The long awaited re-opening of the town's flagship tourist attraction, Athlone Castle, is set to take place next Tuesday, November 6.
The historic building opens to the public following a multi-million euro transformation to revamp the castle into a state-of-the-art, multi-sensory visitor experience. The first visitors to the attraction will be the students from Cornamaddy School, who were the last visitors to Athlone Castle before it closed for renovation work back in November 2011.
A number of students accompanied by their teachers will enjoy a guided tour of the castle where they can experience first-hand the interactive and participatory aspect of the impressive new visitor experience.
First built in the 13th century as a timber fort, Athlone Castle evolved into a bold, defensive building. Its most significant architectural features, such as the keep, have now been harnessed to act as a dramatic backdrop to its diverse and fascinating story.
The eight newly designed exhibition spaces pursue both a chronological and thematic sequence combining hands-on and fun experiences that will appeal to both children and adults.
Bold sculptural forms help to convey human figures and historical milestones. 3D maps, audio-visual installations and illustrations by renowned illustrator Victor Ambrus, best known for his work on Channel 4's Time Team, bring the stories and characters of Athlone to life.
Athlone Castle will open in high season (March 17th - October 31st) from Monday to Saturday 10am to 6pm and Sundays from 12pm to 6pm. During low season (November 1 to March 16) the castle is open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 5pm and Sunday 12pm to 5pm.
Admission is 8 for adults, OAPs and students 6, children and under 15s 4 and a family ticket (2 adults and up to four children 20) Group bookings on request.