U2 at Slane Castle (2001)

by Sheila Duffy

Seeing U2 on vacation… in Ireland…at a castle…with 80K as-rabid-fans-as-me!!!  U2-Ticket-StubBono had just buried his father, they hadn’t played Slane Castle (outside Dublin) in over 20 years and they were coming home.  The energy and emotion would be palpable that Sept 1, 2001 night and I had to be there!

Only problem was, I had no ticket!  So stateside, I took a leap of faith and contacted a seller via the Irish website ‘ebid’ and arranged to meet my seller at the Dublin bus station.  The transaction went smoothly and I was over the moon with excitement– I had a U2 Slane Castle ticket in my hand and they were going to be filming the show for a DVD!

Unlike previous trips to Dublin, there really was a love affair going on between the city and their rock stars…Streets, New Years Day, Pride, One, All I Want is You, I Will Follow etc. were playing from every nook and cranny all week.  I made a return pilgrimage to Windmill Lane Studios (where they recorded their early albums), had a drink at the Clarence (a bar owned by U2), checked in with TM to make sure my ticket was legit (it was) and soaked up the U2 revelry!  This was no mere evening show.  An Act of Parliament was needed to make this concert happen and the masses were descending for the all-day music festival!

The Irish are a talkative and festive bunch but man oh man, I went thru reams of security — scanning my ticket more than 4 times as I walked over the river and thru the woods to Slane Castle that morning.  That afternoon, Ireland was also playing in a huge soccer match — a run-up to the World Cup, and they prevailed.  We watched it on the big screen …ole…ole…ole..ole!  Jason McAteer scored the winning goal and Bono serenaded him that night.  The opening musical acts were good, but I was distracted….excitement beyond containment!

I had tagged along with some Australians and we found a spot right outside the heart-shaped catwalk. 9.5 hours standing and waiting — no bathroom breaks, and then the stadium erupted just before 9pm as the Dublin lads took the stage to Elevation!


I don’t think I have ever heard a better, more emotional version of Streets than that night, especially as the lights came up and panned across the crowd.  I still get goosebumps when I watch that particular video.  That song is made for stadium play!

We had managed to talk security into letting us move over the rail into the VIP area as U2 took the stage.  It felt like we could reach out and touch them, but I held back:)

I had to keep pinching myself but my little 4-leaf clover was still to be unearthed.  As luck would have it, we met some of the crew standing next to us and they brought us backstage before the show ended.  I got to watch Adam, Bono, Edge and Larry walk off that emotional stage and we got a few shout outs!  Fireworks lit up the sky as we traversed back to our shuttles — I think the U2 guys were ensconced in their hotel rooms back in Dublin before we even made it to the shuttle bus:)  This had been a magical night!

I flew home to DC on Sept 4, 2001 and went back to work…and a week later, the world changed.

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