A new visitor centre for the castle and the issue of special postage stamp mark the 300th birthday of Athlone town.
John Walsh, Athlone Town Clerk refers to the landmark as an opportunity to give Athlone a "major face lift"
Jarleth Duffy, Co-ordinator Athlone Tercentenary promotes the advantages of the town and outlines the renovations of the castle and the new visitor centre which has cost over £500,000.
The Minister for Education Mary O'Rourke speaks at the launch of the new stamp by at Athlone's Head Post Office and quotes from Aubrey Thomas de Vere's poem 'Shannon, the River A Ballad of Athlone'
O, many a year upon Shannon’s side
They sang upon moor and they sang upon heath
Of the twain that breasted that raging tide,
And the ten that shook bloody hands with Death!
The stamp depicting an artist's impression of the events of the Siege of Athlone was designed by Stephen Conlon for An Post.
Athlone was of strategic importance during the Williamite War in Ireland (1689-91) and was besieged twice in the 17th Century.
The castle and bridge marked a crossing point on the River Shannon between the Jacobite held province of Connacht and the Williamites.
The first unsuccesful siege in 1690 was commanded by William of Orange and the Williamites shortly after the Battle of the Boyne.
The second siege in Summer 1691 occured when the Williamites led by Dutch general Godart de Ginkel regrouped at Mullingar and retried to take Athlone. The Jacobites led by Colonel Clifford held off the attempts by the Williamites to storm the bridge until the Jacobite positions were attacked by the Williamites from the rear. The Jacobites who were awaiting reinforcements from Limerick abandoned their positions in Athlone. Ginkel and the Williamites confronted the Jacobite army on retreat to Limerick at the Battle of Aughrim and the Jacobites were crushed. The Battle of Aughrim marked the end of Jacobite resistence in Ireland.
Gerry Reynolds links to an RTÉ News Regional Report broadcast 12 May 1991.