The owners of Sean’s Bar in Athlone, Ireland knew their bar was old when it needed renovations in the 1970s. But they had no idea just how old the bar actually was.
During renovations, workers discovered that some of the building’s walls were made of wattle and wicker — a building compound that’s more than 1,000 years old. They also found coins dating back to 900 C.E. Carbon dating confirmed that the coins and the building were in fact more than a millennium old, meaning that the building predated the Aztecs by more than a century (and outlived them, obviously).
The bar’s website describes the building like so: “When you walk into Sean's Bar in Athlone, the oldest pub in Europe, you join the uncountable number of visitors who have been stopping here for a drink, a chat and maybe a bit of music for more than a thousand years and we have the distinctions to support it.
No wonder, Sean's Bar is located in the very heart of Ireland, on the banks of the beautiful River Shannon at its intersection with the Esker Riada - the ancient route carved by glaciers that allowed travellers safe passage across the bog for thousands of years. You can find us just next to Athlone Castle, a 12th century Norman Castle whose residents may have frequented the pub!”
After the discovery of the bar’s age, it was awarded the Guinness World Record for the oldest bar in Ireland. It might very well be the oldest functioning bar in the world.
Oldest bar in the world or not, we just hope the bar makes its food with ingredients that don’t predate the Aztecs…