Athlone Castle was officially opened on Tuesday 26th February 2013 by Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring, T.D. The event was attended by Council officials, Fáilte Ireland representatives and those involved in the tourism sector nationally, regionally and locally. The official opening launched the castle ahead of the 2013 tourism season.
The 13th century castle re-opened its doors to the public on 6th November last year. A popular element of the newly designed exhibition experience is a display entitled ‘The People of the Siege’. Here, a set of much-admired sculptures representing the 17th century figures involved in the Siege of Athlone is proudly displayed. These impressive statues were created by Windsor Workshop, the company also responsible for developing props in some of the most beloved movies of recent years, including: Harry Potter, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Star Wars Episode 1, Alexander and The Da Vinci Code. Since the multi-sensory Athlone Castle Visitor Centre opened its doors last year, visitors have been very taken with the beauty, intricate detail and scale of the six life-size figures.
Catherine Yorke, Art and Heritage Guide at Athlone Castle said, “The sculptural figures are certainly proving to be one of the star attractions of the new Athlone Castle experience. The majority of visitors are very taken with them. It is exciting to think that the creative talent involved in global, block-buster films such as Harry Potter and Star Wars have had a hand in the making of our new Athlone Castle Visitor Centre. It also points to the calibre of expertise that was involved in creating the new visitor experience. We are looking forward to showing these, as well as all other aspects of the castle, to the Minister when he visits later this month.”
The state-of-the-art Athlone Castle experience was developed by Event Communications which also worked on the impressive Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre as well as Belfast’s Titanic Museum.