We have a special mention to make this week as Grenham Travel in Athlone is celebrating its 110th anniversary. Founded in May 1911 by John Grenham, the business was run by Tommy Grenham from the mid-1950s and is now in the hands of daughters Marie and Pauline. The travel agency is on the same site on Connaught Street since. We wish them all the best for many more years in the business.
I asked Marie and Pauline to tell ITTN what is so special about Athlone. They came up with some great ideas of why you should visit the Heartlands of Ireland. There is a welcome to all their friends in the travel industry.
Grenham’s shop is located in the Left Bank area of Athlone, this part of the town is renowned for its history and Old World ambiance. The area has seen interesting social, cultural, and economic changes over the centuries.
Athlone Castle has stood on this site since 1210 and was built for King John. The castle had an extensive renovation and reopened to the public in 2012. It now has eight exhibition spaces that tell the story of the castle, the kings and the battles fought here.
The Luan Gallery near the castle is an impressive modern building that showcases local and national artists. The current exhibition is Percept by Colm Mac Athlaoich until July 11, 2021.
No visit to Athlone is complete without having a drink in Sean’s Bar, reputed to be the oldest bar in Europe never mind Ireland. Seans’s will hopefully open again soon and you will be guaranteed a great night here. It is a pub with two entrances, from the docks and the castle side.
Athlone has a real international feel with restaurants serving Italian, Thai, Lebanese, Indian, Organic, and traditional Irish food.
A number of famous people lived in Athlone and they include the renowned tenor John McCormack. Writer John Broderick’s parents had a bakery in Athlone where he was born. The writer Hannah Greally lived on the Left Bank circuit too.
The circuit ends at St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church and is the place to take a cruise on the Shannon to Lough Ree or why not try the Viking experience. A cruise in a replica Viking Ship, is lots of fun.
In the Athlone area, a visit to the monastic site at Clonmacnoise is interesting. It was the home of Irish Christianity and learning. From here monks travelled the world bringing religion and learning to many.
See Athlone.ie for tourism information