In the Land of Saints and Sinners: Is J. Wright Pub a Real Place?

‘In the Land of Saints and Sinners’ charts a narrative about a small Irish town that is visited by a storm of trouble when the arrival of a few IRA members sparks a battle with a world-weary veteran, setting both parties on a path of aggressive vengeance. The protagonist, Finbar Murphy, a covert hitman, has partaken in his fair share of violence. Therefore, after IRA member Doireann McCann’s brother, Curtis, commits an unforgivable act by terrorizing a local kid, Moya, he easily garners Finbar’s ire, leading to grave measures.

The ensuing rivalry between Doireann and Finbar that follows results in a hostile confrontation at the local pub. Thus, the film features the J. Wright pub in a significant role as the location for its storyline’s taut climax. For the same reason, the pub may attract the audience’s attention regarding its basis in reality.

J. Wright Pub: A Fictional Small-Town Social Hotspot

‘In the Land of Saints and Sinners’ sees the unraveling of its storyline within a small Irish community in County Donegal, which notably informs the story’s thematic resonance. Donegal maintains relevance whenever possible through themes like seeking escapism but still finding oneself confronted with one’s sins and discovering redemption within close-knit social circles. Even so, despite the County’s realistic existence, the J. Wright Wines and Spirits, which fulfills the role of the local pub, doesn’t seem to hold tangible connections to real-life establishments. It is likely that a similar establishment exists in Donegal, which may have even been used during the film’s development— considering Director Robert Lorenz chose to film on location in the same County.

In fact, the town’s reportedly vintage visual aesthetic due to a lack of modern architecture informs the film’s ability to transform the narrative into a period-appropriate era. Still, the exact existence of the J. Wright Pub cannot be confirmed due to a lack of records. As such, since J. Wright Pub’s real-life existence cannot be linked to any recorded small-town pubs, the fictional film renders the establishment a similarly fictional piece of work. Nevertheless, the on-screen pub’s disposition as a small-town hub plays into the general perception of similar real-life iterations of such locations.

For instance, J. Wright Pub— simply titled after the owner— sports a welcoming space for the community to converse and bond, opening avenues in the film to develop the relationships between characters. Furthermore, narratively, the pub provides an easy spot for the final gathering of characters to facilitate the climactic conclusion of the plot’s bubbling tension. In that regard, the J. Wright Pub strengthens the film’s unconventional ties to the Western genre by infusing a classic “bar brawl” into the plotline. Consequently, despite its fictionality, the J. Wright Pub plays into all the conventions expected of a small-town hub.

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