6 Things to Do in Athenry That You Shouldn't Miss

December 31, 2017 Myesha Cogley

Athenry (/æθənˈraɪ/; Irish: Baile Átha an Rí, meaning "Town of the Ford of the King") is a town in County Galway, Ireland, which lies 25 kilometres (16 mi) east of Galway city. Some of the attractions of the medieval town are its town wall, Athenry Castle, its priory and its 13th century Anglo-Norman street-plan. The town is also well known by virtue of the song "The Fields of Athenry".
Restaurants in Athenry

1. Athenry Heritage Centre

St. Mary's | The Square, Athenry, Ireland +353 91 844 661
Excellent
74%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 87 reviews

Athenry Heritage Centre

The award winning Heritage Centre is the ideal place to discover history the fun way. The centre’s ‘Medieval Experience’ provides visitors of all ages the opportunity to be part of history with its medieval costumes. Become a Knight, Lord and Lady of the Manor. Discover your inner Robin Hood with the centre’s Have-A-Go Archery activity and engage with history with interactive exhibits of weapons and armor from the Middle Ages. Other exhibits include the medieval dungeon, the Market Street and models of this ancient walled town. Relax in the picnic area and explore the medieval maze too. The centre is also the home of the towns original Mace & Seal, the oldest of their kind in Ireland. Guided tours are available for all visitors to the centre. Discover the best-preserved medieval town in Ireland and visit a place immortalized by the song ‘The Fields of Athenry’ as a town rich in history and culture.

Reviewed By 309ilonam - Athlone, Ireland

We visited Athenry during heritage week in Ireland and we had a great time there even with rain lashing practically all day. Heritage centre organized puppet shows on that day. My kids were not keen to go at first but i haven't seen puppet show since childhood so the kids gave in and did it for me. As a result we all enjoyed it. What struck me most was such a sincere kindness and friendliness from all workers and organizers in heritage centre. We loved the place and definitely will come back.

2. Athenry Castle

Athenry, Athenry, Ireland +353 91 844 797
Excellent
48%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
1%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 76 reviews

Athenry Castle

Reviewed By westerntravelerah - County Galway, Ireland

We visited the Athenry Castle last week. It is well worth a visit. First we viewed the video which ran for about 20 minutes and this was very informative and interesting. It provided a historical prespective on this medieval castle and went on to give information of other Castles and historical sites in the Galway Region. The caslte is very well maintained. Close by there is an interesting abbey and this is worth seeing.

3. J Glynn's Pub

Old Church Street, Athenry, Ireland +353 91 845 597
Excellent
95%
Good
5%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 17 reviews

J Glynn's Pub

Reviewed By Rcahill

Commonly known as "Bridgie Glynns" or "Small Glynns", this has been my local for many years. The pub has great character, conversation, staff and the clientele aren't bad either! Visitors are made welcome by the friendly bar staff and the locals alike and impromptu music can occur should someone have the talent to make use of the guitar.

4. Dowlings Pub

North Gate Street, Athenry H65 K540, Ireland +353 87 288 7128
Excellent
67%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 12 reviews

Dowlings Pub

Reviewed By Barry F

Dowlings has what can only be described as an absolutely fantastic pint. Very friendly staff in a beautiful setting. A well finished pub it's a great spot for a quiet pint or a night out. Its a credit to the owners. Cannot recommend it enough.

5. Dunsandle Castle and Woods

Kiltullagh, Athenry, Athenry, Ireland +353 91 503 865
Excellent
56%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
0%
Terrible
11%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 9 reviews

Dunsandle Castle and Woods

Reviewed By bogland - Galway Ireland

Restored over a ten year period, under the direction of renowned architect, David Newman Johnson, Dunsandle Castle is a little known treasure that is waiting to be discovered. From the minute I wound my way through the ancient woodland I knew that I was in for something entirely special and unique. My fourteen year son, initially a reluctant companion, followed behind me as we walked along a rustic tree lined pathway that leads from the parking lot to the castle proper. This can be a spiritual moment, at least it was for me, as I paused to comment that the only sound to be heard was the rustle of leaves in the enormous beech trees. The light is fantastic.
Sabine, the tour guide, whose enthusiasm was catching, met us at the door like long lost relatives who journeyed there in an attempt to rediscover our roots. The
Castle lacks any commercial feel to it. There are no trinkets for sale, nothing to detract from the raw history that Dunsandle exudes. For a nominal fee, we were invited to enter a forgotten world, one that is presented in an honest and, I might add, challenging fashion at times.
Built in the 15th century by the de Burgo family, the walls are five feet thick. For some strange reason the entire building reminded me of an Escher print, with its tiny alcoves and rooms branching off in all directions. The characteristics of a castle built in this period are complete and authentic. We began our tour in the Cellar Room, where it is believed cattle were sheltered at night, to ward off the likelihood of theft. Sabine told us that as the cattle were the only currency back then, that men would rather kil their wives than the treasured livestock. Lime washed walls bring some light into the building now, an arduous process that took the staff many hours to aply and three days to dry, fair weather permitting. The Murder Hall, just inside the main door, deterred unwanted visitors, as arrows rang down on them from the Murder Hole overhead. The Garderobe (the toilet) is where clothes were hung up, to take advantage of the ammonia in the air. Ammonia was vital in the eradication of body lice and moths that favoured and often destroyed the few garments the residents possessed. The Groin Vault is what ties the building together and is a unique feature to Irish Castles. Again, this room is beautifully restored and has a tactile quality to it. It felt like I was standing inside a huge beehive! A wood stove glowed with turf and was a welcome feature in the room. I also noticed how my son was actually having a wonderful time, asking all kinds of questions, and not a computer screen or console in sight.
We reached the piece de resistance at the top of the Castle. According to the guide, the usual term Great Hall is not appropriate here, as there was nothing glamorous or comfortable about life in this room. The family slept on the floor and lit a fire in the centre of the room. Today, wood crackles in yet another stove. A green oak ceiling, based on a similar one in Dunshaughlin Castle is stunning and has been created with the use of a single nail.
It is here too that you will be surprised to discover the Oubliette. From the French, Oublier, to forget, this chamber is also referred to as ''the place of the forgotten''/ This area of the Castle remains a mystery to date. It is a chilling experience to peer down into the dark, dungeon-like quarters, where, it is speculated that family members who were thought to be suffering from mental challenges were banished once their designated daily chores were complete. Another possibility is that the chamber was used to hold hostages for ransom. A hive of bees have claimed the Oubliette at present, so it is not permissible to enter the area. I don't think I would have either way although my son seemed eager to investigate! But this is precisely the appeal of Dunsandle Castle. Nothing is compromised. All is respected.
The Ice House is another must see and again, its function is not clear. Oyster shells were discovered when work began on the restoration and one guess, is that the ice was necessary to transport the shell fish out from Galway.
Dunsandle Castle left me with a sense of wonder. It is definitely worth a visit. My son and I came away with many questions that may never be answered. After spending three hours lost in history we reluctantly joined the N6 Highway to drive the short distance back to Galway City. Our heads were still in another time, the one we had left behind. My son told me that he had learned far more than any History lesson in school. Such was his enthusiasm that he announced that he wanted to write about it. I impressed on him to do just that because we can't forget the past. After all, it's where we come from and ironically, where we are heading.

6. Elegance Boutique

Cross Street, Athenry, Ireland

Curvy Elegance Boutique is an up to date plus size lady's fashion store in the heart of Athenry next to our sister store Elegance Boutique. We cater for sizes 16 to 26. If you are looking for something dressy or just for a casual night out come and visit us and we will insure you look Elegant and smart.

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