History
Fact-checked

At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

Where Can You Visit Europe’s Oldest Pub?

Europe's oldest pub is nestled in the heart of Ireland, the Sean's Bar in Athlone. With a history dating back to 900 AD, its walls whisper tales of yore, inviting you to savor a pint where generations have gathered. Imagine the stories you'll share. Ready to raise a glass in this legendary establishment? Join us as we journey through its timeless charm.
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman

Ireland is famed for its rich and varied history, as well as for its iconic public houses, or pubs. But long before anyone had ever heard of Guinness or Jameson, patrons were imbibing at what is now Sean's Bar in Athlone, located on the bank of the River Shannon in County Westmeath

According to Guinness World Records, the pub is the oldest in Ireland. Its owners claim that it's also the oldest in Europe and possibly even the world. And according to archaeological research conducted by the National Museum of Ireland, portions of the pub's wattle, mud, and wood walls can be carbon dated to around 900 A.D. Coins used as tavern tokens at the site support the idea that it's been a drinking spot for some 1,100 years.

Legend has it that Sean's Bar was originally known as Luain’s Inn, named after the innkeeper who also helped pilgrims and other travelers ford the treacherous rapids of the River Shannon.

The great Irish pub:

  • Ireland's pubs are under threat: due to social and economic factors, they have been closing at a rate of more than two a week.

  • Some dispute that Sean's Bar is actually over a millennium old; conflicting research suggests that its most ancient materials may have been repurposed from an older building.

  • Before dark beer and whisky were commonplace, mead was a popular drink in medieval Ireland.
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes for WiseGEEK about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education. Learn more...
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes for WiseGEEK about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education. Learn more...

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Sean’s Bar in Athlone, Ireland, is said to have been serving since 900 A.D., and may even be the world’s oldest pub.
      Sean’s Bar in Athlone, Ireland, is said to have been serving since 900 A.D., and may even be the world’s oldest pub.