The Blue Light is a pub commanding a spectacular view over the city of Dublin, located over 700 feet above Dublin Bay. Established in 1870 and located in Barnacullia - translated from the Irish as 'top of the woods' - in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains. The name of the pub is said to have originated in the mid 1800's when people used to smuggle wine and brandy into Ireland years ago to avoid tax. There were customs officials patrolling Dublin Bay. The locals hatched a plan that someone on the inside would signal to Barnacullia when the customs officers went off duty and the pub would light a blue ship lantern, which could be seen from Dublin Bay, and let the smugglers know that the coast was clear for them to row in on little boats to bring the contraband into shore in Killiney. These days, the pub is no longer involved in smuggling contraband items, but the blue light still shines every night from the front of the bar.
The Blue Light is a great example of a Co. Dublin pub, with peat fires and good music, in close proximity to the larger urban area. Once ensconced here the visitor is totally oblivious to the teeming hordes of the nearby metropolis. The pub has three areas: a lounge, a smaller bar and an impressive outdoor courtyard. The bar and the lounge are divided into upper and lower levels with each room beautifully decorated with traditional Irish pub decor and historical artefacts. At the bar the perfect pint of Guinness is at the ready. Live music every night and turf fires all day every day. What more could one want? On my most recent visit, it was miserable and lashing rain but inside a turf fire was burning, the Guinness was flowing and the fiddle was playing. The perfect setting to switch off and enjoy a cosy evening.
Step outside and you have one of the best views of Dublin city you will find. The view is amazing both day and night. In the sunshine the car park doubles up as a beer garden and the craic is only mighty. When the chill comes it's time to head back inside to sit back, listen to the crackle of the open fire, the sounds of laughter and enjoy the live music and soak up the atmosphere.
U2 used to gig here in the late 1970s, and have enjoyed pints here regularly over the decades. It is rumoured Bono once wanted to buy the pub, but the owner was not interested in selling. There is a second U2 story attached to the Blue Light. In 1989 bass guitarist Adam Clayton was arrested for possession of drugs in the car park here. During a routine check by Gardaí they found nineteen grams of cannabis in his possession. He was charged with possession and suspicion of dealing. Though at first arrested, it ended in him getting a penalty of £25.000 Irish pounds payable to a women’s shelter.
This long standing pub has been the centre of many a good story and many a great night. It combines nightly live music, one of the best views of Dublin, a cosy fireside setting and a taste of real Dublin banter. This bar has so much soul that they could sell it wrapped in newspaper with chips. Once you go here you will want to come back, even though it's a little bit of a journey for most living in Dublin, it's well worth it. No strangers here, just folks coming together for a common cause...a bit of chat, a few refreshments and a drop of music in the background. Lovely stuff!