This Might Be The Oldest Bar In Europe

Most of the world's oldest pubs (that you can still drink at, of course) are located in Europe (via Oldest). From The Bingley Arms (953) in the British islands to Gasthaus zum Riesen (1150) in Germany, most claim to have been around for far longer than the other and have a history more colorful and a list of clientele more famous than any other pub.

However, there's one pub that has some weight to its claim of being the oldest watering hole. Sean's Bar located in Athlone, Ireland is recognized as being the oldest public house in Ireland by the Guinness Book of Records (per their website). The pub is said to have been around since 900AD, a period far before the decline of the Vikings in Ireland (via BBC Travel).

As if to substantiate its claim, Sean's Bar says that during some renovations that took place at the pub in 1970, it was found that the material used to build the walls of the bar were "wattle and wicker". Wattle and wicker, they claim, date back to the ninth century. along with the building materials, ancient coins minted by previous landlords of the pub were also found. Part of the walls and the coins are still on display at the pub for new visitors of the pub to see, while most of it is on display in the National Museum.

Some believe that Sean's Bar may even be the oldest pub in the world

Although the pub's website claims that research into Sean's Bar being the oldest pub in the world is still ongoing, no bar older than this Irish pub has been found as of yet. Timmy Donavan, the pub's former owner and current barman, says he has been looking into the history of Sean's Bar for more 30 years.

According to BBC Travel, although no one knows exactly when Sean's Pub was first built, a commonly believed legend has it that the pub used to be Luain's Inn, an inn run by Luain Mac Luighdeach. Luain used to help people cross the rough waters of river Shannon located nearby before a bridge was ever built over it. In recognition of his help to travelers, the area that the inn was located in began to be known as Athlone or "Ath Luain" after Luain. It is believed that somewhere around 1968, a certain Sean Fitzsimons bought the inn, converted it into a pub (which is where the name Sean's Bar perhaps comes from), and carried out renovations that involved that required wattle and wicker (vis Unbelievable Facts).

BBC Travels adds that Sean's Bar has a preservation order for both its interiors and exteriors — a rare occurrence in Ireland. At present, Sean's Bar makes its own brand of whiskey from grain and malt, dedicated to its original keeper Luain. When he's not pouring a fresh pint for a customer, visitors can expect to find  former owner and record-keeper Timmy Donavan giving historical talks of the pub every day.