Sean’s Bar, Athlone: History, Facts & Visit Info

Everything you need to know about the oldest bar in the world.

Sean’s Bar, Athlone: History, Facts & Visit Info.
Credit: Instagram/ @seansbar

There has been a tavern on the site of Sean’s Bar since 900 AD, so I think it’s fair to say they know a thing or two about drinking.

The bar is the heart of nightlife in the County Westmeath town and is a popular spot with drinkers from near and far.

From their own-brand whiskey to exciting live gigs, there’s plenty to get excited about in Sean’s Bar, Athlone.

Ireland Before You Die’s top tips for visiting Sean’s Bar, Athlone:

  • Sean’s Bar is right at the heart of Westmeath’s largest town, Athlone. It is a 45-minute drive from the county town of Mullingar and can be reached from there by the 190 bus.
  • It is close to the border with County Roscommon. From Roscommon town, the drive takes about 30 minutes. The 440 bus takes around 45 minutes; the Westport Service train takes 30.
  • Athlone is a very easily walkable town, so leave the car behind and treat yourself to a pint or two!
  • Check out the bar’s social media accounts and coincide your visit with one of their many live music nights.

Interesting facts about Sean’s Bar, Athlone:

  • Sean’s Bar was established in 900 AD, making it the oldest extant bar in Ireland and possibly the world. Guinness World Records recognises it as such.
  • Carbon-dated wood, wattle, and mud support the suggestion that it’s the oldest bar in the world.
  • Tavern tokens of unspecified date were found at the site and are now on display at the National Museum of Ireland.
  • Sean’s Bar garners renown today for its whiskey. As well as stocking an array of Irish and international whiskies, the bar also distils its own whiskey (and gin).

What’s nearby

Food: There are plenty of excellent restaurants a mere stone’s throw from Sean’s Bar that serve dishes from around the world. Local favourites include The Left Bank Bistro (globally-inspired), Di Bella (Italian), Bacchus (Mediterranean), Kin Khao (Thai), and Al Mezza (Lebanese).

Drink: Sean’s Bar is one of the best in Athlone, but if you fancy a change of scenery, you’ve got other options nearby. The Snug Bar and the Castle Inn are just across Main Street; Maisies, Seery’s, and the Bailey Bar & Lounge are just around the corner on Barrack Street.

Other attractions: Luan Gallery, Athlone Castle, and Dean Crowe Theatre are within walking distance from Sean’s Bar; Burgess Park is just across the River Shannon. There are also a few walking trails that are handy to get to – the Old Rail Trail and the Big Meadow Walkway.

Accommodation: Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone (four-star), Sheraton Athlone Hotel (four-star), Shamrock Lodge Hotel (three-star), Arch House B&B and Apartments.

Your questions answered about Sean’s Bar, Athlone

Is Sean’s Bar the oldest bar in the world?

Sean’s Bar is the oldest bar in the world. The Athlone pub dates back to 900 AD.

What is the oldest pub in Northern Ireland?

Grace Neill’s in Donaghadee, County Down, was established in 1611. Many regard it as the oldest pub in Northern Ireland.

What is the most popular drink in pubs in Ireland?

You’ll find people drinking all types of drinks in pubs in Ireland. Guinness and Irish whiskey spring to mind immediately, but Ireland also has a healthy craft beer scene, while many cities have exciting cocktail bars.

Contact and more info

Address: 13 Main St, Athlone, Co. Westmeath, N37 DW76, Ireland

Phone: +353906492358

Email: [email protected]


Opening hours:

Monday to Thursday, 10:30 am–11:30 pm

Friday and Saturday, 10:30 am–12:30 am

Sunday, 12:30 pm–11 pm

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