Athlone (ăthlōnˈ) [key], town (1991 pop. 15,358), Co. Westmeath, central Republic of Ireland, on the Shannon River. It is an important road and rail junction and a busy inland port, reached by the river and two canals. Industries include the production of cotton textiles, woolens, machinery, electric cable, and furniture. The English occupied the town in the 13th cent. and built Athlone Castle. Possession of the town was disputed during succeeding centuries, and the castle was often besieged. Athlone fell to the forces of William III of Great Britain in 1691. It is an important military station and a major transmitting station of the Irish National Radio.
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