Raise a Glass to Ireland’s First Female Landlady at This Dublin Pub

by | 20 Mar 2024

You can still see nods to her dotted throughout the bar, including a stained-glass panel of Nancy herself

If you like your Irish pub with an interesting story to tell, then you better get yourself to the Nancy Hands. This is a Dublin pub that rivals any museum of Irish culture and history, complete with stories in every corner.

To learn more about the history of this iconic pub, and its famous namesake owner, we spoke to Natasha Schiller, Events Manager at The Nancy Hands.


A Dublin pub with a difference

“Nancy was the first ever female owner of a pub, both in Dublin and in Ireland. The pub has been here for 150 years, dating back to the Public House era at the end of the 18th century,” Natasha tells us.

“Throughout her tenure as landlady, Nancy lived on the top floor. You can still see nods to her, and her heritage dotted throughout the bar, including a stained-glass panel of Nancy herself.”

Often the heart of Irish villages, providing shelter, sustenance and a place for storytelling and celebrations, the oldest Irish pubs date from the 10th century. They’ve served as important social hubs, places of gathering, and centers of community life, and are an essential for any visitor to the Emerald Isle. Head to a pub in any city or town and before you know it, you’ll be chatting to the locals and being regaled with stories and tales.

With free time in Dublin on all of our premium tours to Ireland, visit the Nancy Hands for yourself 


A pioneering businesswoman

“Back in the 18th century, there were a lot of religious laws, including what was known as the Holy Hour,” Natasha explains. “This was two hours of the day when all the businesses and establishments had to shut, between two and four in the afternoon, every Sunday after Mass.

“Now Nancy, was a businesswoman, and she didn’t want to lose out. So, when she had to send a customer outside at two o’clock, to keep on serving, she would let them order through a little hole at the front of the restaurant. As she would serve them, all you could see were her hands. So that’s where the name came from. The hole is filled in now and there’s a postage box that marks the spot.”

Enjoy time in Ireland’s capital and many country pubs on Country Roads of Ireland

a close up shot of a brown bear’s face, with shaggy brown fur

The serving hatch that Nancy used to hand customers their drinks has since been repurposed as a post box

As much a museum as a pub

“There’s quite a few old features in the pub still today” says Natasha. “We like to say that the pub itself is quite like a museum. We have a lot of different things that have been collected over the time, including an old steam engine.

“We have an old clock in machine which came from an old bakery. It dates back to the 1900’s, but still works today. And in our kitchen, we have these were vault openings from a Dublin bank in the 1940’s. We have pews from a church in Cork and a staircase that came from Trinity College, which was featured in the popular film “Educating Rita” starring Michael Caine and Julie Walters.

“So, it’s a Dublin pub that is really like a museum. You could spend hours looking around looking at all the different things. We also have a lot of old Guinness posters – the pub is located opposite the brewery – they’re all original, some are even antiques.”

Explore the Guinness Storehouse on a special tour on: Britain & Ireland Explorer


A taste of Irish hospitality

“Well with the Guinness brewery just over the world we like to boast we have the freshest Guinness! You can even smell the hops in the air we are so close” says Natasha. “We’re an all-round kind of pub, we serve classic Irish fare, traditional dishes and great sandwiches, so perfect for lunch or evening. You must try the Nancy burger and we promise a warm Irish welcome for all. We have traditional live music every week as well, with the best local musicians coming together to play.”

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a close up shot of a brown bear’s face, with shaggy brown fur

There’s a superstition at Trinity College that if students pass beneath the bell tower while the bell is tolling, they’ll fail all their classes

Explore Dublin with Insight Vacations

Travel with us and all of our Ireland premium tours go through Dublin with plenty of time to visit the Nancy Hands pub if you wish. Also, when in the city, enjoy a city tour accompanied by a Local Expert to see Custom House, Christchurch Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. You’ll also enjoy entrance to see the 9th century Book of Kells at Dublin’s famous Trinity College. A stunning combination of cobblestone walkways, emerald-green lawns and 18th-century architectural gems, Trinity College is one of Europe’s elite universities and counts poet Oscar Wilde among its alumni.

To see all this history for yourself, visit Dublin pub the Nancy Hands pub at 30-32 Parkgate St, Stoneybatter, Dublin with your free time on one of our premium tours to Ireland.

If you love stories about pioneering women, you should take a look at our Women-Only Tours, packed with experiences featuring inspirational females.

I'm a writer, editor and interview specialist with a lifetime's love of travel. There’s nothing more inspiring to me than meeting, and writing about, the world's leading destination experts and travel industry insiders. The thing I love most about writing for Insightful is that I'm always learning something new.