Westmeath is a county of rich pastureland and lakes, situated on Ireland's central plain. The county stretches from Lough Ree in the west, to Lough Sheelin the east.
Westmeath's county town is Mullingar and is situated in the east of the county, a lively market town famed for its cattle trading. Westmeath's largest town however, is Athlone situated in the west of the county and in the centre of Ireland. Athlone or Ath Luain the Ford of Luan is set in a strategic location at an important intersection of the River Shannon. In 1129 Irish King Turlough O'Connor established a fort here and in 1210 King John of England built the castle, which still stands overlooking the River Shannon. Athlone Castle witnessed a major battle during the Williamite Wars of 1690 and is one of the main visitor attractions in the county. For more informationon on athlone visit athlone.ie
Just north of Athlone is Lough Ree one of the three lakes formed by the Shannon. Lough Ree is renowned for its trout fishing and sailing and is home to one of the oldest yachting clubs in Ireland.
Notable people from Westmeath include Michael O'Leary, CEO of Ryanair and popular singer Joe Dolan.