In all our visits to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park (I think we're up to 5 now), I had never stopped to eat at Durty Nelly's, which sits in the shadows of the castle, its mustard exterior bright against the grey stones beyond.
Our lack of visits in the past can be blamed on timing – there was no need for a meal before or after the Medieval Banquet or Traditional Irish Night, we had arrived soon after a large breakfast, or we had dinner plans elsewhere. This past fall we made right on our exclusion of this historic pub and took the time for dinner after a Halloween visit to Bunratty.
For nearly 400 years, Durty Nelly's (yes, there was a real Durty Nelly) has been providing comfort and sustenance to travelers near and far. In days long past, Nelly was the keeper of the toll bridge that allowed access to the castle. Her legend lives on, slightly sanitized for young ears, in the pub and restaurant that bear her name, where you can sit, warm in the snug, a pint at your hand and the craic bouncing off the walls as it has for centuries.
Live music can be found nightly at Durty Nelly's, but you'll find a warm welcome and food all day.
5 Tasty Reasons to Eat at Durty Nelly's
Sticky Toffee Pudding Begin with the end in mind and be sure to save room for dessert! Drenched in butterscotch sauce and hazelnuts, this is a dessert you won't want to share.
Black Pudding and Goats Cheese Panini I am a huge fan of black pudding and never pass up an opportunity to enjoy it. Paired with rich goat cheese and topped with blueberry & apple jam, this is a memorable sandwich. It is served with thick cut, salty chips, delightfully crisp on the outside and the perfect mix of fluffy and creamy on the inside – they practically melt in your mouth.
Fish & Chips It may be a tad over-done of me to mention fish & chips in a pub, but this battered cod, perched on thick chips, is so tender and flaky. Just excellent.
Daily Specials Traditional Irish favorites get a new twist on the daily specials menu. Salmon baked with sun dried tomatoes and bacon was just one of the enticing features the day we visited.
Fine Dining Tucked upstairs at Durty Nelly's, you'll find The Loft, a beautiful ‘old world' dining experience. Open in the evenings only, the white clothed tables topped with candles are prefectly elegant amid wooden beams darkened with age and shining copper.
Lest you think Durty Nelly's is all about the adults, they also have a great kids menu with hand breaded chicken goujons, fish fingers, and one of the best cheeseburgers you'll ever taste (so says my eldest – and my husband).
For a little more Durty Nelly's ‘flavor' click over to YouTube and watch my interview with Maurice Walsh, Durty Nelly's charming manager.
Just a note for US readers: You've likely seen the name Durty Nelly's or Durty Nellie's on pubs around the US. The US pubs are in no way associated with the Original Durty Nelly's in Ireland. So don't let them have any bearing on your visit to this wonderful, historic spot.