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Mark Kirwan / Daniel O’Connell’s Restaurant

Posted on May 05,2008
Filed Under Local Leaders , Community,

Daniel O’Connell’s Restaurant

112 King Street

Alexandria, VA 22314

(703) 739-1124

About the group:

O’Connell’s has three partners – Mark Kirwan, John Brennan, and Billy O’Sullivan. All are Irish. Mark, the sole partner on this side of the pond, was the business development manager for Guinness in the US. John owns other restaurants in Ireland, and Billy’s forte' is interior design, which he has applied to multiple bars and restaurants in Europe. Mark sat with us for the interview.

About O’Connell’s:

O’Connell’s is a “Modern Irish restaurant in an ancient Irish setting”, states Kirwan. “There’s no new wood in the building – all the architectural details were discovered in Ireland and shipped here. Even the workers were brought in from Ireland to reconstruct the setting. Parts of the bar are older than the United States”. Each bar on the premises is named after one of the owners. “The smoker bar is named after John, who’s the only one of us who smokes”.

O’Connell’s philosophy:

‘Experience what Ireland is like today. However you enter, be it shorts or a suit, we want you to feel welcome”

Why did you choose to do this?

“We want to show there’s no beef between Ireland and the US, and we want to solidify the relationship between the two countries.”

Why Alexandria?

“I’ve been waiting for the right place since 2001. A lot of Old Town is actually quite similar to Ireland. If I close my eyes and open them quickly, I feel I’m back in Ireland”.

Interesting Story?

“I believe this place is haunted”, Mark admitted to us. “During renovation, workers were busy removing old equipment when I stepped out for a coffee. When I returned, everyone was outside ashen-faced. They told me there was a ghost in the building and they weren’t going to reenter. I didn’t believe them, and entered the building alone. Since I was going to do some work on the second floor, I locked myself in and proceeded upstairs. Suddenly, I heard a great crash and ran back down to investigate. All bottles that were behind the bar were now shattered and strewn across the floor on the other side of the room. Again, I was the only one in the building and the door was locked!”

Message to readers:

“Come and experience Ireland in this century. Taste, smell, and feel what Ireland is like today.”

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