Following the path down to cross the narrow bridge spanning the railway line the steep grass banks are alive with youths and families soaking up the last of the evening sun. Steep steps lead on down to the long jetty out to the boards.

Sitting on the concrete benches felt a bit like an amphitheatre with groups of friends and parents cheering encouragement to the swimmers and divers.

The water, clear and shallow close to shore, quickly gets deep enough for jumping and diving.

Not only known for its appeal for swimming and the diving boards, Lough Owel is also protected as a Ramsar site, a wetland of international importance due to its rare plants, a variety of fish and migratory birds.

Approximately 6km from Mullingar just off the N4, Lough Owel diving boards are a star attraction. The parking area sits high above the lough affording great views out towards Church Island with plenty of room to picnic.

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