by Wyndham Vacation Rentals

County Westmeath

This an area with a rich farming heritage, County Westmeath is located in the heart of Ireland and is famous for its many beautiful lakes and waterways.

The shimmering waters of the lakes here are often the enduring images that visitors to County Westmeath take away with them. One such lake, Lough Ennell, is located near to the county town of Mullingar and tradition has it that, while drifting on a boat in the middle of the lough, author Jonathan Swift was inspired to write Gulliver''s Travels.

On the shores of Lough Ennell can be found the 18th century mansion Belvedere House, a painstakingly restored building set among some truly stunning and abundant gardens. The woodlands and parklands which provide a picturesque backdrop to Belvedere House are ideal for leisurely walks. Mullingar itself is the largest town in Westmeath and has a good mix of independent shops, in addition to a traditional farmers'' market which is held every Sunday.

Athlone in the south west of the county is at the gateway to the River Shannon. Visitors can explore the medieval castle or maybe rent a cruiser. Good shopping is to be had on the Left Bank of the river, with winding streets and many arts and crafts shops, bars and restaurants.

Although Westmeath is known chiefly for its abundance of beautiful lakes and connecting waterways, the county also has a rich historic legacy. Westmeath''s fascinating history is best evidenced by the plethora of castles to be found throughout the county. Tullynally Castle, located to the north of Westmeath, near to the village of Castlepollard, is arguably the most famous and is set in truly magnificent gardens. Dating from the 17th century, Tullynally is still relatively modern when compared to the likes of Delvin Castle and Athlone Castle, two of the oldest buildings in the county, built in 1181 and 1210 respectively.

With glistening lakes, dense woodlands, historic buildings and bustling towns such as Mullingar and Athlone, County Westmeath offers much to see and do and will appeal to a wide range of tastes. For self catering accommodation check out our range of holiday cottages in County Westmeath today.
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