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PUBS, PATIOS & BARS: Ireland’s oldest pub, where stream of whiskey are flowing

“I am goin’, I am goin’/ Any which way the wind may be blowin’/ I am goin’, I am goin’/ Where streams of whiskey are flowin’” – The Pogues

Such is the reach of Sean’s Bar that I discovered the famed Irish establishment’s own unique branded whiskey being served at an Irish pub on the Danforth in Toronto. But as much as I enjoyed the experience, it’s undoubtedly better to have a wee dram or two where it originates – Athlone, County Westmeath.

The town (and pub) is situated on the River Shannon on the southern shore of Lough Ree (in the midlands, half-way between Dublin and Galway) and smack in the heart of Ireland’s “whiskey country.” Hence Sean’s foray into brewing its own nectar, which is dedicated to “Luain” the first innkeeper at Sean’s Bar, who built the pub at a strategic point on an early cross-country travel route. Today, the town Athlone (atha Luina in Irish) takes its name from the man and pub around which it was built.

Sean’s single malt whiskey ‘Clonmacnoise’ was first released in 2018; a blend of grain and malt whiskeys, it offers floral hints, light malty notes, and a slight sweetness, with a warm spicy finish. For those who can’t make it to the pub, it can be ordered in Canada at www.corkwinesandwhiskeys.ca.

But for those who can sample it at source, they find its attributes enhanced by a delightful, traditional Irish pub with all the trimmings, and one that boasts status as Ireland’s oldest pub (dating to 900 AD) as authenticated by the Guinness World Book of Records.

With whiskey and pints always flowing, the pub plays host to both a local and international clientele, the latter no doubt aided by its designation by Lonely Planet as one of the 25 most incredible bars and in the world.

Among the famous patrons have been U2, Freddie Mercury, and Boy George.

Given the historic nature of the venue (much of which was uncovered during a 1970 renovation), special talks and tours may be available to patrons, explaining for example, why the floor is sloped and covered with sawdust.

Appropriately, whiskey history is also offered in partnership with Midlands Whiskey Experiences; and guests can also learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness, a unique experience in and of itself.

Traditional music – a must for any Irish bar – rings out every night of the week, and along with an Irish turf fireplace, guarantees that visitors will find an abundance of good ol’ Irish craic.

Sean’s Bar is located at 13 Main St. Athlone, and is open daily from 10:30 a.m. (except Sundays, 12:30) to 11:30 p.m. (12:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays).

Trad session

With glass purposefully in hand, we at Travel Industry Today continue our series on some of the planet’s best bars, patios and rooftop venues. For more articles in the series, click here:

PREVIOUS ARTICLES: https://travelindustrytoday.com/pub-patio/

First published at Travel Industry Today

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