Sean's Bar, oldest pub in Ireland
Athlone, County Roscommon
Sean's Bar in Athlone is not only the oldest public house in Ireland but also in Europe, as stated in the Guinness Book of Records.
Dating back to 900AD, the pub was originally known as 'Luain's Inn' derived from the town's Irish name 'Ath Luain'. It is said that Luain was an innkeeper who guided those travelling across the River Shannon. A settlement grew around the crossing point and the first castle was built in 1129.
Renovations to the property in 1970 revealed that the walls of the bar were made of wattle and wicker from the ninth century. A number of old coins were also found, which were minted by landlords for barther with customers. One section of the ancient wall is still on display in the pub, while the rest and the findings are in the National Museum.
While the debate as to the oldest pub in Ireland came to national attention, the owners were never in any doubt and the archaeological evidence proved that the bar precedes its nearest competitor for the title by 200 years. A certificate of confirmation from Guinness World Records hangs in the pub today stating that it is the oldest pub in Ireland. As it has also been recognised as the oldest pub in Europe, all that's left is claiming the title of oldest pub in the world!