Athenry (Áth an Rí; pronounced 'Athen-rye'; ) constitutes one of Ireland's most intact collections of medieval architecture, with a magnificent castle, the medieval parish Church of St Mary's, a Dominican priory, an original market cross and the North Gate, which you can drive through. An impressive 75% of the lengthy town walls survives. The Arts & Heritage Centre has free downloadable walking-tour maps. However, the impressive heritage is overshadowed by the modern, industrial town.
Athenry takes its name from a nearby ford (áth in Irish) that crosses the River Clare east of the settlement and was the meeting point for three kingdoms, hence its Irish name, which translates as Ford of the Kings.
The town's name is synonymous with the stirring song 'The Fields of Athenry', composed by Pete St John in the 1970s, which recounts incarceration resulting from the Famine.