 noon – 1.15 pm and 8- 12 years from 2 – 3.15 pm. Booking and pre- payment required, contact the Luan Gallery on 090 6442154.
Santa is busy these days and he’s making a special appearance at Athlone Castle on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th December – and he’s bringing Mrs Claus with him. She’ll be enjoying festive storytelling with all the children while Santa is busy getting his photo taken with everyone and giving out Christmas gifts to all. There’s a chance to explore the Castle visitor centre and create some Christmas crafts too. It’s a busy day for everyone. Tickets are €10 per child, €4 per adult and kids under 2 are free. Family deals are available. Pre-book on 090 6442130.
Sean’s Bar has something special for rather more adult taste buds – gift packs of their very own Irish Whiskey plus Sean’s Bar handmade chocolate truffles as well. Mmmm.