U2 in Dublin

Searching for Ireland's Most Famous Rock Band in their Hometown

The Clarence - the Dublin hotel owned by members of U2, one early winter morning
The Clarence - the Dublin hotel owned by members of U2, one early winter morning. © Bernd Biege 2016

U2 and Dublin, they seem to be synonymous at times, and still bucketloads of visitors go on a Bono-pilgrimage in Ireland's capital.And you have to admit, that if you were asked which rock band from Ireland has made the largest impact worldwide, who would you name? Horslips? Thin Lizzy? The Undertones? No, you too would think of U2. Love them or loath them, the four lads from Dublin are still up there at the top.

Bono Vox, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. are rock gods (plus Ireland's most successful tax-creatives). And many visitors to Dublin try to find the shrines to their idols. Easy ...

Where it all Began for U2 - Mount Temple School

We all know that U2 was formed as a school project when Larry Mullen Jr. (drums) posted a note at Mount Temple Comprehensive School. Looking for band members. Up stepped Paul Hewson ("Bono", vocals and ego), Dave Evans (The Edge, guitar, initially in a double-pack with his brother Dik), Adam Clayton (bass), and several others. The band started off as "Feedback", renaming itself "The Hype" (which, incidentally, would have been a very fitting name), and finally settled (after Dik Evans dropped out) on the short "U2".

Where Bono Got His Name from - Bonavox Hearing Aids

As legend has it, schoolmate and now artist Guggi re-christened Paul Hewson. With the moniker "Bono Vox".

While this sounds a bit like "good voice" in Latin, it was actually derived from a Dublin Shop. The Bonavox hearing aid shop. You'll find it just off O'Connell Street, in Street.

Where U2 Played Their first Gig - St. Stephen's Green

A plaque from the rather pathetic "Rock'n'Stroll" in St. Stephen's Green demotes the place where U2 played their first gig.

Just opposite the LUAS halt. Hallowed halls indeed - only that they are gone. Use your imagination then.

Where They Made Their Recordings - Windmill Lane

Situated just south of the Liffey in the Dublin Docklands, Windmill Lane is small but hard to miss - it is the most graffiti-covered area in Ireland, speaking volumes about the fans' devotion to the band. Let's hope they all used ozone-friendly spray cans. Not much to see here except graffiti. Basically, the whole street is covered in it. Some artful, some simply bordering on the moronic.

Where They Filmed "The Sweetest Thing"

The video shot for U2 weepy "The Sweetest Thing" is their most Dublin video of all. Cue Boyzone, the Artane Boys Band, and male strippers from the Dublin Fire Brigade (actually the Chippendales). Fans will instantly recognize parts of Georgian Dublin in the background. Which also featured on a Boyzone album cover, the lads posing in front of the "Peppercanister Church".

Where They Invested - The Clarence Hotel

Located on the southern bank of the Liffey, the Clarence Hotel has for many years been one of the most visible U2 connections in Dublin. Not that Bono jobs at the reception. Still, many fans (most of them Italian and Spanish) make a pilgrimage here.

Enjoy a tea or cocktail, if you can afford it.

Where They Go Clubbing - Lillie's Bordello

The central Lillie's Bordello (1-2 Adam Court, just off Grafton Street) is one of the nightclubs where you might spot members of U2 hanging out. Provided you are yourself rich and/or famous enough to be allowed into the "private" sections of the club. And even then you have to be very lucky. But some are ...

Where They Live - Dublin's Suburbs

Oh, yeah ... Bono and the lads actually live in the Dublin area some of the time. And you may even see their houses and spot them going for the milk occasionally. But I draw the line at this side of "invasion of privacy" and won't give you addresses or even hints. Even megastars, and even those as obnoxious as Bono can be, deserve some room to breathe.

Bono as Fine Art - National Gallery of Ireland

Just a curio to finish the tour off in central Dublin - walk into the National Gallery of Ireland, make your way into the portrait section and you'll come face to (painted) face with Bono himself.