In 1978, 14 year old Larry Mullen posted a sign on a bulletin board at his School in Clontarf, Dublin. Little did he know that this would be the starting point of one of the greatest bands the world had ever seen; one that would go on to conquer the international music scene by storm.
Mullen, Adam Clayton, David Evans (“The Edge”) and Paul David Hewson – commonly known as Bono – were only teenagers when they formed U2 (originally called “Feedback”, and then “The Hype”). According to Bono, they formed the band before they could even play. That didn't stop them from becoming Dublin’s most famous musical experts, a rock icon for more than three decades and counting.
Being U2’s hometown, Dublin is filled with landmarks of the history of the band, and fans from all over the world travel to the city to see the place and visit the location where it all began. For these musical pilgrims, and for anyone else visiting this wonderful city, here is a short list of the places where Bono, The Edge, Clayton, and Mullen took their first steps to stardom.
U2, "Vertigo Tour" 2005. Photo: Wikipedia Brown
Bono, The Edge, Clayton and Mullen attended this secondary school - the first state-funded school under Protestant management in the city. This is where Mullen posted the ad for "musicians wanted", to which six people responded (the three other members were the Edge's older brother and 2 friends of Mullen - Ivan McCormick and Peter Martin).
Mullen said later on that he thought about calling themselves 'The Larry Mullen Band', but "after ten minutes Bono walked in and blew away any chance I had of being in charge".
Mount Temple Comprehensive School. Photo: David Malone
Larry Mullen's childhood house was on 60 Rosemount Avenue. On September 25, 1976, the band's first meeting was held here. They rehearsed in Mullen's kitchen, with Bono on vocals, The Edge on guitar, Clayton on bass, and Mullen on drums (Martin dropped out after the first practice, and McCormick left the group within a few weeks).
Rosemount Avenue. Photo: Paul Mckallouge
The young Bono's childhood house is located on 10 Cedarwood Road. The Hewson family continued to live on this street until 1986, by this time U2 had three worldwide bestselling albums. By then Bono was in a position to buy a huge house for himself and his family.
Cedarwood Road. Photo: Paul Mckallouge
Howth is a suburb of Dublin. In this small peninsula the band played for the first time as "U2". The show, on March 20, 1978, started as a farewell gig from "The Hype" with Dick Evans on guitar. When Evans left the stage, Bono announced that the four member band would be back on stage later to perform new original material.
Though they recorded the first singles in "Keystone Studios", after signing with "Island Records" in March 1980, U2 went on to record their first 3 albums - Boy, October, and War - in "Windmill Lane Studios".
This three-story recording studio was originally used to record traditional Irish music until U2 began to record there. It was opened in 1978 by Brian Masterson.
The actual studio has changed locations, but the original building is still a a popular site to visit, and fans from around the world pay their respects to the band in the paint on its walls.
Windmill Lane Studios. Photo: Joho 345
The Baggot Inn, established in 1969, was one of the places the band played a lot in their early years. The place was closed temporarily during the 90's, reopened as Big Jack's Baggot Inn, and then closed once again around 2002.
Besides U2, some other notable artists performed in this local pub - Bob Geldof, Thin Lizzy and The Waterboys- just to name a few.
The Duke Pub, on 8&9 Duke Street, is one of the places frequently visited by Bono in the early days. This historical landmark was opened in 1822, and has been visited frequently by James Joyce and Arthur Griffin among others. Today it serves as the starting point for the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl.
The Duke Pub by night. Photo: http://www.thedukedublin.com/
The seven Ballymun towers in north Dublin - built in the 1960s - were perpetuated in the U2 song "'Running To Stand Still" from the album "The Joshua Tree". In this song Bono writes "I see seven towers, but I only see one way out", referring to the difficulty in getting out of the area and the social problems - such as drugs and rampant crime - in this neighborhood.
Lately this area has gone through major reconstruction, and some of the towers were leveled to ground.
The Clarke Tower, which was demolished in 2008. Photo: Ballymuner
The East-Link bridge - a toll bridge on the River Liffey - is where U2 shot the first "Pride (In the Name of Love)" video. U2 had many photo shoots around the docks: The cover for ''October" was taken in this area, and some more pictures in front of the docks were taken for the booklet of "The Best of 1990-2000".
East-link bridge. Photo: Sarah777
Bonavox hearing aid store, on 9 Earl Street North, has a special place in U2's history: it's the source of the nickname "Bono", originally "Bonovox".
When Hewson was young he and his friend had a habit of giving each other nicknames. Bono had several: he was "Steinhegvanhuysenolegbangbangbang", then just "Huyseman", followed by "Houseman", "Bon Murray", "Bono Vox of O'Connell Street", and finally just "Bono".
Bonavox hearing aid store. Photo: Joho345
Hanover Quay studio is the band's recording headquarters, but you should hurry up if want to see it- because the studio is destined for demolishing as part of the city's plans for dockland revitalization.
U2 moved here in late 1994. The main studio is above the garage, the building on the right with car access at the very end. The Studios obviously became a focal point for U2 fans from across the world, and the walls around it feature hundreds of fan graffiti.
Hanover Quay Studios. Photo: Joho345
The factory rehearsal and recording studio, on 35A Barrow Street, is where U2 usually did at least part of their work on their albums, as well as pre-tour rehearsals. According to staff, U2 played in Studio 1, as it is the building’s biggest. Today the Factory is still used by some of Ireland’s best known artists.
Fitzwilliam Square, a historic Georgian square in central Dublin, is where U2 shot their "Sweetest Thing" video in September 1998.
The song was written by Bono as an apology to his wife Ali, after forgetting her birthday during work on "The Joshua Tree" album. The video features Bono taking Ali on a carriage ride along the square, and includes performers like Boyzone, Steve Collins and the Chippendales. At Alison's request, profits from the single were donated to her favorite charity - Chernobyl Children's Project International.
Fitzwilliam Square. Photo: Richard Croft
The Clarence Hotel is owned by Bono and The Edge. This is also a place where the band used to hang around in the early days. The Clarence is also the place where U2 taped the BBC Top of the Pops version of "Beautiful Day" in September 2000.
The Clarence Hotel. Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/genvessel/