This month we are excited to a pub that dates back to the Dark Ages – Sean’s bar in Athlone, County Westmeath. Dating back to 900 A.D., Sean’s Bar is Ireland’s oldest pub, and possibly the oldest pub in the world (the owners have just submitted a petition to Guinness World Records). During renovations in 1970, the walls of the bar were found to be made of “wattle and wicker” dating back to the ninth century. Old coins minted by various landlords for barter with their customers were also found. The walls and coins are on display in the National Museum, and one section of the wall remains on display inside the pub. Visitors will also notice that the floors were designed with an intentional slope so that when the nearby River Shannon would flood the water would come in through the front and run straight out the back. The bartender would then cover the wet floors in sawdust to keep patrons from slipping – a tradition that is still kept up today.
Sean's Bar, as it is known today, is a building of great antiquity which over the years has built up a world-wide reputation for its atmosphere, old bar, open fireplace, and walls covered with many ancient artifacts. Sean's is full of great character and an international clientele come to hear the best of traditional Irish music and song, or just relax in the beer garden that overlooks the Ford of Luain. Recently Sean's Bar has become famous for its own whiskey. If you haven’t visited already, you must put Ireland’s oldest pub on your bucket list!