Things to do in Westmeath; Castles, Charming Towns, Stunning Lakes and More
Updated On: June 12, 2023
County Westmeath is located in the Midlands region of Ireland. This idyllic county offers a variety of attractions for visitors, from historical sites and beautiful landscapes to bustling towns and cultural experiences.
In this article, we’ll explore some of our favourite destinations to visit and things to do in Westmeath. The county is perfect for family trips, daycations and couple retreats, offering something exciting to suit every type of traveller.
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Things to do in Westmeath
Westmeath is full of amazing attractions and experiences. Check out our recommendations below and start listing your itinerary of things to do in Westmeath.
Athlone Castle is a historical site located in the town of Athlone, County Westmeath. Its picturesque setting overlooks the River Shannon and offers a 360-degree viewing platform at the top, providing panoramic views to admire. Athlone Castle is perfect for a family outing, with an onsite picnic area and children’s playground.
Today, Athlone Castle also operates as a museum, it was extensively renovated and reopened in 2012 with eight newly designed exhibition spaces that tell the story of the castle and the town of Athlone. The exhibitions use a mix of technology, models, and original artefacts to bring history to life, definitely one of the worthwhile things to do in Westmeath.
Lough Ree, also known as Lake of the Kings, is a large lake, situated in the River Shannon system, and bordered by three counties: Longford, Westmeath, and Roscommon. The Lough is a hub of activity and natural beauty and is popular for a wide range of water activities including sailing, angling, canoeing, and windsurfing.
You can also explore the several islands that are peppered throughout the Lough, the most notable of which are Inchcleraun (also known as Quaker Island), Inis Cloithreann, and Hare Island. Inchcleraun is home to the remains of several early Christian ecclesiastical sites and is a favourite destination for historians and archaeologists.
Belvedere House, Gardens and Park
Belvedere House, Gardens and Park is a magnificent 18th-century estate located near Mullingar in County Westmeath, Ireland. It’s spread over 160 acres of parkland on the shores of Lough Ennell and is considered one of Ireland’s most beautiful Georgian estates.
Visiting here must be at the top of your list of things to do in Westmeath, in addition to the wonderful woodlands and lakeside walks, you can also stroll through the Victorian Walled and explore the beautiful Victorian-style glasshouse.
The Jealous Wall is also within Belvedere House and is one of Ireland’s most famous follies. It was built by Robert Rochfort to block the view of his brother’s larger house, Tudenham Park and is a dramatic ruin designed to resemble a Gothic castle in ruin.
Looking for lively things to do in Westmeath? Then head to the bustling town of Mullingar, with its rich history, fantastic shopping opportunities, stunning landscapes and great dining scene, there is a lot you can get up to.
The town also has a vibrant music scene and is the hometown of several famous musicians, including Niall Horan and Joe Dolan. Stop by one of the many lively pubs and soak up the atmosphere of charming Mullingar.
This Benedictine Abbey ruins in Fore village offer a glimpse into the religious history of the region. Fore Abbey, or St. Fechin’s Abbey, was founded by St. Fechin in the 7th century and was once considered one of the most significant Benedictine monasteries in Ireland.
According to legend, the area is also associated with the ‘Seven Wonders of Fore’, which include miracles like water that won’t boil and a tree that won’t burn. These wonders highlight the area’s natural curiosities and the miracles attributed to St. Fechin.
Despite being in ruins today, the site emanates an atmosphere of peace and ancient serenity. The surrounding landscapes, including a serene lake and green woodland, add to the natural beauty and tranquil atmosphere of the site.
Hill of Uisneach
The Hill of Uisneach, located in County Westmeath, is one of the most sacred and historic sanctuaries in the world. According to Irish tradition, it is the symbolic centre of Ireland, where the island’s five provinces – Ulster, Munster, Leinster, Connacht, and Meath – meet.
The Hill of Uisneach, rising 182 metres above sea level, is steeped in mythology and folklore. It’s associated with several figures and events in Irish mythology, including the Tuatha Dé Danann, a supernatural race in Irish mythology, and the druid Mide, who is said to have divided the island into the provinces from this point.
From the hill, one can see panoramic views across the landscape of Ireland. The Hill of Uisneach is not only a place of outstanding natural beauty but is also a place where you can deeply connect with the ancient history and mythology of Ireland.
Lilliput Adventure Centre
The Lilliput Adventure Centre is a popular outdoor activity and adventure facility located on the shores of Lough Ennell, near Mullingar. This outdoor education and training centre offers a wide range of activities that are great for family activities, couple’s dates and even solo adventurers
There are a lot of exciting things you can get up to here, including water activities such as kayaking, canoeing, and raft-building in addition to land-based activities like orienteering, bushcraft survival skills, archery, mountain biking, and rock climbing. The surrounding area is also perfect for leisurely walks, and nature lovers can enjoy the beautiful lake views and local wildlife.
Things to do in Westmeath for Adults
On a trip without the kids? If so, check out Locke’s Distillery and explore the Irish tradition of making Irish whiskey.
Locke’s Distillery, also known as Kilbeggan Distillery, is the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland. It is located in the town of Kilbeggan and was established in 1757. Visit here and explore the fascinating history that spans over 260 years.
Visitors can take a guided tour to learn about the history of the site and the process of making Irish whiskey. The tour includes a visit to the old mash tuns and fermenters, the old waterwheel which once powered the whole distillery, and the warehouses where the whiskey matures in oak casks. You’ll also see the traditional copper pot stills which are still in use.
Locke’s Distillery is not just a place to learn about the process of making whiskey; it’s a chance to step back in time and discover the rich history of whiskey production in Ireland.
Want to Explore More of the Emerald Isle?
Check out these articles for more inspiring destinations across Ireland: Things to do in Mayo | Things to do in Antrim | Things to do in Derry | Things to do in Fermanagh | Things to do in Armagh | Things to do in County Down | Things to do in Monaghan | Things to do in Roscommon | Things to do in Northern Ireland for Couples | Things to do in Donegal | Things to do in Sligo | Things to do in Leitrim | Things to do in Louth | Things to do in Cavan | Things to do in Longford | Things to do in Meath | Things to do in Galway | Things to do in Dublin.