Established in 900 A.D., Sean’s Bar claims to be the oldest pub in Ireland.
The historic bar is located in the town of Athlone, roughly halfway between Dublin and Galway.
In 2000, it was accepted as a record for the oldest pub in Ireland by the “Guinness World Records,” according to a letter the organisation sent to the pub.
Today, Sean’s Bar has become popular with tourists from all over the world.
“The pub itself hasn’t changed at all over the years,” Declan Delaney, the manager of Sean’s Bar, told Business Insider over email. “The building is a protected structure so any alteration to the main bar is forbidden.”
Sean’s has even been frequented by celebrities, including Mia Farrow, John C. Reilly, and Ray Meagher (Alf on the Australian TV soap “Home and Away”), who poured himself a pint on his visit in 2015.
For St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, Business Insider spoke to Delaney to find out more about the pub’s history.
Take a look inside below.
The pub was originally named Luain's Inn. 'Luain was an inn keeper who guided people across the treacherous waters of the River Shannon long before any bridge was built,' Delaney explained.
'A settlement was then built up around this area and the town 'Athlone' was named after Luain,' Delaney said. 'In Irish Athlone translates into 'Atha Luain' - The Ford of Luain.'
Renovations in 1970 found that the walls of the pub were made of wattle and wicker dating back to the 10th century as well as old coins minted by landlords for barter. Most of the original walls and coins are displayed at the National Museum of Ireland, though one section remains at the pub.
The pub is usually frequented with tourists who come to try its renowned Irish coffee or a pint of Guinness, and watch live Irish music performances. During its busy season in July and August, Delaney said the pub gets around 500 visitors on weekdays and over 1,000 per day over the weekend. Of course, the pub is also crowded on St. Patrick's Day.
The open fireplace is just one of many features the pub retains from its past. Sean's Bar also has a sloped floor (caused by flooding) that remains covered in sawdust, which was thrown down to keep it clean after flooding.
The actor John C. Reilly came to the pub on a visit to Ireland, and posed for a photo with the pub's longest serving barman Dinny Brennan, who has been working there for 35 years. Other celebrities who have visited include Freddie Mercury, Martin Sheen, 'Dallas' stars Larry Hagman and Linda Grey.
The Irish rugby player Robbie Henshaw, who was born in Athlone, is also a fan and even wears the pub's merchandise. Celebrities have also been rumoured to work there. 'Rumour has it that Boy George owned the pub for a short while,' Delaney said. 'He was apparently good friends with the old owner of Sean's, Sean Fitzsimmons.'
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