Banagher (Beannchar na Sionna in Irish) is a town in Republic of Ireland, located in the midlands on the western edge of County Offaly in the province of Leinster, on the banks of the River Shannon. The name Banagher comes from its Irish name, which translates to English as "the place of the pointed rocks on the Shannon". Banagher was a town of 3,000 people at the height of its economic growth in the mid-19th century. The current population is just over half of that figure, at about 1,600. Banagher has an important strategic position on the River Shannon, and was long one of the few crossing points between the provinces of Leinster and Connacht. It thus became a natural focus for many great historical buildings, including a 19th-century Martello Tower and a number of important castles around the town, which were built in the 14th and 15th centuries.
The town used to be the focus of thriving river business and was an important stop on the Dublin to Limerick navigation. It supported a number of large industries, most notably a maltings and distillery, which are now defunct. Tourism has supplanted this to a certain extent with a modern marina providing support for river cruisers and watersports facilities and the town is an important angling centre, with particular attraction for pike anglers. Banagher is the centre of the Shannon Callows, grassy meadows which flood in winter and provide living space for myriads of waterfowl.
A number of notable literary figures have stayed at Banagher, including Anthony Trollope, who used the town as an inspiration for his first novel The Macdermots of Ballycloran and Charlotte Brontë who married a curate who was raised in Banagher. The town is the source of the well-known phrase: "Well, that beats Banagher!"