Centre yourself with an amazing Athlone staycation

by Patrick Finnegan

Staycations are becoming ever more popular and a recent visit to Athlone, situated in the dead centre of the country, did not disappoint.

The Radisson Blu Hotel in the town was my base for two nights and I was thoroughly impressed by the professional and friendly service that greeted me.

I also discovered that Athlone and the general Midlands area is steeped in stories and myths of our rich ancient history and culture, dating back to our Viking cousins, and beyond.

Located right on the shores of Ireland’s mightiest river, this 4-star hotel with its beautiful riverside views creates an immediate impression.

The hotel takes full advantage of its wonderful location and the wide majestic Shannon, the marina and the imposing St Peter and Paul’s Church, as well as Athlone Castle, together give a distinctly continental feel to the area.

The hotel’s elegant Elements restaurant is a cosy, intimate space to enjoy the top-class cuisine that was on offer.

Just for good measure, the hotel also has a very impressive indoor heated pool at Synergy Health & Leisure centre, as well as a sauna and steam room.

General manager, Fergus O’Donovan, said that the building of the hotel only commenced in 2002 and opened to the public in 2004, having previously been the site of the Athlone Woollen Mills.

The Mill was destroyed by fire and the hotel’s management are keenly aware of the rich history of the town and they encourage guests to partake in exploring the stunning scenery and rich history of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands with their Discover the Midlands package.

I was brought on a tour of the hotel’s corridors, which was effectively a walking tour of Athlone’s rich history.

Walls on both sides had sketches and drawings depicting more than 500 years of local history, and is something that management are immensely proud of.

All in all, my visit to the Radisson Blu hotel was an unexpected bonus and one that I intend to repeat.

The stunning location, the quality of the food, the excellent accommodation, the friendliness and professional approach of management and staff, all contributed to a very enjoyable and memorable stay.

For information on the Discover the Midlands package – valid until March 31 – call 090 644 2600, or see www.radathlone.com.

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