Sean’s Bar, Ireland’s Oldest Pub, Might Also Be the World's Oldest Pub

Ireland's oldest pub.
Ireland's oldest pub. / Sharonlflynn via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

Walk into just about any pub in Ireland and you're bound to find an establishment with history built into its walls. That's definitely the case with Sean's Bar in Athlone. As Travel Awaits reports, the business is the oldest pub in Ireland—and possibly the world.

With a structure dating back to 900 CE, Sean's Bar has a long history on the Emerald Isle. According to the legend shared on the business's website, the original owner, an innkeeper named Luain Mac Luighdeach, guided travelers across the neighboring River Shannon before a bridge was constructed. Gradually the town of Athlone developed around the waypoint and Luain’s Inn.

Interior of Sean's Bar in Ireland.
A peek inside Sean's Bar. / Serge Ottaviani via a Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

Renovations in 1970 revealed the building's true age, and part of the old structure has been preserved for guests to see. The pub's more recent history is part of the decor as well. In 1968, Sean Fitzsimons purchased the property and changed the name. The walls display records of all the bar's previous owners, including a certificate bearing the name of musician Boy George, who owned the business for a brief period in 1987.

Without the section of 1100-year-old wall and the framed letter from the Guinness Book Of World Records declaring it Ireland's oldest pub, it would be easy to mistake Sean's for many other bars in the country. There's a dark wood bar, a fireplace, and a traditional Irish band playing there on a regular basis. And naturally, Sean's Bar serves Guinness on tap as well as a selection of their own Irish whiskeys.

Guinness World Records hasn't named Sean's Bar the oldest pub in the world, but with no apparent competition, the establishment hasn't shied away from the unofficial title. Here are more of the longest-running businesses still in operation around the globe.

[h/t Travel Awaits]