[Ir. Áth Lúain, ford of Lúan].
The principal ford of the River Shannon, between the counties of Roscommon and Westmeath, 78 miles W of Dublin and 48 miles E of Galway. Because of its strategic position between east and west, Athlone has long figured prominently in Irish lore and history. Cúchulainn sheared off the tops of three peaks near here. The first fortress at Athlone was built before the Anglo-Norman conquest. The city of Athlone, which lies on both sides of the river, was an English garrison from Elizabethan times.