Dublin to the Beat of U2
In effect, Dublin is an integral part of U2’s makeup. Just a few months back they released Songs of Innocence, which Bono describes as the most personal album they have ever recorded. This, the thirteenth studio production of the Irish band, is a journey to their beginnings, to their infancy and youth. It is a period of dreams waiting to come true, with The Ramones or The Clash as the soundtrack, and Dublin as the eternal, vital backdrop. Now is undoubtedly the best time ever to visit the Irish capital – even more so if we are grooved by the beat of these innocent songs – and stroll along the streets that have witnessed the evolution of one of the foremost bands in the history of rock.
Mount Temple Comprehensive School
This was where it all started. Larry Mullen Jr. put up a sign on the school noticeboard looking for musicians to form a rock group. The call was heeded by Bono, The Edge and his brother, Dick Evans (who would be replaced soon after by Adam Clayton). Thus was Feedback born, later becoming The Hype and, finally, U2. Malahide Road.
Paul David Hewson did not become Bono until his childhood friend, Derek “Guggi” Rowan, happened to give him that nickname. It comes from Bonavox (or “good voice”), the name of a business dealing in… hearing aids! Whether you are music lovers or merely wish to check your aural capacity, the fact is the shop is still open at 9 North Earl Street.
The Projects Arts Centre
In their early years, U2 used to perform in one of the auditoriums here. And, it was at one of these concerts that they met Paul McGuinness, the group’s manager until 2013 and a crucial figure in the quartet’s career. The Project Arts Centre now operates as an art exhibition gallery, and also hosts some of the city’s major festivals, including the Dublin Writers’ Festival, Dublin Theatre Festival, Dublin Fringe Festival and Dublin Dance Festival. 39 East Essex Street.
Windmill Lane Studios
Understandably also known as the “U2 Studios”, as it was here they recorded their first EP,Three(1979) and the subsequent albums, Boy (1980), October (1981), War (1983), The Unforgettable Fire (1984) and The Joshua Tree (1987). The studios are located at 4 Windmill Lane, a street full of graffiti originally linked to the group; so much so that it is known as the U2 Graffiti Wall. It now features all kinds of street art. 4 Windmill Lane, Dublin 2.
Grand Canal Docks
Dublin’s dockside is one of the city’s enclaves most closely related to U2 iconography. The setting, highly representative of the spirit of Dublin, has been used by the quartet throughout their career as a backdrop for their record covers (October), videos (Gloria) and photographic sessions (like one they had in 2000 with the Dutch photographer, Anton Corbijn. Hanover Quay.
The Clarence Hotel
In 1992, Bono and The Edge purchased The Clarence. Built in 1852, the originally 2-star hotel was revamped under their supervision, becoming one of the city’s most luxurious hotels. And, as the Irish singer asserts, “For The Edge to have somewhere to stay until later”, they turned the basement into The Kitchen, a disco which the leading lights of electronic music have made their port of call. 6-8 Wellington Quay.
Bono once forgot Ali’s birthday. His wife was so upset she was on the verge of throwing him out. The singer made his apologies in the form of a song – The Sweetest Thing. Originally released as a B-side on the single, Where the Streets Have No Name, it later became the first single on the compilation album, The Best of 1980-1990. Recorded on 20 September 1998, the video moves along this central street of Dublin. The videos Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own and Pride (In the Name of Love) are also set in Dublin. Fitzwilliam Place.
After leaving Windmill Lane Studios, U2 set up their studios in Hanover Quay. Located in the harbour area, the complex comprises two buildings – one acts as a rehearsal space; the other, a recording studio and editing room. It was there that U2 developed their discs, Pop (1997), All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000), How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb (2004) and No Line On The Horizon (2009). Interestingly enough, the Kilsaran Concrete cement factory located opposite the studios had a bench installed in their foyer for followers of the group to wait in comfort for their idols to appear. 18 Hanover Quay, Dublin 2.
Finnegan’s of Dalkey
Celebrated for its culinary offerings, Finnegan’s of Dalkey is Bono’s favourite pub. He is so fond of it that, whenever he gets a visit from a celebrity friend (Michelle Obama, Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Salman Rushdie…), he takes them to this typical Irish pub for a pint of Guinness. It was opened by Dan Finnegan, one of whose seven sons, Peter Finnegan, emigrated to Valencia where, in the central Plaza de la Reina, he opened a twin Finnegan’s Of Dublin pub. 2 Sorrento Road.
St. Stephen’s Green
In 2000, Bono and The Edge were awarded the title, “Freeman of the City of Dublin”. Among the privileges that go with this honour, they were authorised to graze sheep on St. Stephen’s Green – no mean feat! The day after receiving the award, the singer and guitarist made an appearance in this popular park in the city centre flanked by two sheep, which they christened “My Little Lamb” and “Michael Jackson”. St. Stephen’s Green.
Wall Of Fame
The Wall Of Fame, a tribute to the leading names in Irish music, stands at 20 Temple Lane Street, one of the liveliest and most crowded streets in Dublin. The wall displays photos of Van Morrison, Sinéad O’Connor, Thin Lizzy, Rory Gallagher, The Undertones, Bob Geldof, Boyzone… However, one shot which stands out above all of them and effectively steals the limelight shows the very young U2 band members on the beach at Sandymount Strand, another of their favourite spots. And, while you’re there, make sure you drop in at the historic Temple Bar with their live music every night and some delicious oysters. 20 Temple Lane South.
The Little Museum Of Dublin
Opposite St. Stephen’s Green and hard by Grafton Street stands The Little Museum Of Dublin, an art gallery which showcases Dublin’s modern history. Prominent among their permanent exhibitions is “U2 Made In Dublin”. Ranging from original posters from their earliest concerts, to a Trabant from the Zoo TV Tour era, this is one of the largest and best collections of objects related to the band, all of them gifted by the quartet’s fans. 15 St Stephen’s Green.
The company, Dublin Differently, offers guided tours of the most celebrated settings in the city, retracing U2’s career, from their studios to The Clarence Hotel. So, make haste! Come and discover a bit more about one of the best rock bands of all time. Check out our flights to Dublin here.
A Dubliner’s Dublin
This time we’re showcasing a more genuine Dublin – a Dubliner’s Dublin. We shall avoid tourist tracks – well covered by umpteen posts in the blogosphere – and provide you with a more contemporary vision.
Getting about the city is very easy as it is well connected, but we propose discovering Ireland’s capital on foot. Most of the spots we’ll be recommending are accessible on a pleasant stroll along the banks of the river Liffey.
Our first stop is a Georgian mansion, the house of Richard Wingfield, Viscount Powerscourt (1730-1788), and his wife, Lady Amelia. It has now been converted into a trendy shopping centre, the Powerscourt Shopping Centre. A gem of past times become contemporary. Under one roof you can see the transition from the Baroque to the Neoclassical. The interior features unique design, fashion, gastronomy and art shops, among others. It also houses six restaurants, notably The Pepper Pot, with its large menu of organic dishes, and Pygmalion, known for its snacks and breakfast based on local produce.
Nearby, along George´s Street, is one of the best gay and lesbian pubs, The George, perfect for listening to live music and having a good pint. Could it be otherwise? On entering, turn around and you will see one of the city’s most beautiful murals, executed by the artist, Joe Caslin. Dublin’s gay district is gradually gaining currency, opening up an alternative avenue in the city and well worth visiting.
On the street that bears the name of the legendary Irish guitarist, musician, composer and producer, Rory Gallagher, lies Meeting House Square. In summer, this square throngs with musical events, while all year around on Saturdays it hosts foodies at a quaint organic market studded with takeaway food stalls offering the best quality. Here you will also come across the Temple Oyster Bar. If you’re a lover of this bivalve shellfish, just do it!
Now that we’re in the heart of the famous Temple Bar area, a short way off the beaten track we come to Essex Street East, home to one of the most delightful men’s fashion shops in all Dublin, Indigo and Cloth.
If you’re a photography enthusiast, make sure you head for The National Centre for Contemporary Photography – their exhibitions are really excellent! You will discover thematic collections of old Dublin, the Irish countryside and remembrances of the Great Famine.
The city also boasts an unusual cinema, a meeting point for Bohemians and lovers of the seventh art, where you can also have the menu of the day; we’re talking about the Irish Film Institute.
But, if you’re game for a unique extrasensorial gastronomic experience, make sure you book for the city’s on-trend restaurant, Sophie's restaurant, located on the terrace of the newly inaugurated The Dean Hotel. Any description of their service, and the glamorous, stylish decor, is unlikely to do it justice, not to mention the incredible 360-degree views of the city.
Lastly, if you’re sweet-toothed, don’t fail to give yourself a treat at Queen of Tarts, a café and patisserie which was opened in the late-nineties by the Fallon sisters. Among Dubliners, their unbeatable cakes and tarts are an open secret.
If you’ve been following this itinerary, you’ve obviously strayed from the traditional route. But, if you still have the time, we recommend taking a whole day off to see the city in one of the typical Hop on-Hop Off tourist buses. We guarantee that, by the end of the weekend, you will have finished Dublin off!
We’ll be returning to Dublin soon, as this year sees the Irish Design 2015 event,but we’ll get to that in another post… for further information, check out the Tourism Ireland website.
Hurry and book your tickets with Vueling – you’re closer than ever to Dublin!
Text by Tensi Sánchez of actitudesmgz.com
Photography by Verónica Garcíamore info
8 Spots To Be Seen At In Dublin
Japanese In-the-Room Cuisine in Taste at Rustic
This eatery is anything but rustic. Lovers of Japanese cuisine – this is your restaurant. The third floor offerings are for gourmet palates, which will here savour one of the best Japanese cuisines ever, with creative highlights to boot. Signed by the prestigious chef, Dylan McGrath, the dishes are prepared on the spot, in front of the guests, and their selection ranges from sushi to ramen and barbecued Kobe meat. All excellent. The desserts are also as enviable. We recommend the pistachio crème brûlée, the cheesecake and the cold coconut and mango soup. The superb dinner will make a lasting impression on you.
Signature Cocktails & Prime Meat at The Clarence Hotel
U2 fans will be familiar with The Clarence Hotel, owned by the musician, Bono. It offers two options for gastronomes. The Cleaver East restaurant, with its industrial decoration, is well known for its meat dishes. And, should anyone be in doubt about it, the huge wall of the restaurant is covered in axes. The menu features first-class entrecôtes, hamburgers and steaks which will delight the most demanding carnivores. Then there is The Liquor Rooms, located in the hotel basement, one of Dublin’s most VIP cocktail bars. Here, master mixologists apply their flair and expertise to preparing over 30 signature formulas that will win over connoisseurs of a good drink.
A Taste of the Sea at Wrights Findlater Howth
On the outskirts of Dublin lies the upmarket, seafaring quarter of Howth, site of Wrights Findlater Howth. It stands opposite the harbour, with views over the bay, and offers one of the best local seafood cuisines –mussels, prawns, lobster and other seafood vie with one another on a menu which also features copious servings of deliciousfish and chips. The finishing flourish to a pleasant meal is provided by the apple crumble with vanilla ice-cream. Divine!
A Rakish Touch at Lillie’s Bordello
The name of this cocktail bar is a veritable declaration of intent. The bar is done out as a brothel, with red, velvet couches and erotic pictures on the walls. The ideal spot for melting into the corners and enjoying a broad selection of gins and homemade liqueurs. On the ground floor is The Porterhouse, a grandiose pub which serves its own beer – they offer more than 10 varieties – in a casual, bustling, typically Irish ambience.
Drury Buildings – Chic and Rustic
Excellent, pampered Italian recipes. Wood and leather combine in the decor of this restaurant with its casual, modern, cosmopolitan atmosphere. Ideal for a relaxing daytime meal, as it is located in the heart of downtown Dublin, in one of the most interesting streets for foodies worth their salt – Drury Street. It is full of stores with designer objects for the kitchen, and cool coffee shops with a broad selection of coffees ground on the spot and filter-percolated, to preserve all the essence of this beverage, served with a delicious bun or pastry. A place you would want to spend the whole day reading leisurely in.
Posturing at Sophie’s
Sophie’s is perched on the rooftop of The Dean, a very swank hotel that made the prestigious Hot List of the Condé Nast Traveller magazine for its concept, services and interior design. Sophie’s restaurant features panoramic views of the city through its huge glass walls. By night, it is astonishing. With the lights dimmed, chichi guests rub shoulders with one another as they sip on their aperitif or savour excellent, Italian-inspired cuisine (seafood pasta, risotto…). Their selection of Irish meat also comes highly recommended, especially the beef meatballs, steak or lamb shank (so typical here). All paired with the finest international wines. We can vouch that Sophie’s is the ideal spot for sitting around the table after dinner with friends or for couples. And, if you want to extend your evening, the ground-floor Hotel Dean bar is among the trendiest in town for doing your postureo.
I imagine you fancy discovering these culinary marvels. Come and savour them! Check out our flights here.
Text and photos: Laia Ziegerfor Gastronomistas.commore info
24 Culinary Hours in Dublin
Alongside the perennial pubs, Dublin has a profusion of cafés, eateries specialising in particular bites, and signature cuisine gastrobars where you can spend hours on end. If, however, you have only a few hours to spare in the city, here are some spots no food or drink devotee should fail to visit.
The best coffee. 3fe lavish extreme care in making and serving it up in their two premises – one of which offers market cuisine, too. Their coffee comes from a variety of sources and they feature a huge selection of flavours and aromas to suit the customer. You can taste some on the premises or buy it as a takeaway. You will also enjoy excellent coffee at Kaph, a large café with good pastries.
The best chocolate. To be had at Cocoa Atelier, bang in the city centre. They offer it in slabs, as chocolates or as a hot chocolate beverage to drink, take away or gift. These are craft products and largely creative, judging from the combinations they propose. The shop alone is well worth the visit.
The best burger. In terms of great value for money, you will jump at the hamburgers in Bunsen. All their eats fit on what is virtually a calling-card-type box, served up with sauces and chips – also homemade. The fires burn around the clock in a venue which is always crammed with customers.
The best brunch. The most popular custom in these climes and the most practical option for locals; so, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Many establishments serve brunches beyond Sundays and the classic is to be had at Odessa, where you will taste the purest Irish tradition.
The best views. For a table with great views, even outdoors, go for Sophie’s. A 360° panorama over the capital with open kitchen, a stately bar counter for your aperitif, post-prandial liqueur or afterwork cocktail, and a rooftop terrace with heaters, just in case. They dish up generous helpings of Mediterranean-style food. Ideal for a date, a get-together among friends and even a Sunday brunch.
The best tea. We had one at Clement & Pekoe, where they also show you the proper way to make it. Variety, nuances, homemade pastries to go with it and a convivial atmosphere in the city’s most commercial precinct.
The best author cuisine. Both Forest Avenue and Forest & Marcy have a charm of their own, grounded in a common philosophy. These bistronomic restaurants seat few, far removed from the fast food concept and the classic pub, so it is essential to book in advance. An establishment on the outskirts of town, Heron & Grey, stands out for its haute cuisine and Michelin star, but you won’t get a table before next September. Another interesting option is the gastropub, The Old Spot.
The best cocktail. You can grab a pint anywhere, and anyone can even quaff one in the middle of the street without waiting for nightfall. But, if you’re looking for something other than the clichéd black ale, head for the bar counter at refurbished The Pichet and order one of their signature cocktails in the heart of Temple Bar, before moving on to the very crowded The Ivy.
Get ready to delve into Dublin’s culinary facet – book your Vueling here.
Text by Belén Parra of Gastronomistasmore info