OCTOBER & NOVEMBER:
 Open Thursday, Friday & Saturday
12:30pm to 6pm

 by appointment on Tuesday and Wednesday
 
please call: 090 6494948



Welcome to The Bastion Gallery!

We are a gift shop located in the heart of Athlone's Left Bank area, established in 1990. We stock a selection of gifts and jewellery, both handmade in Ireland and fair trade.

All of our products are ethically sourced.

Jewellery we stock: Ogham Treasure, Alan Ardiff, Linda Uhlehman,  Pearls for girls, Maureen Lynch, Fushia & Enibas. 

Some  of the  gifts we stock: Ogham Wishes, Bog Buddies, Ursula Celano Bags and stationary, Jellycat soft toys, Handfelted wool and silk scarves by Astrid Tomtrop, Blankies, Handwoven scarves and throws by Studio Donegal, John Hanley blankets and scarves, Max Benjamin candles, Natural Beeswax Candles, Gemstone Jewellery and Natural gemstones.

Artists: Photography by Mark Duffy, Kitty Kilkelly collection of old Athlone, Prints and cards by Suzie Sullivan, Original Tapestries by Frances Crowe, Jerpoint Studio hand-blown glass, Nicholas Mosse Pottery, Mythical character dolls and witches by Helga Pikal.

Some trivia about The Bastion Gallery:
We were Michael Jacksons' favourite Shop in Athlone!
The Star visited our shop in 2006 and he spent 2 hours here.

John Count McCormack, world famous tenor, practised his singing upstairs here with his teacher/choir-master Michael Kilkelly who ran a drapery shop here in the late 1800s.



BASTION STREET

A Deed of 1756 refers to this short street as "Royal Bastion" but during the first Ordinance Survey and for the purposes of Griffith's Valiations it was considered as part of Wentworth Street {the modern O 'Connell Street}. This is one of the few streets on the Connaught side of Athlone which recalls the town fortifications.  Obviously there was once a bastion at this point on the defensive ditch which protected the western boundary of the town. It was not until a revision of the Ordnance Survey in 1874 that Bastion Street got the recognition it deserved.

One of the great Characters of Bastion Street was Michael Kilkelly, the son of a local shopkeeper James Kilkelly. He was born during Famine times and lived here until his death in1940, at the age of Ninety-three. He became involved in the family business at a very early age due to the early death of his father.

Michael Kilkelly did more than anyone else of his generation to promote and foster a love of music in Athlone. He was choir-master of the old St.Peter's Church {the present day DeanCrowe Theatre} and was involved in brass bands, quartets and other musical activities in the town. He was a boyhood friend of T.P.O 'Connor's, as both had attended Summerhill College in Athlone before it moved to Sligo. However he is perhaps best remembered for his early encouragement of John McCormack, a fellow Athlonian with whom a lifelong friendship endured.

Apart from his great love of music Michael Kilkelly was also passionate about politics. A staunch supporter of both Parnell and the Land League movement, he was a local organiser of both movements in Athlone. He even spoke from the same platform as Parnell himself. He served on the old Town Commissioners and later the Urban Council and through a series of articles penned for the Westmeath Independent in the 1930s. He left us a legacy of wonderfully evocative social commentaries which put flesh on the otherwise dry bones of local history. Today his great granddaughter runs the Bastion Gallery, while her brothers run Garbz, {Now venue 4} next door.

Text by Gearoid O'Brien, Painting by Leila Canney ,  Reproduced by kind permission of Cottage Publications