County Westmeath is a county in the middle of the Republic of Ireland. It is in the Leinster province and the Midlands Region. Bordering counties include Roscommon, Meath, Offaly, and Longford. County Westmeath is one of the counties in Ireland that has seen its population dramatically decrease during and after the Great Famine, then stabilise and grow. With a good road network and easy access to Dublin, much of Westmeath’s population commutes to the city (125km away).
The county seat is in Mullingar, while Athlone is the largest city in the county. Much of the economy is agricultural or production. Beef and veal are among the renowned exports. Tourism is another strong industry. Much of the county’s tourism is centred on the waterways. There are five large lakes in the county, as well as two canals that can be traversed. The River Shannon, Ireland’s main tourism waterway, runs through the county. As a result, travellers keen to explore can take a multi-day cruise to see various historical sites and attractions.
Hostel accommodation in County Westmeath is non-existent. Instead of a hostel, consider staying at a b&b or guesthouse; budget accommodation in Ireland is centred on these industries rather than the traditional European-style backpacker hostels.
Once you have your accommodation in Westmeath sorted, get out and explore what the county has to offer. Fore Abbey is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the county. It is situated 25km from Mullingar. A former Benedictine Abbey that dates from the 10th century, Fore is the only Benedictine Abbey in Ireland. The abbey includes the 10th century priory, a 13th century gatehouse, and a 15th century round tower. On the grounds, there is also St Feichin’s Church, which dates from around the same time as the abbey, an anchorite’s cell, which was in use up until the 17th century, a holy well, Doaghfeighin, with offerings and megalithic stones, a columbarium/dovecote, and a collection of Celtic crosses. The complex is rich in history and offers a glimpse into the religious history of the county; for the curious, learn about the Seven Wonders of Fore. Later history of the county can be explored at the Belvedere House (1740s) and the Strokestown Famine museum. Whatever you choose to do in County Westmeath, you will enjoy it!
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for County Westmeath hostels. Welcome.