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The Bray Cult Film Club

The Bray Cult Film Club

The Bray Cult Film Club will be kicking off with The Big Lebowski in The Harbour Bar at 8pm on the 11th of June. Come down and worship His Dudeness, Duder, El Duderino with a white Russian and your bathrobe.

Both The Harbour Bar and Bray (home of Ardmore Studios) have a strong connection with film so we’re taking a quick look at two Irish films that were filmed, or partly filmed, in Bray.

The Miracle, 1991. Dir: Neil Jordan

This little-known film takes place almost entirely in Bray. Two teenagers, Jimmy and Rose, spend their summer wiling away the days by making up exciting imaginary lives for the townspeople around them. When a glamorous blonde steps off the DART, played by Beverly D’Angelo, life becomes more exciting. He quickly develops a crush on her but a family secret changes everything. Jordan filmed many scenes along Bray promenade and in Martello Terrace where he lived at the time. It features the acclaimed stage and film actor, Donal McCann, in the role of Jimmy’s father. Some Bray folk might recall the filming which included a circus on the promenade. Paul O’Toole Snr remembers the circus animals loose on the prom during the shoot. Unfortunately we can’t find any photos of this!

Check out this clip to see some familiar sights: 

Breakfast on Pluto, 2005. Dir: Neil Jordan

Another Neil Jordan film, Breakfast on Pluto, features a scene filmed in The Harbour Bar with Paul O’Toole Snr as the barman! Though he only had one line in a scene with Cillian Murphy and Brendan Gleeson, he said it took plenty of takes to get the perfect one. 

The film is an adaptation of the Pat McCabe novel about a young transgender woman and her coming of age story. It follows Patrick “Kitten” Brady, played by Cillian Murphy, as she grows up in Northern Ireland and moves to London in the 1970s in search of her mother.

The Bray Cult Film Club will be screening great films in The Harbour Bar regularly so keep an eye on the Facebook page for details.

Posted by Harbour Bar on May 26 2014

Did you ever hear of the bona fide loophole?

Before 1960 the licensing laws in Ireland were much more restrictive and pubs were unable to serve alcohol on Sundays unless you were a bona fide traveller who lived a minimum of 3 miles from the pub. This was a quirk in the law left over from the days of coach travel (the horse and carriage type rather than the Finnegan’s type) and was meant to serve people when travelling was a bigger ordeal.

Perhaps the Intoxicating Liquor Act of 1927 will explain it better:

"For the purposes of this section a person shall not be a bona fide traveller unless either the place where he lodged during the previous night is situate in a county borough and is at least five miles (measured by the shortest public thoroughfare) distant from the place where he demands to be supplied with intoxicating liquor, or the place where he lodged during the previous night is situate elsewhere than in a county borough and is at least three miles (similarly measured) distant from the place where he demands to be supplied with intoxicating liquor."

Perhaps not. This law was increasingly regarded as ridiculous by many and people began to find ways around it. Paul O’Toole Senior remembers in his youth when the “3 mile” radius rule was subverted when locals from Shankill would come to Bray to have a drink on a Sunday and vice versa. Though not everyone would make the trip to Shankill and many pubs, The Harbour Bar being one of them, would sometimes bend the rules.

O’Toole recalls having a doorman on hand to determine the bona fides of the traveller and if a local turned up he might be given a wink which signalled he was to go around the back into the store room which is now the cosy Backroom/Parlour. So you would have the Shankill folk in the front of the pub and the Bray locals in the back! If the Gardaí were to arrive the illicit drinkers would be hooshed upstairs while James O’Toole would hide the evidence of the Sunday speakeasy. If caught, there would be a fine to pay.

This rather ridiculous law became unenforceable for the Gardaí and it was abolished in 1960 and opening hours were extended on Sundays, though still with a two hour closure in the afternoon.

So the next time you’re enjoying a pint on a Sunday be glad you’re not forced to walk three miles down the road or sipping your pint out the back, whispering beside a row of kegs!

Posted by Harbour Bar on May 26 2014

June Newsletter

June Newsletter

Take a look at our June newsletter next time you stop into the bar. To celebrate the beginning of summer our newsletter this month features a map of Bray with a list of things to do while in Bray for the day. 

Posted by Harbour Bar on May 26 2014

Zaska at the Harbour Bar

Max Zaska is a fantastically talented musician who is already well on his way to superstardom. He stopped by the Harbour bar recently to record this lovely little tune with band members Karen Cowley and Keith Fennell.

Posted by Harbour Bar on May 26 2014