Dublin’s fashionable shopping street, Grafton Street, was immortalised in Noel Purcell’s “Dublin Saunter” where he sang:
"Grafton Street's a wonderland with magic in the air . . ."
Well it certainly it was a wonderland on Christmas Eve with some magic in the air when you could have witnessed Bono, Glen Hansard, Lisa Hanigan and Sinéad O'Connor busking for Dublin’s Simon Community, a homeless charity. Grafton Street is close to Paul’s heart (Paul Hewson aka Bono) as it was in McDonnell’s that the U2 members and the Virgin Prunes (Gavin & Guggi) used to meet up on a Saturday as part of their imaginary world “Lipton Village” before wandering down (as we all did) to the Dandelion Market, a colourful splash of stalls which thrived in a covered car park which had been bought for a stalled property development. Paul and Gavin grew up in an area of Dublin 11 known as Cedarwood and I lived in the adjoining area of Willow Park. You would often see Paul waiting at the next bustop for the 19A into town wearing his hat and with a carrier bag full of LPs. There has been a lot of ill-informed knocking copy about him and his tax affairs which slightly ignores the fact that U2 actually earn 95% + of their income outside Ireland but have all actively kept up their connection to the country and have made very significant contributions to it and their home town of Dublin.
|Bono and Glen Hansard busking |
on Christmas Eve in Dublin
Grafton Street is Dublin's principal shopping street, running from St. Stephen's Green in the south to College Green in the north. The street was named after Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton, and the illegitimate son of Charles II of England, who owned land in the area. As Brendan Behan once remarked it was an honour to have our most fashionable Street named after a “Right Royal Bastard.” It was developed from an existing country lane by the Dawson family in 1708, after whom the parallel Dawson Street is named. Street entertainers such as buskers, poets and mime artists commonly perform to the shopping crowds. It is mentioned in Paddy Kavanagh’s famous allegorical poem of unrequited love “Raglan Road”;
“On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge"
To read about Raglan Road and Paddy Kavanagh see;
Bono was joined by Oscar-winning musician Glen Hansard and singer Sinéad O'Connor to raise money for homeless charities. Glen conceived the Christmas Eve busk for charity back in 2009 when he invited musicians to Busk for charity on this night. Glen has done this annually since and it's become something of a new era tradition.
For the movie which featured Glen's Oscar winning song see;
Many well know singers have joined him over the years and Bono has lent his support every year since its inception. It has become something of a tradition for young Dubliner’s who revel in the musicians keeping it real.
Bono busked for donations to the Simon Community and indulged the appreciative audience with a set that included: 1. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home); 2. I Believe in Father Christmas; 3. Silent Night; 4. Desire/Not Fade Away.
See “Dublin Homecoming”
To see and support the work of the Dublin Simon Community;
See “Silent Night – Stille Nacht”