When it comes to uniquely blended whiskey, old-time music, and rich historical culture, nothing beats Sean’s bar in Athlone, Ireland. Currently, it is the oldest known pub in Ireland with a detailed and documented history that dates back to 900AD or the ninth century. The bar was initially established as an inn by Luain Mac Luighdeach, as it sat at a critical crossing point for travelers who were venturing across the torrents of the River Shannon. This crossing point was known as the Ford of Great Antiquity, and as more travelers used the route, a small settlement grew up around it, causing King Turlough O’Connor to build a wooden castle as a protective measure in 1129. Since its inception, the pub has been providing travelers with a warm place to stay, drink, and rest. Here is why it is a must-see destination for tourists in the area.
- You can see one section of the original walls within the pub. These walls were made out of wicker and wattle, and are dated back to the ninth century.
- Many of the landlords over the years minted their own coins which were used for bartering. In 1970, renovations to the pub revealed these. These old coins remain on display in the pub.
- It holds the title for the oldest pub in Ireland, however, may also be the oldest pub in the world. Nothing older has been found despite ongoing research.
- It has a worldwide reputation for its atmosphere. The walls have ancient artifacts, the floors are original and covered in sawdust, and the old bar and open fireplace make the place homely and welcoming.
- Sean’s bar has a beer garden that overlooks the Ford of Luain.
- Athlone is the origin where whiskey distilling began in the 6th century. Sean’s bar gives a historic talk on this daily to visitors that want to hear.
- It has the earliest record of the mention of “whiskey” where the term was coined by King Henry II.
- The pub has its own uniquely blended grain and malt whiskey that gets matured in bourbon casks.
- In 2018, the pub is releasing two special edition drinks. The first is a 10-year-old malt whiskey called Clonmacnoise, which is a tribute to the monks who first distilled whiskey in the area. The second is a Special Edition Rindoon, which is dedicated to “whiskey” the term which was coined by Henry II during his occupation of Rindoon in the 12th century.
Beyond the above, the pub has traditional Irish music seven nights a week and an atmosphere that you will not find anywhere else in the world. By having a “cold one” at Sean’s, you join the ranks of hundreds of thousands of individuals who have made the bar the place to stop since 900AD.
(Featured image source: TripAdvisor)