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Tales of The Harbour Bar: The one about the fire…

Tales of The Harbour Bar: The one about the fire…

If you’ve visited upstairs in The Harbour Bar, you’ve probably noticed many of the little knick-knacks and curios that hint at the pub’s rich history throughout the years. However, only the eagle-eyed will have noticed some scorch marks on the rafters, just above the green pantry by the door to the ladies’ toilets. We asked Paul O’Toole Sr. to tell us the tale...

It was lunchtime on August Bank Holiday Sunday back in 1955 - one of the busiest days of the year for The Harbour Bar - when a fire was started upstairs, in what was then the living quarters. 

Paul O’Toole's younger brother, Gabriel, was crouched on the floor with a box of matches. He was striking them to try and shed light under the bed, when suddenly the bedclothes caught alight. The flames spread quickly, engulfing the bedroom as the young Master O’Toole ran for help. 

In 1955, Bray had no full-time firemen and was staffed by volunteers who would run to the station from their homes (or the pubs they were in) when they heard the siren ringing in the Town Hall on the Main Street. The brigade arrived on the scene, climbed onto the roof, knocked a hole and fed the hose through. 

Luckily for the family, the customers - and, indeed, for us - disaster was averted! The fire was controlled and no one was hurt, locals helped to move any perishables from the bar downstairs, and neighbours took in the O’Toole children for a few weeks while the damage was repaired. The bar was even open again the following day in time for the Bank Holiday Monday revellers. The roof was repaired, and the place was back to normal after a few weeks. 

And what became of young Gabriel O’Toole, you ask? His brother Paul tells us that their father was so angry, he said the boy would not be able to attend Presentation College, as hoped, and was shipped off to the French Foreign Legion instead. The next time they heard from him, he was battling the Taliban on the Khyber Pass..! 

Gabriel has since retired from the military. He lives in Co. Donegal and is a successful painter. 

Posted by The Harbour Bar on September 29 2014

Happy Birthday To Us!

Happy Birthday To Us!

Last Friday evening, we threw a little bash to say a big thank you to all of our fantastic, loyal customers who've been so good to us over the past 12 months!

We hung the bunting, distributed the obligatory party bags, donned some classy party hats and then sat back and enjoyed some pretty epic sets in the Live Lounge courtesy of The Eskies, Blind Yackety, Wyvern Lingo, The Viking Project, Mongoose, Conor Linnie, Coddle, Fever and Toasted Special. 


You've been incredibly supportive of us and the massively talented bands and singers we've been lucky enough to host in the Live Lounge and Main Bar. You create the warm atmosphere, the unique buzz and the mighty craic. You truly make The Harbour Bar the best little bar in the word - yis are a bunch of legends! 


Posted by The Harbour Bar on September 08 2014

New Term at The Harbour Bar

New Term at The Harbour Bar

Right gang, enough of your tomfoolery, it's time to knuckle down.

Please find the attached timetable for the coming month and study it carefully. 

Now is the perfect time to get involved in one of the many extra curricular activities taking place in The Harbour Bar.

Monday: Seaweed Sessions under the moose - an eclectic acoustic jamboree

Tuesday: The Circle Sessions in the conservatory - storytelling, poetry, music 

                Tom's Beer Club upstairs - tasting and talking about beer. Every second Tuesday (see

Wednesday: Brand New Switcharoo in the Main Bar- Trad / Bluegrass

                     Cult Film Club upstairs - cult film screenings every second Wednesday and one Sunday a month (see

Thursday: Rake the Ashes in the Main Bar - Trad

Friday: Crooked Jack & Friends in the Main Bar - Trad

Saturday: Seoid​ín in the Main Bar - Trad

Posted by The Harbour Bar on September 01 2014