Close to Galway City
None that I came across
worth a day trip from galway
A short walk from the Priory is Market square where stands this unique 15th c monument, deemed a "cross" as it depicts the crucifixion scene, but looks more like a heap of rubble with the scene on top. Standing some 2.5 metres high this was where the market traders made their deals. Here is a link to a very good description of the cross, which...more
Founded also around the same time as the castle just acros the park, Athenry Priory is the last home to Meiler de Bermingham, the Baron of Athenry who died in battle at Cashel and his body brought back and buried inside near the altar. The Priory was not finished before 1261 but suffered a fire in 1423 Reconstruction began almost straight away but...more
Built by Meiler de Bermingham at the ford on the Clareen river, from where Athenry gets its name, the castle is one of the finest examples of 13th c tower houses or keeps in the country. It took two hundred years to get round to lifting it it to its present four stories including the attic surround by square type battlements more reminiscent of the...more
Based right in the middle of town in an abandoned church is a museum / heritage centre looking at the history of Athenry. (there is also an entrance opposite Athenry castle)It's not spectacular but there is a good range of explanatory boards and models.I was also quite impressed with the churchyard around the heritage centre which features some...more
I set out the other day to spend a few hours in Athenry, it's always a town I had liked the look of, but never had the time to explore.First stop was obviously the quite impressive three-story Norman castle built by Meiler de Bermingham, who was granted much of the lands of Connaught in 1235. Following an attack on the castle in 1316, town walls...more
The complex of holy buildings known as 'Our Lady's well' is just out of the town, about a mile away and well signposted.This place has been a site of pilgrimage for hundreds of years followinng an appearance of the Virgin Mary to defeated soldiers following the second battle of Athenry on 15th August 1249. These days the feast days draws a few...more
Athenry has generally regarded as one of the finest 'walled' town built in Ireland. Most of the walls and towers lay in various states of decay.The North gate however still stands proud and as you exit the town the road drives straight through the structure. The tower also features a good example of a 'murder hole' aboove the gate.I quite like this...more
The market cross, right in the middle of the town, is apparantly unique in Ireland for two reasons. Firstly it has not been moved since it was erected in the 15th century and secondly it is a 'lantern' type structure (more common in the UK) rather than more common 'Celtic Cross'. In it's shadow many thousands of business deals have been struck with...more
The ruined abbey is just across the road from the castle and grounds in Athenry, and was founded in 1241 by Meiler de Bermingham - the same bloke who built the castle. I guess planning permission was more easily gained in those days. The place burned down in 1423, it was re-built with a central tower and the present northern doorway. Restored...more
Pleasant pub, good reasonably-priced food (soup is home-made). Guinness good too. Smoking area outside (with heaters).
While in Athenry I found that there was no shortage of pubs. We visited a few but the Hop Inn was my favorite. We met some great locals and while I'm on that subject Athenry lacks tourists.
We however did meet an American that had arrived 6 months before to search for his family roots and never left.
Dress Code: Dress nice casual. No sneakers or torn clothing. Look like a respectable citizen.
Athenry usefully lies on the main Dublin (Hueston) to Galway main line.There are currently about half a dozen trains a day each way and all stop by Athenry.This frequency is likely to increase in the next few years as the line is being upgraded and a commuter service is going to be introduced between Athenry and Galway - sometime.UPDATE 2010 : a...more
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In Ireland hot water is set-up a little different than I'm used to in the states. Where we stayed in Athenry they had an electric shower There was a switch on the ceiling next to the shower. You pulled the string and it turned the switch to on. You must do this to get hot water. If you don't the water will be cold. After a couple times you do it...more
Athenry train station is one of those places that looks as if it has been preserved as a 'museum' , but just has had zero investment for so long it feels that old.The wooden canopies on both sides give in a 'picture postcard' feel and there are a number of old photographs of the place hanging around as well.Update 2010 : new footbridge rather...more
Look at the market cross............it's in the market square. It's unusual, because it has a depiction of the crucifixion. Apparently, it's the only one like this apart from on the Continent. Sadly, it's in poor condition and, perhaps, needs removing and conserving before it deteriorates any more.more
Although this part of Ireland is littered with outdoor 'hardball' courts, i've never actually seen one in use.The game is similar to 'fives' or squast played with the hand rather than a racket.I thought the Athenry court was quite unusual, to say the least.The back wall was formed by the main wall to the back of the ruined Abbey and the viewing...more
'The Fields of Athenry' is a song known all over the world. Many presume that the song has a long history, but it was in fact written in 1979 by 'The Dubliners'. Others claim that they have modified a song from 1888 .
These days it is often sung at various gathering and has become embedded into the 'celtic cultural landscape'. It is song ( like 'Galway bay' as well) that Irish mothers will be singing to the offspring for decades to come.
The text is below - and I'm sure you are savvy enough (unlike me) to find somewhere to download it properly and hear it sung. Looking out from the top of the castle in Athenry with the song on your i-pod would no doubt be the perfect way to experience the town.
Fields Of Athenry
Low lie the fields of Athenry
Where once we watched the small free birds fly
Our love was on the wing
We had dreams and songs to sing
It's so lonely round the fields of Athenry
By a lonely prison wall I heard a young girl calling
Michael they are taking you away
For you stole Trevelyan's corn so the young might see the morn
Now a prison ship lies waiting in the bay
By a lonely prison wall, I heard a young man calling
Nothing matters, Mary, when you're free
Against the famine and the Crown I rebelled, they caught me down
Now you must raise our child with dignity
By a lonely harbour wall, she watched the last star falling
As the prison ship sailed out against the sky
For she'll live in hope and pray for her love in Botany Bay
It's so lonely round the fields of Athenry