Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Athlone
ATHLONE, a market-town and parliamentary borough of Ireland, lying partly in West Meath and partly in Roscommon, 76 miles W. of Dublin. The River Shannon divides the town into two portions, which are connected by a handsome new bridge, opened in 1844. The rapids of the Shannon at this point are obviated by means of a canal about a mile long, which renders the navigation of the river practicable for 71 miles above the town. In the war of 1688 the possession of Athlone was considered of the greatest importance, and it consequently sustained two sieges, the first by William III. in person, which failed, and the second by General Ginkell, who, in the face of the Irish, forded the river and took possession of the town, with the loss of only fifty men. At the time of the last war with France it was strongly fortified on the Roscom mon side, the works covering 15 acres and containing two magazines, an ordnance store, an armoury with 15,000 stand of arms, and barracks for 1500 men. There are two parish churches, two Roman Catholic parochial chapels, a Franciscan and Augustinian chapel, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Methodist meeting-houses, a court-house, bridewell, a union work-house, and two branch banks. It has a woollen factory, as well as other industries, and an active trade is carried on with Shannon harbour and Limerick by steamers, and with Dublin by the Grand and Royal Canals and several railway lines, while the importance of its fairs and markets is increasing. There is also a valuable fishery in the river. Market-days, Tuesday and Saturday. The borough returns one member to parliament. Popula tion in 1871, 6566; constituency in 1873, 336. Thorn s Irish Almanac for 1875.