Remembering Bruce Springsteen’s first Irish concert

The Boss’s gig at Slane Castle made the front page of ‘The Irish Times’ 31 years ago

It was 31 years ago when Bruce Springsteen played his first concert in Ireland and made the front page of The Irish Times.

A crowd of more than 65,000 made their way to see the singer and the E Street Band on stage in Slane Castle in Co Meath on June 3rd, 1985.

Then as now, the Republic of Ireland was to play an international soccer match at Lansdowne Road in Dublin around the same time as his gig.

It was a good result, as Ireland beat Switzerland 3-0.


Hopefully, the Boss's presence will prove to be a lucky charm for Ireland once again in their match against the Netherlands on Friday evening.

The Slane gig was the musician’s biggest ever audience at that time.

Musicians Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and Elvis Costello were among the crowd there to support the New Jersey rocker.

The late PJ Mara, the former government press secretary and Fianna Fáil strategist, was seen sipping champagne from a plastic pint glass during the concert.

Other politicians spotted at the gig included the late Fine Gael minister Dick Burke with fellow TDs Liam Kelly and Monica Barnes, "lots of young Haugheys" and the former lord mayor of Dublin Michael Keating, who was wearing "tight, white trousers and a lemon t-shirt".

Well-known names

A large number of well-known names attended the concert, including RTÉ broadcaster Gay Byrne and Fr Brian D'Arcy.

Springsteen impressed the fans with a powerful performance.

“Do you love me?”he asked the crowd at one point. “Yeah!” they roared in reply.

The 66-year-old will play Croke Park this Friday and Sunday to an estimated total of 160,000 fans, in the country he has previously described as his “adopted home”.

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty is Digital Features Editor and journalist with The Irish Times