A Quick Stop Over, A Guinness And A Surprise Irish Pub in Nelspruit *

The thought of drinking Guinness or finding an Irish Pub in Africa never occurred to me. Luxuries like that seem a world away, and besides the culture of the local pubs I was in far outweight those experiences spent indoors in a bland Irish themed pub. I was in Shebeens in Soweto. I was in local pubs in Durban. I was in roadside drinking dens in Swaziland. I was in posh nightclubs and swanky outdoor pubs in Botswana. I was sampling the local beers and loving the bar life of these three countries in the south of Africa. Then on a sunny lunch time, my bus to Johannesburg stopped off in a car park in Nelspruit…

And there, in bottle green colour right in front of me was an Irish Pub! O’Hara’s. Given that it was actually the only pub in this remote car park in Nelspruit, and the fact that I was thirsty and hungry, going inside wasn’t an option, it was a cert! The fact that it happened to be an Irish Pub made it more unreal and exciting. The entrance above, featuring two local South Africans welcoming you on the door was certainly an Irish Pub with a difference. It was a hot hot day and I was wearing my Glentoran shirt.

Once inside I sat myself right at the bar where a Guinness sign stood out. After weeks of the locals beers, I just had to have a Guinness!

There were fruit machines in a separate section and the pub wasn’t busy (given it was around 12noon). But the music was good and the decor was typically Irish. I got my Northern Ireland flag out for a photo of course. All the staff were local South Africans, this was possibly the first Irish Bar I had been in without a white person working there. Oddly there were a few other white customers though.

A Northern Irish whiskey also sat proudly on an optic behind the bar. Bushmills!

The bar was named after a certain Siamus O’Hagan. Alllegedly. Some of these photos aren’t great sadly. His poem/ballad above.

The view into the restaurant and actually looking at that photo, if the time was correct then it was only half eleven.

Bliss my first ever Guinness in South Africa, or indeed Africa. A random fact for you is that in Nigeria more Guinness is sold and consumed than in any other country in the world. This was South Africa however and my fresh pint of black stuff tasted as good as ever.

I was hungry but despite them having Irish breakfasts and some decent grub options, I decided to save my money. I was on a stop over you see, and my bus was heading onwards from Nelspruit to Johannesburg so I figured I could save money by getting some hot food to take on the bus (which I did for much cheaper). Incidentally divide most of the South African Rand figures by 10 and you get the price in British Pounds, therefore an Irish breakfast here in Nelspruit would skin you 6 pounds 50.

Main entrance. Would liked to have seen it at night, looked like a fun wee pub. But alas this was a journey to Johannesburg, not to an Irish Pub in Nelspruit!

And just to remind you we are in South Africa, here’s the local stuff on the menu. Appetising. Indeed South African cuisine is superb.

The friendly bouncer  on the entrance who waved me goodbye as I got my bus to Johannesburg.

Next door to the Irish Pub was an off licence so I was still thirsty and fancied a couple of cans for my bus trip (would be about 4 – 5hours longer depending on stops). I bought myself a tin of Castle Milk Stout (excellent) and a tin of Phoenix Mountain Beer (a new one on me – and from Zimbabwe).

The view of Nelspruit suburbs from where our bus stopped. I think it was an area called Son Park.

All the shops etc. in the large shopping centre/road side stop at Son Park.

I got myself a very cheap pork style hot dog roll for the bus.

The view from my Castle Milk Stout as we left Nelspruit behind. As irony would have it, we drove past Belfast soon after…

And my second beer, which I drank much later on arrival in Johannesburg. We had left Nelspruit behind. A main reason for visiting Nelspruit is to see Kruger National Park. I hadn;t managed that on this trip and merely passed through the city, with a stop over, a Guinness and an Irish Pub being my consolation. A pretty pleasing stop over then, and to date my only ever Guinness in Africa!

Where – O’Hagan’s Irish Pub, Sonpark Centre, Corner of Barbeton and Daan Pienaar Road, Nelspruit, SOUTH AFRICA

Ambience – Irish, Comfy and Casual

Monday to Sunday – 10 am to close (varies on business)

Nationalities Met – South African

Drink – Guinness

Price of a Guinness – 60 Rand (about 6 pounds – ouch! Hence why I didn’t also eat in there!)

Website – http://www.ohagans.co.za/

Key Song – 

MANIC STREET PREACHERS – REMOVABLES (I didn’t hang around for long):

My Video –


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