Ireland’s Oldest Bars (and Their Wallpapered Interiors)

Ireland has a long and remarkable history, and nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in its centuries-old pubs and taverns. Many of these ancient drinking establishments are characterised by plush interiors and exquisite wallpapering, which can make visitors feel as if they have gone back in time.

The following is a brief list of the Emerald Isle’s oldest bars, where weary travellers and garrulous locals have been slaking their thirst and trading gossip – against the backdrop of sumptuous wallpapering – for longer than anyone can remember.

Sean’s Bar

Along with being Ireland’s oldest pub, Sean’s Bar also enjoys the distinction of being the oldest bar on the European continent. Located in the picturesque town of Athlone, this tavern is said to have first opened its doors in 900 AD.

With its dark and distinctive wallpapering, of the kind one can find at wallpaper for walls, Sean’s continues to draw inquisitive visitors from all over the world.

Dublin’s Brazen Head

Wallpapering enthusiasts will also enjoy the Brazen Head, located on historic Lower Bridge Street in Ireland’s capital. The Brazen Head is an antiquarian’s dream, with an attractive interior of ancient brickwork. This old tavern has been serving drinks since the tail end of the 12th century.

In the early 20th century, the Brazen Head was the regular haunt of several Irish literary luminaries, including Dubliners author James Joyce.

Kyteler’s Inn

In business since 1263, Kyteler’s Inn is located in southeast Ireland’s medieval city of Kilkenny. With a charming interior of polished woodwork and brick, this time-worn pub is famous for the authentic, locally-made beer it serves.

According to legend, the original founder of Kyteler’s Inn, Alice de Kyteler, was accused of witchcraft but avoided being burnt at the stake by fleeing the country – an evocative tale of magic and sorcery reflected by the inn’s haunting wallpaper scheme.