Wednesday 18 July 2018

U2 set to build 'visitor and exhibition space' in Dublin city centre

It will house and display a range of U2 memorabilia never-before-seen

Recording artists Bono (L) and The Edge of music group U2 speak onstage during the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS)
Recording artists Bono (L) and The Edge of music group U2 speak onstage during the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS)

Eddie Rowley

ROCK supergroup U2 are to build their own exhibition centre in Dublin, set to become one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions.

It will house and display a range of U2 memorabilia never-before-seen and spanning the Irish quartet’s four decades in music on the international scene.

The new three-storey complex at No 15-18 Hanover Quay, described as a ‘U2 Visitor and Exhibition Space’, is to be constructed on the site of their current recording and rehearsal studio on the south docks where the band recorded many of their best known albums, including 1997’s ‘Pop’.

It will include a reconstruction of the band’s original studio, which has been their base for more than 20 years, plus various exhibit areas, an auditorium and a café.

U2 bought back the site from the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) for about €450,000 in 2014.

The DDDA originally forced the band to sell the old riverfront studio to them for an undisclosed price in 2002. This was to allow public amenity works relating to the development of the Grand Canal harbour area.

As part of that deal, the band was to take the top two floors of a 32-storey tower that was being planned on an adjacent quay, a project that was subsequently put on hold.

The planning application for the U2 visitor centre was yesterday advertised by their companies, Golden Brook Limited and MHEC Ltd, and reveal that the development will involve the demolition and replacement of their old recording and rehearsal two-storey studio, which has become a Mecca for U2 fans from around the world.

It is the second major development announced for the area in the last week.

The U2 rock ‘n’ roll museum will be located beside a new 20-bedroom boutique hotel which their close friend, property developer Harry Crosbie, intends to build on the site of his current home at 9 Hanover Quay.

Harry’s hotel, to be called ‘Number 9’, will feature a restaurant and bar. Each bedroom will have a balcony overlooking the water.

Crosbie, who lives at the current property with his wife, Rita, intends to move to a two-bed apartment on the top floor of the hotel when it’s built.

The couple have been living in the 18th Century warehouse for the last 27 years, and among their many visitors to the property were their pals, U2’s Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen.

While visiting Harry’s house, the band discovered his warehouse next door and recognised it as a suitable space for recording and rehearsing. They then bought it from Mr Crosbie.

After U2 moved in more than 20 years ago, Harry would famously tell the media and acquaintances that he had “a noisy band” living next door, and joke that he had to regularly bang on his wall to get them to quieten down.

Crosbie, the pioneer behind a string of iconic buildings in Dublin’s docklands, restored The Clarence Hotel in Dublin with U2.

The popular businessman recently announced that he’s planning a major development at his Vicar Street site, with a new four-star hotel that includes a ‘rock and Room’ concept.

It will give clients a package that includes tickets to shows at Vicar Street with a hotel room and meal, plus access to a membership club on the top floor and a 7,000 sq ft bar with the same views as the Guinness Storehouse.

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