Europe

Dublin: Irish rock 'n' roll museum opens in Temple Bar

Guitars on the walls of the The Irish Rock 'n Roll Museum Experience
Image caption Guitars cover the walls of the The Irish Rock 'n Roll Museum Experience

A new museum dedicated to Irish rock 'n' roll has opened in Dublin.

The Irish Rock 'n Roll Museum Experience in Temple Bar has only been open a few months, but is proving very popular with all nationalities.

A tall red building, with lots of photos of Irish rock stars on its outside walls, it is hard to miss.

And with the success of U2, Van Morrison, The Undertones, Snow Patrol and many others, including folk musicians, there's a lot to celebrate.

"The tour of the museum is great fun," said guide Brian Molloy.

Image caption Photos of famous Irish artists cover the museum walls

"Not only do we show people exhibits, we also give them the chance to experience what it is like to be a rock star.

"They get to play a few instruments, perform live on stage and then we sign them up to a recording contract at the end of the tour."

One of the most unusual of pieces of memorabilia is a pair of pyjamas owned by Michael Jackson.

They were given to Paddy Dunning, the man behind the museum project, during the five-month period the King of Pop was secretly living in County Westmeath.

"I was walking out in my pyjamas over to the recording studios to turn the lights on," said Paddy.

"Michael came out and said 'Hey, Paddy, I like your pyjamas'. So, I gave them to him and then a week later, he gave me his."

As one does!

Visitors are also shown a short film on the history of Irish popular music.

The walls of the museum are lined with photos of Irish musicians, gold discs, and guitars.

Image caption U2's pre-concert request or 'rider'

Perhaps the most famous is the bass guitar Phil Lynott played on Thin Lizzy's Live and Dangerous album.

It was donated by his mother Philomena, and is proudly displayed in a working studio where musicians - some well-known - often drift in and out.

Also on display are the special requests of musicians known in the business as 'riders'.

It is quite noteworthy how undemanding some are: David Bowie only wants a room temperature of between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius - presumably for his voice.

Image caption Shark Chilli take to the stage

Van Morrison has a grumpy image, but he only looks for a full English breakfast with toasted brown bread to be available at any time of the day.

Note: An English breakfast rather than an Ulster Fry!

U2 want a total of 136 of bottles of different beverages including wine, beer, sherry, champagne, tequila, whiskey and vodka.

The tour also allows those taking part to play out their rock fantasies, dressing up and jamming using the instruments in the rehearsal room.

Our group decides that I am to be the vocalist in a band called Shark Chilli.

Image caption BBC reporter Shane Harrison performs at the Irish Rock 'n Roll Museum Experience

It is only afterwards we realise we should have called ourselves Chilli Shark but, hey, that's rock 'n' roll.

Once rehearsals are over, we're backstage and are given our call that we are imminently due on the real stage of the Button Factory venue, our little arena.

With practised waves to the crowd, it is time for the show to begin.

As the opening bars of U2's Where the Streets Have No Name blast out, I step up to the mic and start belting out the opening lines.

And I think to myself: "Isn't it amazing nobody ever told me that I sing just like Bono...."

Image caption The Irish Rock 'n Roll Museum Experience in Dublin