Before we have a gander inside Ireland’s oldest pub, I feel like we need to clear something up…

And It’s something that absolutely baffles me.

There’s quite a bit of speculation online as to which public house officially lays claim to the illustrious title of ‘the oldest bar in Ireland’?

Up until yesterday, I knew it was a toss-up between the Brazen Head in Dublin and Sean’s Bar in Athlone.

Then I discovered that Sean’s Bar had been awarded a certificate by the Guinness Book of Records, stating them to be the oldest bar in Ireland – you’d be fairly confident that the lads who dish out these awards do their homework.

Why the confusion?

If you visit the Brazen Head’s website, you’ll notice that they’re claiming to be Ireland’s oldest pub left right and centre.

I’m not sure how they can make the claim given they date back to 1198 and Sean’s Bar dates back to 900AD, but it is what it is.

Welcome to Sean’s Bar – the Oldest Pub in Ireland

A short walk from the River Shannon, and a stone’s throw from the castle in Athlone Town, lies an ancient public house called Sean’s Bar.

The pub dates back to 900AD, a fact that was verified during an excavation in 1970 that exposed walls consisting of ancient wattle and daub, dating back to the 9th century.

It’s crazy to think that for over 1000 years a pub smack bang in the middle of Ireland has been catering to the needs of weary travellers and locals alike.

While one of the original walls discoverd during the excavation remains on show in Sean’s, the rest, along with coins that were also discovered at the time, now sit inside Dublin’s National History Museum.

How ridiculously inviting is this fire?

seans bar athlone oldest pub in ireland

Photo via @SeansBar on Instagram

Insterestingly, there are records of every owner of the pub back from the 10th century until present, including the singer Boy Georger who owned it for a stint in the 80’s.

Our Verdict

Go for the atmosphere and history, stay for drinks by the roaring fire, the ancient artifacts that cover the walls, and the immense character that’s clearly abundant throughout Ireland’s oldest pub.

The Oldest Pub in the World?

Apparently, research is ongoing into Sean’s Bar’s potential to be The Oldest Pub in the World.

A bit of research online shows that it’s listed on a tonne of websites as the world’s longest running bar – but nothing’s official.

Imagine a pub in Ireland being able to lay claim to the title of the oldest in the world?!

Have you visited Sean’s Bar? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Get involved in the conversation