Friday, August 30, 2019

A Visit to Athlone Castle Visitor Centre With Kids, Co. Westmeath ♥

It's no secret that we love a good family day out and we love castles. Tyler especially loves castles. He's been going to them ever since he was a baby and he loves exploring them. He's visited certain castles so much that he's even turned into a right little tour guide any time we visit them, showing me around and explaining the different areas to me.

One castle, however, that he had never been to before but had the pleasure of visiting this week was Athlone Castle. Now, the castle isn't like your traditional castle. It's comprised of one round keep and a visitors centre, as the original castle was completely destroyed over the years - the original stone castle was built in 1210 and was destroyed during the Siege of Athlone in 1691, leaving it dilapidated. 

So, if you're looking to visit a castle in the traditional sense then this may not be the one for you, however, it's so interesting and filled with lots of history there that I think it's well worth the visit.

The castle part itself is a round room filled with items from a more recent era - think objects that would have been used by our grandparents and great-grandparents. It has different occupations features and objects linked to them. This was a great room for kids Tyler's age as he was able to see how things we now use everyday used to look when they were first invented - such as an old vacuum cleaner.

The visitors centre is a great building, with three floors of interactive and interesting exhibitions. This was a great place for the kids and even though Beau was extremely upset and off form during our visit (just one of those days with a three year old!), he still enjoyed the exhibitions where he was able to build his own castle, wind up the bow and arrow and play a game on a touch screen where you have to try and take over the castle.

We were shown around the castle and visitors centre by Aoife who was full of knowledge about the history of the castle and the Athlone area and who was great with the kids. She got Tyler involved in the exhibitions and it was great to see him taking part with her. He really enjoyed putting himself in the stocks and trying to pull the arrow back on the bow - which is extremely tough!

Aoife even let him put on an Anglo-Norman type hat (which was very heavy), lift a cannonball, etc. and explained everything to him. She was such a lovely lady and made our visit to Athlone Castle all the more enjoyable.

Athlone is steeped in history - more than I even knew before visiting and was the administrative centre of the notorious Cromwellian 'transplantation' policy, which Irish people will know as "to Hell or to Connacht". There are lots of figures, legends and stories all associated with Athlone and the castle itself and it's well worth a visit to learn about them and a bit more about Irish history.

I'm so glad we went as it's really reignited my love with history and it was great to see Tyler taking an interest too.

You can find out more about Athlone Castle Visitor Centre on their website and follow along their Instagram @athlonecastle for regular updates.

No comments

Post a Comment

Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment. I appreciate all your comments and try to reply whenever I can.

© Dolly Dowsie | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig