Old Windmill Lane Studios building demolished

The old home of Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin, where U2 recorded Boy and The Joshua Tree, has been demolished, the Belfast Telegraph has reported.

The one-acre building in the city’s dockland area, which became known as the U2 studio but was also used by the likes of Van Morrison, was bought by property investment company Hibernia REIT in May 2014, and the firm has now begun gradual demolition work to transform the site into mixed-use retail, residential and office units – part of a new urban development that will extend Dublin’s Silicon Docks to the Liffey River.

A Hibernia spokesman commented: "The site was acquired with full planning permission (granted to the previous owners in 2011) for demolition of the existing structures and the construction of a mixed-use office, retail and residential development.

"In recent years the derelict site has become a focal point for anti-social behaviour and graffiti that has spread into adjacent streets. The studio itself has been empty for several years and contained no equipment or fittings to indicate its previous use."

Following the recording of the band’s debut record Boy at the studio, U2 were rocketed to international fame, later recording The Joshua Tree there in 1987. The site became a site of pilgrimage for visiting fans of the group.

The spokesman added: "Hibernia is conscious of the historical significance of Windmill Lane and plans to retain a 20-metre stretch of the studio wall."

Options for the retained stretch of wall (mainpicture) are currently being explored, including recreating the wall in the atrium of the new Windmill Lane building; offering the wall to Dublin City Council, the band or any other interested party; or donating it to charity so pieces can be auctioned off to U2 fans around the world.

Windmill Lane Recording Studios relocated to a new premises in Dublin’s Ringsend circa 1990, and in 2009 was taken over by a new team with an updated arsenal of gear, including Neve and SSL consoles and an Avid surround sound room.

Above: Windmill Lane Recording Studio’s current Studio One control room. 

A representative for the studio told Audio Media International: “It certainly is a shame that the city has lost a historical landmark, but the Windmill Lane Recording studio has been located in Ringsend for over 20 years. During this period we’ve played host to a range of acts, from local unsigned artists to some of the most renowned acts internationally, such as Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Nile Rodgers and Hozier.

"As well as the recording studios, we have our own web-based weekly music series, ‘The Windmill Lane Sessions’ to help showcase musical talent. We’re also heavily involved in creative media education with Pulse College, so while the old building may have been demolished, the story of ‘Windmill Lane Recording’ continues to grow.”

Main photo credit: Infomatique