Sunday 22 September 2019

U2's Dublin: 10 iconic landmarks in the band's home city

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Adam Clayton and The Edge perform during U2's 360 Degrees World Tour at Croke Park on July 25, 2009. Photo by Neil Lupin/Redferns)
Adam Clayton and The Edge perform during U2's 360 Degrees World Tour at Croke Park on July 25, 2009. Photo by Neil Lupin/Redferns)
Cedarwood Road, Glasnevin
U2's Joshua Tree Tour in Croke Park, June 1987 (Photo: Independent Archives)
Clarence hotel
U2 Exhibition, Little Museum of Dublin
Graffiti nea U2's Hanover Quay studios. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile
Windmill Lane, Dublin

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30 years since The Joshua Tree, U2 will play the entire album live in Croke Park (July 22). What better time to follow in their Dublin footsteps?

We've teamed up with to highlight ten of the best city sites associated with the band... from former homes to one of Europe's biggest stadiums.

1. Cedarwood Road

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Cedarwood Road, Glasnevin

Start at the beginning! Glasnevin's Cedarwood Road is where Bono grew up - in a modest-looking, privately-owned pebble-dash house. He sings about his childhood in a song of the same name from band's 2014 album, Songs of Innocence.

Number 10 has been home to different families since 1986, but U2 fans still swing by for selfies - particularly when a new album or tour is in full swing.

"A nice street full of nice families - people who shaped my world view," Bono wrote in the album notes. "But there was a lot of violence nearby in my teenage years..."

Larry Mullen Jr, meanwhile, grew up at 60 Rosemount Avenue in Artane, where the (then nameless) band held their first meeting and audition. "I was in charge for the first five minutes," Mullen has said. "As soon as Bono got there, I was out of a job."

Not far from there, off the Malahide Road, is Mount Temple, the multi-denominational school where the four members of U2 first came together after Mullen pinned the now-famous note seeking potential bandmates on the school notice board.

More: 'Songs of Innocence' -10 locations that influenced the evolution of U2

2. Fitzwilliam Square

Remember when Bono set off on a horse and carriage ride with wife Ali in 'The Sweetest Thing' (2009)? That was on Fitzwilliam Square.

The Georgian strip hasn't changed much in the ensuing two decades (just don't expect marching bands or elephants). Best random moment? Watch out for a very boyish-looking Boyzone joining the bandwagon at 0.40. Yegadz!

Other U2 videos featuring scenes from Dublin include Gloria, A Celebration, Pride (In The Name of Love) and Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own.

3. Bonavox store

The busy strip from the Spire down to Connolly station boasts several buildings of interest for the U2 aficionado, including the Bonavox hearing aid store (9 North Earl Street) from which Paul Hewson took the name ‘Bono’.

 Aptly, the name means 'good voice' in Latin.

Nearby, the former Moran’s Hotel (now O’Shea’s) is where U2 and many of their contemporaries played in the late 1970s, and Talbot Street was in Bono’s mind when he wrote the powerful ‘Raised by Wolves’ from Songs of Innocence.

"On any other Friday I would have been at this record shop, but I cycled to school that day," he later said of Golden Discs on Talbot Street. It was caught in one of three UVF bombs detonated in the capital on May 17, 1974.

4. The Clarence Hotel

Originally built in 1852 and set near Grattan Bridge, The Clarence is famously owned by Bono and The Edge (together with developer Paddy McKillen). The band once played 'Beautiful Day' live from the rooftop for Top of the Pops.

Across the road from the rear of the hotel (on East Essex Street) sits The Project Arts Centre - though substantially revamped today, it was here that future manager Paul McGuinness first saw the band play.

More: The Dublin Bucket List: 30 things to do in the city before you die

5. Croke Park

U2's Joshua Tree Tour in Croke Park, June 1987 (Photo: Independent Archives)

GAA headquarters has been a fixture of U2’s Dublin shows since The Unforgettable Fire Tour in 1985 (the above photo is from The Joshua Tree Tour of 1987).

Of course, the old ground has undergone a major facelift since then and today's stadium tour and museum visit are hot tickets themselves... visitors get to go pitchside, step into the changing rooms and explore the highest corners of the Cusack Stand.

The Etihad Skyline Tour also delivers a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city and offers a birds eye vantage of Europe’s fourth biggest stadium by capacity.

More: Croke Park Stadium Tour: Inside Ireland's sporting cathedral

6. Little Museum of Dublin

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U2 Exhibition, Little Museum of Dublin

Wanna catch up on your U2 history? Drop into the small-but-perfectly formed Little Museum of Dublin (, where you'll find U2: Made in Dublin.

The pint-sized (but permanent) exhibition boasts signed albums, a Trabant car (from their Achtung Baby days) and even U2-branded condoms...

Across the road, St Stephen’s Green was where Bono and the Edge grazed lambs after being awarded the Freedom of Dublin in 2000, as its arcane rules permitted them to do. Also nearby is the former site of The Dandelion Market, where the band played early gigs (admission was rather good value at 50p).

7. The Point/3Arena

U2 at the 3Arena on November 23, 2015

The 14,000-capacity 3Arena is where U2 played their first indoor shows in Dublin in 26 years - during the 2015 Songs of Experience Tour. Its old incarnation, The Point, saw the band playing a trio of celebrated shows at the end of 1989.

The old venue also featured prominently in the U2 movie, Rattle & Hum - it was about to be transformed into a music venue, but at the time of filming still bore the hallmarks of its original use - a train carriage depot.

8. Hanover Quay

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Graffiti nea U2's Hanover Quay studios. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile

Hanover Quay, in the rapidly gentrifying Grand Canal Dock, is the 21st century Mecca for visiting U2 fans - the band's studio has been here for over 20 years.

Look out for the low-rise, warehouse-style building looking a little lost alongside modern piles like the five-star Marker Hotel and Daniel Libeskind-designed Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.

Windmill Lane was of course the site of U2's most famous recording studio and an iconic graffiti wall. It was demolished in 2015, however.

You'll find another memorial to Irish music in Temple Bar, where U2 feature among other acts on the Wall of Fame.

More: U2's iconic studio at Windmill Lane is demolished

9. Killiney

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Killiney Bay, Dublin

'Tis far from Killiney Bono was reared, but this is where the singer resides today - in a spanking mansion overlooking 'Ireland's Bay of Naples'.

It's said that the stunning view of the Irish Sea from Vico Road provided the inspiration for the band's No Line on the Horizon album, and the picture-postcard village of Dalkey is also a popular stomping ground for the singer.

More: Top 10: Dublin from the DART

10. Baggot Street

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David Bowie leaves The Baggot Inn after a Small Gig

The Baggot Inn has been given a facelift in recent years (it's now Mexican-themed 'party cavern' Xico), but it was here in 1978 that the embryonic U2 played a residency that helped them hone their craft... and grow their audience.

The iconic venue hosted more than its fair share of famous acts over the years - including surprise performances by David Bowie (above). At least it still exists, unlike other landmarks in the band's career such as The Dandelion Market and McGonagles.

For more on Dublin by foot, see

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