U2 Memorial

The One with the Edge and the Car Crash

Who knew so many of you were such big U2 fans? Or maybe you just like a good story. Regardless, after mentioning my run-in with the Edge last week back in 2003, I couldn’t not tell the story, could I?

It wasn’t even noon, and we were already at each other’s throats. Travel will do that to a trio of new friends—especially if the experience is further enhanced by the effects of a few too many martinis and no sleep the evening before. Knowing we had a car coming at 5am to take us to the airport, Evan, Francie and I decided to head out for a quick drink before turning in early. That “quick drink” turned into an all-nighter in a VIP booth at one of Edinburgh’s hottest clubs with the hosts of the following night’s MTV Europe Awards, then stumbling home to my flat on the Cowgate just 45 minutes before our pick-up time. It wasn’t our finest hour.

Waiting for our plane in Edinburgh.

We arrived in Dublin before breakfast having seen better days, but found a nap was out of the question as check-in wasn’t until 4pm. So today, we were out to find another quartet of celebrities, these in a league all of their own; we were on a mission to locate U2. (Or rather, the “U2 Memorial,” which was prominently marked on our tourist map.)

This wasn’t our reason for traveling to Dublin—99 pence flights on RyanAir were the cause—but once I saw the marker for the U2 Memorial on the map, I knew what the day would hold. The Joshua Tree was the first album I owned that I wore to the core, and few artists have held my interest over the years in quite the way those four Dubliners have. With little else on the agenda, we set out in search of this monument.

Evan and Francie, excited to finally be in Dublin.

After 45 minutes of wandering aimlessly around where the map told us the memorial was located, we still hadn’t found what we were looking for (pardon the poor U2 pun), and Evan was done with my musical exploits. Francie, always the mediator, wandered into the closest pub to ask for directions. After all, we were  in Ireland, and you can’t spit without hitting a pub—or a pub owner who knows Bono personally as we soon found out.

The pub she randomly selected happened to be The Dockers, where U2 (allegedly) got their start. Being that it was not prime drinking hours—even in Ireland—the joint was empty and the owner more than happy to chat with us. He looked at my map and tore it up. “I don’t know why you’re following that mularkey. But I’ll tell ya something: I just saw Bono yesterday, and not only are they in town at the moment, but their new studio is just around the corner.”

He then pointed us in that direction, after making us swear to secrecy on the actual location, and we went on our merry ways, giddy with the possibility of bumping into Bono in the flesh.

We stumbled upon rows of what seemed to be abandoned warehouses on a fairly vacant street, but one in particular marked “Studio 9” had what appeared to be a shrine to U2 just in front of it, with hundreds of people having scribbled personal notes to the band on the wall. This is it! we thought. So we took Francie’s camera, perched it on a parked car just across the street, turned on the timer and went and posed in front of the studio entrance.

Just then, a car rounded the curb and started heading straight for us. One of us—seven years later, I’m not sure who—screeched, the driver glanced up, saw us and veered out of our path—and right into a parked car, side swiping the vehicle and leaving its rear view mirror partially dangling, partially knocked on the ground.

The injured party.

The car backed up, sloooowly, the driver rolled down the tinted window, and a very familiar beanie and goatee stared back at us. I guess now wouldn’t be a proper time to ask for an autograph, eh? It was the Edge, of course, and he didn’t look too pleased with the three of us. (Can’t say I blame him.) He put his car in drive again, then hit the gas and sped into a garage full of other Mercedes and Rolls Royce models. His minion ran out, jotted down the license plate number and left a note on the windshield (I have to wonder if he would have bothered to do so had there not been an audience); meanwhile, we starstruck tourists are taking pics of the whole debacle.

But the funniest part was yet to come.

After the coast was clear, a few hearty Irishmen from the construction site down the street meandered over our way. We asked if our eyes deceived us, if that indeed was the musical legend himself.

“Yes, of course,” one responded wearily. “We see them here all the time. Nice guys. But we couldn’t help but wonder what on Earth you three (pronounced tree as he was Irish) were doing taking a picture in front of an abandoned warehouse?”

“What do you mean?” I asked. “Is that not the band’s studio?”

“No! It’s that one there (pointing), three (tree) doors down.”

So not only were we, in our picture-taking endeavors, responsible for the Edge crashing his car, but we did so while taking a timed photo in front of the wrong building. Though we felt bad—not like he doesn’t have the money and insurance to remedy the situation—how many people can put that on their resume?

The REAL U2 studio.

In the end, we did finally find the U2 Memorial. It was not at all what I was expecting:

I’d say our approach to channeling U2 in Dublin was a far more effective one…wouldn’t you?

COMMENTS
  • March 2, 2011

    Man, how did I not hear about this. There’s epic and then there’s this. Ironic that “Stuck in a Moment” came on shuffle while reading this.

    • March 2, 2011
      Kristin

      I think we need to go on a road trip together. I’m already compiling my playlist for Scott’s and my epic six-week road trip this spring, and alas, I’m not allowed to include U2, as they are Scott’s least favorite band! (And I married this guy??? I know, I know.)

      • March 2, 2011

        Ahhhh, too funny. I love road trips. Obviously to have done a cross-country trip last fall.

  • March 2, 2011

    This is freakin’ hilarious. How have you not posted this story before? I love that y’all were standing in front of the wrong place taking the pictures!

    • March 2, 2011
      Kristin

      Akila, I’ve got to save some stories to keep people coming back, right? =)

      Or the more accurate answer would be: Because when I was living abroad in 2003–the craziest occurrences of my life happened during that year–I didn’t have a blog. And I spent too much time in pubs to document anything in a journal. And many of those memories have all but vanished thanks to the influence of my friends, Strongbow and Magners!

    • March 2, 2011

      She had to keep this story under covers until the time passed that the Edge could track her down and make her pay for that side mirror. lol

      • March 2, 2011
        Kristin

        True. My five-year period for potential prosecution has passed!

  • March 2, 2011

    Nice guys, aye!? :-) Hehe, to think you were posing in front of an abandoned warehouse. Then again, that’s what makes the story fun and memorable apart from that lil matter of The Edge.

    I was looking at the picture from all angles and am pretty sure that my distant view from the water(courtesy the Viking Splash Tour) was of the same U2 studio(there’s a possibility that they have more than one studio or something right?) as there’s grafitti on the walls as well as warehouses in the picture I snapped. Anyway, it was the highlight(in my book) of all the sights we saw when on the water.

  • March 2, 2011

    Hi Kristen,

    First of all, loved the U2 story. I was so curious when you mentioned that in your earlier post. I love them too, which according to my friends, is a weird thing for a 19 year old…
    Second of all, your blog makes me so happy. I look forward to new posts all the time, and your site is one of the first I check in the mornings! You totally deserve your Bloggie award… You had my vote! Congratulations!
    Lastly, I partially blame you for my recent change to a major in Journalism! I have finally found my passion… so, thank you!

    Keep doing what you’re doing,
    Erica

    • March 2, 2011
      Kristin

      Erica, your comment absolutely made my day. Thank you! And best of luck in your journalism studies–it’s definitely a fun major. Love your Tumblr name, by the way!

      (I’m still perplexed why your friends say loving U2 as a 19 year old as weird…I feel like they’re one of those timeless bands that span decades–much like the Beatles. Maybe your friends just need a musical education of their own, ha =) )

  • March 2, 2011
    Amy

    I’m with Scott on the U2 hatred but this story is still awesome.

  • March 2, 2011

    I love this U2 story- fun girl times! But I can’t get this out of my head- “99 pence flights”- where was I !!!

  • March 2, 2011

    Excellent story! If this happened to me I would just casually slip it into as many conversations as possible until all my friends got really tired of it.

    • March 2, 2011
      Kristin

      Rachel, I think I probably have! Ha. That’s why I had to retire the story for awhile and bring it out of retirement for my blog friends who *hadn’t* heard the full encounter!

  • March 2, 2011
    melissa

    great story! i was lucky enough to spend 15 minutes with bono & edge back in late november talking about spider-man. they were supernice guys! (and it’s probably good that i’m not a crazy u2 fan, or i would have been too nervous to talk.)

    • March 2, 2011
      Kristin

      That’s awesome, Melissa! Of course now you realize I’m going to have to go online and find out just what they had to say on Spidey (since everyone has an opinion on that matter it seems!) =)

  • March 2, 2011

    Hahaha wow! What a story. Sounds like a beautiful day. I can understand getting the studios mixed up back there where the streets have no name.

    • March 2, 2011
      Kristin

      And award for best U2 reference goes to…Laura! Love it.

  • March 2, 2011
    k

    Love it!

    Although you could have at least snapped a picture when he rolled down the window!?!

    • March 3, 2011
      Kristin

      Perhaps, but he was REALLY BAD and none of us wanted to run the risk he’d grab our camera and smash it on the side of his already busted car 😉

  • March 2, 2011

    Wow! That’s so crazy. What a great story.

    I’m planning my honeymoon with the Modern Love Machine to Ireland at this very moment. Something tells me we won’t be so lucky to have a U2 sighting.

  • March 2, 2011

    What a great story!! So glad you shared! :)

  • March 3, 2011

    Ha ha, just as good a story as I was hoping it would be! Thanks for sharing.

  • March 3, 2011

    Lol, although I totally agree with Scott on their music (I’m the girl who turned down VIP passes to their last concert in Nice because, well I think they’re meh) I loved the story!
    Funnily enough Bono and his family live just down the road from me in a HUGE villa in Eze Village most of the year, and everybody I know who has met them or worked for them has had only good things to say about him. One Aussie girl I met here started off working in his villa, and ended up working for Johnny Depp while he was filming Pirates after he’d come to stay with Bono as a house guest and was impressed by her work!

  • March 3, 2011

    That’s hysterical. There’s a reason most credit card companies don’t cover insurance insurance in Ireland- there are a lot of accidents- but mostly for those of us not use to driving on the “other” side of the road and sitting on the right- different perspective-lol. The Edge should have known better and apologized profusely for almost hitting you- maybe he thought you hadn’t noticed :)

  • March 3, 2011

    Such a cool story! I was in Dublin too, years ago…how could I have missed it? I feel there’s always some sort of car incident in your travels K. First the towed car, and now this. Nuts!

    • March 3, 2011
      Kristin

      Haha, you’re totally right! Not to mention the time I was HIT by a car (minivan cab) in Helsinki…

  • March 3, 2011

    1. What a crazy experience!

    2. Whooooo U2!

    3. Wait, you partied with the hosts of the European MTV Awards? Aren’t they usually really well-known celebrities?

    4. Whooooo U2!

    • March 3, 2011
      Kristin

      That’s the thing: They’re well known *European* celebrities, but we had no clue who they were! We just approached them as part of a dare, not knowing they were “celebs,” and wound up finding out later from some girls in the loo that they were actually legit. (Vernon Kay, Steve Jones, Ronan Keating.) The best part is that as part of the dare, Francie had to make out with one of them to prove a point, so she did with Steve, then the next week in the tabloids, there was an “are they/aren’t they” item about him and Halle Berry on the cover!

  • March 3, 2011

    That’s a great story… one of my close friends claims to be the world’s biggest U2 fan and has met them a couple times but I think even she would be jealous of this!

  • March 3, 2011

    We’ve now been on 3 (tree) trips together and I have never heard this story. Another good one! Can we go on adventure again soon?!

    • March 6, 2011
      Kristin

      Ang, I’ve gotta keep some stories in reserve to make sure you don’t get tired of me so soon! =)

  • March 5, 2011

    Such a funny story! I can’t believe Edge didn’t come out to see if you were okay at least :(

    • March 6, 2011
      Kristin

      I never even thought of that before! Now that you bring it up…how rude of him!

      • March 7, 2011

        Yeah what the F?! But maybe he did see no bones were broken so hightailed it?

  • March 6, 2011

    Ooh dear… There’s a lesson in here for someone…. I love the fact that while you worked in showbiz journalism you were also sufficiently obsessed to go and loiter outside a backstreet studio with intent. Poor car.

    • March 6, 2011
      Kristin

      Haha, I know…right? My only defense is that this was a year and a half before I started celebrity reporting. I was still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and not at all jaded about celebs as I am now, eight years later =)

  • March 6, 2011

    I´m not a U2 fan but I´d be pretty excited to see The Edge. A couple of years ago I saw him in a documentary with Jack White and the Led Zepplin guy and he kinda won me over.

  • March 7, 2011

    Great story! It’s serendipitous. Usually the things we are looking for are right in front of us (this actually happened in front of The Mission district. Another story for another time!). I found Bono’s house in Sandycove, but never actually thought of going to the studio. Isn’t it amazing that everyone in Ireland has a U2 story? I love it. In Canada, weather connects us. In Ireland, U2 does. Love it.

  • March 7, 2011

    PS I love the pronounciation of “Tree”

  • March 18, 2011
    newgyptian

    Any chance that the man you spoke to at The Dockers Pub was named Paddy? Because:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqjM9TjQNdA

    (Listen to the dedication at the beginning.)

    :-)

    • March 21, 2011
      Kristin

      Oh my gosh, this is absolutely hysterical! That very well could have been his name; I honestly don’t remember as it was eight years ago! But he was either the owner or someone who had been there for a LONG TIME (white hair and all).

      And this just happens to be my favorite Irish diddy! Thanks for sending–made my day =)

  • January 17, 2013

    “Finding U2 in Dublin — Camels & Chocolate:
    Tales from a Travel Addict” was indeed a terrific article.
    However, if it had much more photos this should be possibly even much better.
    All the best -Karla
    http://tinyurl.com/watecaube02359 recently posted..http://tinyurl.com/watecaube02359My Profile

  • January 23, 2013

    I personally blog too and I’m writing a little something alike to this particular blog post, “Finding
    U2 in Dublin — Camels & Chocolate: Tales from a
    Travel Addict”. Will you mind if Iincorporate a little of your own ideas?
    Thanks for your time -Lonna
    http://tinyurl.com/pinemyers01109 recently posted..http://tinyurl.com/pinemyers01109My Profile

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