The Brazen Head claims to be Irelands oldest pub—it’s not. Sean’s bar in Athlone takes that mantle, but there has been a hostelry hereabouts since 1198, and the Brazen Head appears in documents as far back as 1653. The present venue is a little more recent, being built in 1754 as a coaching inn.
When excavations were carried out around Bridge Street in 1989, wicker mats—used to establish foundations on the silted floodplain—and a section of post and wattle wall dating from the 13th century were found. This is probably related to the Irish name for Dublin—Baile Átha Cliath, or the Town of the ford of the Hurdles (reed mats). These were placed across the silty river bed at low tide to provide some footing for cattle and wheeled carts crossing the river.
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