Athlone, translated into Irish is Atha Luain, meaning "the Ford of Luain." Luain was an innkeeper who guided people across the treacherous waters of the ancient ford. The crossing point and the pub date back to the year 900AD. Later, a settlement was established around the Crossing Point and King Turlough O' Connor built the first wooden castle here in 1129.
Sean's Bar has a detailed and documented history right back to 900AD. During renovations in 1970, the walls of the bar were found to be made of "wattle and wicker" dating back to the ninth century. Old coins which were minted by various landlords for barter with their customers were also found and dated to this period. The walls and the coins are on display in the National Museum. One section remains on display in the pub.
Sean's Bar has been researched thoroughly by the Guinness Book of Records and proudly holds the record for "The Oldest Pub in Ireland" with an official dating of 900AD. Research is ongoing into the title of "The Oldest Pub in the World"; so far, nothing older has been found.
Sean's Bar, as it is known today, is a building of great antiquity which over the years has built up a world-wide reputation for its atmosphere, old bar, open fireplace and walls - which are covered with many ancient artifacts. Sean's is full of great character and an international clientele come to hear the best of traditional Irish music and song, or just relax in the beer garden that overlooks the Ford of Luain.
For a small taste of Sean's Bar culture, visit our Gallery section or simply drop by next time you pass through Athlone.