When you pass through the giant medieval-esque doors of Fionn MacCool’s you enter another world. Dark ambiance, a finely crafted wooden bar (from Ireland), and the smell of comfort foods like shepherd's pie and fish and chips defines the Fionn MacCool experience. It is the quintessential Irish pub and restaurant with delicious food made from scratch and a warm welcoming atmosphere where Guinness flows freely. The good news is Fionn MacCool’s will open a new 150-seat Nocatee Location in December at the Shoppes of St. Johns Oaks (145 Hilden Road).
St. Johns magazine wanted to learn more about the people behind Fionn MacCool’s so we spoke with Amy McNulty, who owns and runs the business with co-owners Joe Moye (her brother) and General Manager Paul Glaser.
Amy had always wanted to open an authentic Irish pub. A place that would reflect her love for Irish culture and her Irish ancestry. “Our great grandparents were from County Cork. As natives of Jacksonville we wanted a genuine and authentic Irish experience at home”. They chose to expand in St. Johns county because of the tremendous growth in the area.
After visiting Ireland numerous times, even running in the Dublin Marathon, she had experienced a variety of pubs and done her research. She was ready to make the dream a reality and opened Fionn MacCool’s in 2005. She says, “Fionn’s is a genuine Irish Pub. The word pub is derived from “Public House”, originally a place for everyone to meet and relax after a long day’s work. We have great food, great service, live music, and plenty of pints and whiskey! We want everyone to feel welcome and comfortable, as if you were coming into our home” Another part of what gives Fionn MacCool’s is authenticity may be the fact that furnishings, bar and cabinetry are built in Ireland.
“We want people in St. Johns to know that Fionn MacCool’s is great for Everybody. “Its a family place, a pub and a restaurant where any age is welcome from little kids to retirees and everyone in between," Joe added.
General Manager Paul Glaser has been in the restaurant business his entire adult life, joining Fionn MacCool’s twelve years ago. “I treat each day like I am throwing a party at my house and I want every guest to be happy they came and had an exceptional time”. A feeling of hospitality definitely permeates the atmosphere. They strive to make people feel special and happy. Paul recalled once when a young navy guy asked them to help him with his marriage proposal. “He came to me the week before and wanted to propose on our river patio and wanted to film it but the camera had to be hidden so she wouldn't get tipped off. So we had a decoy table set up with people hiding behind menus with the camera a few tables away. He wanted a special song to be played so we had a portable radio for the ready too. He got up went inside like he was going to the restroom and we set everything in motion. He knocked on the window from inside. When he walked back out on the patio we started the song and camera he got down on one knee and proposed it was very romantic for a young guy. His girl said yes and we had it all on film. We popped open a bottle of champagne for them. As far as we know they are happily married to this day.”
What would an Irish pub be without a good ancient tale behind it? The restaurant is named for Fionn mac Cumhaill or “Finn McCool” who is known for being a great warrior in Irish myths. He was the greatest leader of the Fianna, an elite military clan responsible for the protection of the High King of Ireland. Fionn implemented a code of honor into the Fianna; which had a reputation for being somewhat unruly. Another legend includes Fionn as a giant, creating the Giant’s Causeway, a peculiar series of volcanic rock formations along the coast of Ireland. He did this to challenge a Scottish giant to a fight and allow passage from Scotland to Ireland.
Please look forward to next month’s issue when our Foodie Blogger Lori Allen will give you the scoop on the food at Fionn MacCool’s! www.fionnmacs.com/www.fionnmacs.com/
St. Johns Magazine