Music in Ireland is a big deal. This amazing country, made up of scholars and storytellers, is soaked in arts and music, with many opportunities for artists, producers and enthusiasts to express their craft. One of their sacred temples, Windmill Lane Recording Studios in Dublin, is now opening its doors for exclusive tours to the public.
If you have the chance to visit Ireland, stroll through Dublin’s vibrant streets full of singers and buskers, and you will definitely breathe the artsy and electrifying atmosphere that fills lungs and lightens souls. Being the pulsating city that it is, Dublin has long been an important musical hub. This is, in a large part, thanks to the very influential recording studio, created and developed by music pioneer Brian Masterson, Windmill Lane Recording Studios.
Built in 1979, the studio was widely regarded as being central to the development of an internationally successful music culture in Ireland. In a short time, it became an important location, so much so that the famous Recording Engineer/Producer, an American music magazine, voted it as the best recording studio in the world ten years later. Indeed, its client list reads like a who’s who of music royalty: from its beginning it has attracted names like Kate Bush, Elvis Costello, The Cranberries, Depeche Mode, Metallica, The Rolling Stones, Hozier, Lady Gaga, Norah Jones, New Order, Damien Rice, Sinead O’Connor, Snow Patrol, Spice Girls, Rod Stewart and Ed Sheeran. Windmill Lane also became the iconic refuge which granted great success to U2, their debut album recorded there and set them on a trajectory which would inevitably lead to fame, fortune and international stardom.
The Studios are still going strong but they changed their original location. Now they are located in Dublin’s Docklands, a more rejuvenated and constantly developing neighbourhood of the Irish capital. The previous building wasn’t spared from dramatic events back in 2015. In fact, the former landmark was first bought, then shut down and finally demolished by a construction company. Gone are the hallowed halls where haunting vocals were captured and perfected, to be replaced by residential, office and retail units. However tragic and heartbreaking this might have been, the iconic place became a pilgrimage point for many U2 enthusiasts and in general for all those lovers of musical myths. Around 20 meters of the graffitied walls, a sort of shrine to the success of U2 over the years, remain upright, and they will be maintained by the company who has promised to preserve them for prosperity.
And it is from here that Windmill Lane Recording Studio are shyly opening to the public so that everyone, without any claim to musical tastes or opinions, can experience a cornerstone of the Irish music scene. We talked about it with Tanya, Communications Manager at Windmill Lane Studios, who said “ this working recording studio preserves Ireland’s modern music history and we would like to share its story with tourists, music lovers and fans of some of the most influential international musicians and is set amongst the hub of the world-leading technology companies European headquarters”
For a few more days around the Christmas holidays (the tickets for the 22nd, 29th and 31st date are still available) and then from February 2020, the Studio will be fully available upon reservation. Take careful note and save the date: their official launch of this initiative will take place in February 2020.
“We will provide these tours on an on-going basis. WLRS (Windmill Lane Recording Studios) is still a working studio and tours will be subject to availability,” Tanya said. They are after all an active studio, meaning that you might be able to catch a glimpse of a potential next great singer of our times, during the tours.
Strolling around the infamous corridors of this temple, “visitors will learn about the prolific history of Windmill Lane Studios from its very beginnings to the present day”
Not only do you get to walk the same floors and stand in the same studios where world-renowned artists stood and made history, but the tour guide gives you a simple insight into what it takes to make a recording. To think you will walk through the same doorway as artists did with nothing but an idea, and came out later with a number 1 hit is an experience that would definitely give you some chills.
“This experience will thrill visitors through an interactive tour of the studios where famous musicians recorded. Using a balance of technology, audio-visual media and intuitive storytelling.” The tour will take about one hour, giving visitors an opportunity to understand the creative and production process of some of the most iconic albums and songs of the past 40 years.
The studios will always be an artist‘s sanctuary, so it is essential to book tours in advance.
The opening to the public of the studios, as well as the Art Deco building which was originally a power station for the old Dublin tram network, allows engagement with and enjoyment of contemporary cultural heritage and history.
Therefore, if you happen to pop in Dublin for a day let this prodigious landmark restore your faith in music. Windmill Lane Recording Studios has authenticity. There is no need to write clichéd scripts to highlight something hidden because the truth and the stories behind them are in the walls as much as the music created within them.