U2 are fun-loving guys who know how to enjoy a good old Dublin party

by Gazette Reporter
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By Ken Doherty

U2 are arguably the biggest band in the world these past three or four decades yet they remain quintessential Irish guys who love to meet up with other Irish people. They are at heart  true Dubliners and I’ve known them ever since the year I was world snooker champion in 1997.

I am first and foremost a fan of their music and to this day whenever I travel like I did this week to Gibraltar for a tournament, I will listen to them in my headphones to shorten the journey.

My first meeting with them was all of a quarter of a century ago when I was with Norman, Bono’s brother at their famous Lansdowne road gig.

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After the show there were about 200 of us so-called special guests invited back to a party and Norman asked me if I wanted to be introduced to his brother. Does a cat eat a kipper?

I jumped at the chance. The only problem was when he brought me over to him, Bono was already in deep conversation with Roger Taylor of Queen and Michael Stipe of REM. I was a little embarrassed as Bono tried to be friendly, telling me he had a snooker table at home but only ever tried to pot the colours while simultaneously pursuing his conversation with the two rock stars.

Fortunately, the Edge saved the day. While I was trying to extricate myself from the situation, he came over and said: “Ken, would you do me a favour. My mother and her friend are over there and they are mad snooker fans. Would you mind coming over with me and say ‘hello’ to them? It would make their night”

No sooner had I done that than the whole room full of ‘A -list’ celebrities including the late Gay Byrne, Joe Duffy  and Pat Kenny went quiet. Naomi Campbell had just walked in with fellow supermodels Helena Christensen and Christy Turlington. Talk about hearing a pin drop.

That was the occasion when Naomi was pictured wearing a Garda hat… did we ever find out how she came to have it in her possession?

I had another memorable night a few years later with The Edge. Myself and a really good friend Mick McClean were in Sheehan’s pub at closing time with the owner Paul, a third generation owner of the premises. 

Paul was counting the night’s takings before we headed off for Lillie’s  Bordello Niteclub and Mick had the bright idea of getting a few pizzas while we were waiting.

I let up the outside shutters when he returned and saw the Edge and a few of his friends walking on the other side of the street. They declined my offer when I invited them in but no sooner had we sat down to attack the pizza than the shutters got a right old rap.

“Can we reverse that decision?” the Edge asked and we were only too delighted to usher them in.

 We had great crack partying the night away. We actually were playing a U2 CD when he arrived and out of deference to him, we changed the music and had a Sinatra night, ending up at four in the morning with all of us singing ‘New York, New York’ at the top of our voices.

A few days later I was walking on the footpath at St Stephen’s Green when I bumped into Bono and his wife, Ali.

“Heh Ken, heard  you threw a really great night in Sheehans,” he said as we shook hands. “Sorry I missed it.”

It’s true what they say about Dublin, isn’t it? It’s really only a big town and we all find out sooner or later what everyone is up to.

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