“Durty Nellys has a catchy name and a genuine story behind it. When you open a Pub, you have to have a name people will remember. You have to have a product that connects with people. Our mission statement has been to provide a legendary Irish hospitality experience from day one,” says Joe.

Irish Pubs Global spoke to Durty Nellys owner Joe McGuinness about his pub and his involvement with the documentary ‘Belfast: Students in Conflict’

Joe’s family, originally from Dublin, has strong ties to the Guinness Brewery over at St. James’s Gate. Back in 1975, at the beginning of his career, he began working at Murphy’s Irish Pub (now the Cobblestone Pub) in Smithfield and followed that up by graduating from Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology, which saw him find work soon after at Sheraton Hotels, where he really learned to ply his trade.

Thirty-four years on, in February 2009, Joe opened Durty Nellys in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on the basis that there were very few Irish Pubs in the region.

As Joe himself puts it, “Canadians do like their pubs, they are a very social kind of people and they do like their entertainment, especially Celtic entertainment”.

Nova Scotia is deeply embedded in Irish roots, even to the point that St. Anne’s, the only Irish college in North America, is based there and the actual street signs around the area are printed as Gaeilge!

This made the proposition of setting up a pub in the region a highly lucrative one for Joe; however, he confesses that locals never knew what ‘craic’ was “but we’re telling and showing them!’

Literally, this latter point is emphasised on the side of an Ambassador bus, which greets tourists with a Durty Nellys advertisement the minute they step off one of the many cruise ships that frequent the area.

Now Joe is looking further afield to the glamorous world of show business. Joe is no stranger to the world of Hollywood, previously gaining the help of a celebrity chef, with links to Tinsletown’s elite, to help in the design of Durty Nellys menu.

Notably, this latter decision featured on the food Networks’ television series ‘The Opener’, which, as Joe says, “resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of free publicity for the pub.”

Getting back to colleges for the moment, Joe reveals his plans for the future, with a production credit in a documentary with the working title ‘Belfast: Students in Conflict’. Two graduate students, of St. Mary’s college, will film the documentary, which covers “how both sides of the community are now trying to come together and create a peaceful future for everybody” says Joe.

Joe will sponsor the project and the means for the filmmakers to travel across to Northern Ireland. A number of fundraising events will be taking place at Durty Nellys in the coming future with proceeds donated towards the production.

Joe sums up; “Anything we can do to support their efforts on higher learning and the peace process in Northern Ireland, to show we have moved on from the past, we’re all about that phenomenal cause.”

Filming takes place in Belfast this February.