Windmill Lane Recording Studios open new ‘visitor experience’

Fáilte Ireland chief said the world famous facility will be a ‘huge draw’ for tourists

President Higgins, along with performers Donal Lunny and Paul Brady, attend the opening of the Windmill Lane visitor experience. CEO Naomi Moore tells us that music fans can now see how their favourite tracks were recorded. Video: John Cassidy


Dublin’s world-famous Windmill Lane Recording Studios is opening its doors to the public with a new “visitor experience”, which tourism chiefs have said will be a “huge draw” for both domestic and international tourists.

Brian Masterson and James Morris opened the doors of Windmill Lane in Dublin in 1978. The original studio buildings were famously covered in graffiti by U2 fans that visited from all over the world.

Since then, some of the artists that have recorded there include Kate Bush, The Rolling Stones, The Cranberries, The Spice Girls, and, more recently, Lady Gaga, Ed Sheeran, Westlife, The Script and Hozier.

The soundtrack for The Commitments film and the Riverdance album were also recorded there.

Growing demand for its services led its relocation in 1990 to a larger facility in an Art-Deco protected structure on the site of the former electrical power station for the tramline depot on Ringsend Road.

President Michael D Higgins was the guest of honour at the studios for the launch of the new visitor experience on Thursday, at which singer Paul Brady performed alongside Dónal Lunny.

The tour gives visitors an insight into the creation and production of some of the albums and songs of the past 40 years through a mix of technology, audio-visual media and storytelling. They can also observe the music recording and production process.

Tourism boost

Fáilte Ireland chief executive Paul Kelly said the new offering would be a boost to tourism in Dublin, with visitors also receiving an historical summary of the Ringsend area from the times of Oliver Cromwell to the 1916 Easter Rising.

“Overseas visitors look for compelling experiences and we are confident the experience here will be a huge draw for both domestic and international tourists,” he said.

“We are working on developing the potential of the docklands as a vibrant tourist location and we believe this visitor experience will be central to that as it embodies the theme of cultural innovation that has always been inherent in the docklands.”

Windmill Lane Recording Studios chief executive Naomi Moore said: “It is wonderful to see the reaction of visitors when they actually get behind these iconic doors and learn about the long history of the building.

“We have recorded so many of the albums that visitors grew up with, and the songs their children and grandchildren are growing up with, so it’s a very special experience to stand where, and learn how, they were recorded.”

Windmill Lane Recording Studios founder Brian Masterson said the studios have been “a major part” of his life.

“I’m delighted that visitors will get a chance to experience the story of the studios and to find out what goes into making the many great albums that have been recorded there,” he said.

“Windmill Lane Recording has been a major part of my life for so many years and I’m very happy that it still lives on and goes from strength to strength. This is a great opportunity to experience a wonderful piece of Irish and International music recording history.”