Posted by: nancycurteman | June 25, 2013

Durty Nelly’s Pub

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1431657217_3ad4d96f2e_z-1Durty Nelly’s is a celebrated 17th century Irish pub situated in the shadow of the famous Bunratty Castle in the village of Bunratty,

On the Durty Nelly’s Pub website you can read the following history of the fair Nelly and her pub.

“Many many moons ago in the misty past of Cratloe’s rolling country side there lived a buxom lady, tall in stature, but shapely and appealing to all.  She was known simply as Durty Nelly… a name that puzzled all who had the good fortune to be granted her welcome but soon became apparent…

Times were hard in Ireland but one could say that Durty Nelly was wily and always found a way to make ends meet. She was keeper of the toll-bridge over the river Owengarney which flowed outside her window on its way to join the Shannon.

All visitors who sought to cross the bridge would have to pay their dues to Nelly – those who could not pay in cash paid in kind with the presentation of a chicken, a few eggs, a piece of home-cured bacon or even, legend has it, a bit of ‘comfort’ for the lady herself.

Durty Nelly was a woman of considerable charm, known to the virile men of the day, from Galway to Cork, Dublin to Limerick. The highway into and out of the city of Limerick was always open to these … toll or no toll …Durty Nelly’s hospitality to the many travellers coming across the bridge gained her a place in many a man’s fond memories, handed down through the centuries.

Durty Nelly was also renowned for her little shebeen – a special corner of the house overlooking the river where she kept a jar of whiskey, the ‘good stuff’ on hand to warm the bellies of the tired and exhausted journeymen. There came an unfortunate night when one of those travellers, a rogue from Kilrush, crept in during the night and stole poor Nelly’s savings, all the gold coins she had collected at the bridge.

The following evening she went to bed broken-hearted and after a night of fitful sleep awoke with a start. Occupying her mind was a clear impression of a new recipe for whiskey.  She set to work straight away, filling four of her best earthen jars from her distillery in the woods.  As she laboured over the concoction she became more and more convinced that there was magic to this brew.

Only a short time later she came across an old Irish Wolfhound, on his last legs outside her front door. He was weak and feeble and was not long for this world.  Without really knowng why, Durty Nelly poured a drop of the poteen from one of the urns and carefully rubbed it into the dog’s muscles.  She left the dog to rest and took her place on the curved wall where she waited daily for the tolls. In the heat of the midday sun, she started to drop off.

Two or three hours later, she was disturbed from her slumber by a warm wet feeling in her palm – with a shock she realised it   was the Wolfhound, licking her hand.  He raced across the bridge exuberantly, showing no sign of his previous malaise. This extraordinary afternoon had not gone unnoticed by Nelly’s neighbours in Bunratty and news quickly spread that Durty Nelly had a special potion, one which would bring the gift of new life.

And so they came in droves from all over the country seeking “the cure” for that lame horse; the sick bainimh; the slowing greyhound or the muscle-bound athlete.  Each visitor left with a renewed vigour, cured of all ills. The Little House by the bridge grew with the increased trade and became a landmark in Munster for the high quality of its refreshments.”


Is this story a bit of Irish Blarney? I don’t know, but who cares? Here’s the important thing. Durty Nelly’s wants to win the Powers Whiskey best brew in Ireland. If you’d like to help them out,just hit the vote button on their website home page. Do it for Nelly.

More Travel Tips:

The Rock of Cashel is Not a Long Way From Tipperary
Waterford, Ireland’s Oldest City
Blarney Stone, a Gift to Writers


  1. Blarney or no, that a great story! I could use a bit of Durty Nelly’s potion right now . . . to increase my exuberance. :mrgreen:


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