If Dublin won’t build a U2 visitors centre, the band will do it themselves
When The Wife and I went to Dublin a couple of years ago, one of our first stops was the tourist office near Grafton Street. We wanted to inquire about any walking tours that would show us city sites related to U2.
The ginger-haired man behind the counter gave me a quizzical stare. “Why would you ever want t’do that?”
So we were on our own. Armed with nothing more than a data plan. we used guides posted by fans online. It worked out fine–we ended up hitting all the places like the Clarence Hotel, Hanover Quay, Windmill Lane, and where Bono and the Edge side-by-side–but we kept thinking that someone was missing out on a money-making opportunity for tourists.
The is a U2 museum, of sorts. It’s a nothing more than a couple of rooms within another museum called–and I am not making this up–The Little Dublin Museum. It is tiny.
U2 has been a huge economic deal for Ireland. There was a period of time when their earnings from a world tour actually affected the GDP of the country. (That was before they moved their business operations to more tax-friendly The Netherlands. But I digress.) Tourists come from all over the world seeking to see the same things as me and The Wife. Why wouldn’t there be any kind of proper U2 sites-of-Dublin tour or destination?
The answer is up on the wall of the U2 room in The Little Dublin Museum:
Ireland has a very different attitude to success than a lot of places, certainly than over here in the United States. In the United States, you look at the guy that lives in the mansion on the hill, and you think, you know, one day, if I work really hard, I could live in that mansion. In Ireland, people look up at the guy in the mansion on the hill and go, one day, I’m going to get that bastard. It’s a different mind-set.
Ah. That explains a lot.
Someone in the U2 organization has decided that it’s time to sort this out. The group is preparing to build a visitor and exhibition place at No 15-18 Hanover Quay, the former site of the band’s recording studio and offices for a time in the 90s. When we visited, the place was boarded up and covered with graffiti.
The plans are to have a big display of U2 memorabilia in several exhibition halls, a replica of the studio they used to make albums like Pop and a cafe.
Fans will no doubt appreciate the 20-room boutique hotel that will be constructed next door.
No word on when things will be ready. And let’s remember that U2 as once involved in a riverside development once before that fell through. Maybe this time.
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