Dubliners show all their loving as plaque marks 1963 Beatles concerts

It wasn’t just a concert, it was a pivotal moment in music history, says fan who saw them in Dublin 55 years ago today

Terrie Colman-Black and her older brother Bill, attended The Beatles concert with her in 1963. They attended the plaque unveiling on Wednesday.

Terrie Colman-Black and her older brother Bill, attended The Beatles concert with her in 1963. They attended the plaque unveiling on Wednesday.

 

On November 7th, 1963, a 14-year-old Terrie Colman-Black anxiously waited for The Beatles to appear from behind beautiful red curtains at the Adelphi Cinema on Middle Abbey Street. She had suffered through “everybody else that played before them,” so when John, Paul, Ringo and George began singing at their first of two shows that evening, she screamed.

“It wasn’t just a concert,” she said at a plaque-unveiling commemorating the show on Wednesday. “It was pivotal in music history in Dublin, in the history of Dublin, in what young people were experiencing at that time. Everything changed.”

The plaque to mark The Beatles’ visit to Dublin 55 years ago. Photograph: Colm Mahady /Fennells
The plaque to mark The Beatles’ visit to Dublin 55 years ago. Photograph: Colm Mahady /Fennells

The night the band performed its only two concerts in Ireland spurred thousands of new “Beatlemaniacs” like Colman-Black throughout the country, and inspired journalist Paddy Murray to propose a commemoration of the event to the Dublin City Council 55 years later.

The Beatles arrive in Ireland to play their two concerts in the Adelphi cinema on November 7th, 1963. Alongside them is radio and TV personality Paul Russell (left), with Frank Hall on the right. Photograph: Lensmen/Irish Photo Archive
The Beatles arrive in Ireland to play their two concerts in the Adelphi cinema on November 7th, 1963. Alongside them is radio and TV personality Paul Russell (left), with Frank Hall on the right. Photograph: Lensmen/Irish Photo Archive

Dublin Lord Mayor Nial Ring unveiled the plaque outside Arnotts department store on Middle Abbey Street (the site of the old Adelphi cinema), and emphasised The Beatles’s cultural importance and place in Dublin’s music history.

Members of Beatles Ireland, Pete Brennan and Pat Moore, hold up a picture of the Beatles arriving into Dublin for their concerts. Photograph: Colm Mahady /Fennells
Members of Beatles Ireland, Pete Brennan and Pat Moore, hold up a picture of the Beatles arriving into Dublin for their concerts. Photograph: Colm Mahady /Fennells

“The Beatles provided the background music to my childhood and their visit here allowed Dubliners to experience something of the Swinging Sixties in our own city,” Ring said. “I think it is very fitting that this plaque is now in place to mark the spot where thousands of people stood on that famous night in 1963.”

Wednesday’s festivities began shortly after 11.30am, when Dublin singer Fiach Moriarty led the ceremony with an acoustic renditions of All My Loving and From Me to You, as more than 50 Beatles fans crowded the pavement, singing along through cool wind and rain.

Crowds during a plaque unveiling ceremony to commemorate 55 years since The Beatles performed their only two concerts at the old Adelphi cinema on Middle Abbey Street, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins
Crowds during a plaque unveiling ceremony to commemorate 55 years since The Beatles performed their only two concerts at the old Adelphi cinema on Middle Abbey Street, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Former RTÉ radio and TV host Gay Byrne delighted the fans with stories of the band, sharing an amusing anecdote about how he nearly became the Beatles’s agent. While hosting a show called Scene at 6.30, his boss at Granada Television had him travel to Liverpool to discover the phenomena of the “mop heads” called The Beatles performing at a small, dirty place called The Cavern. After performing live on Byrne’s show – which drew raucous crowds of screaming girls outside the studio – Paul McCartney approached Byrne and asked him to be the Beatles’s agent. Between work and travel schedules and with no experience as an agent, Byrne declined. “What you are now looking at this morning ladies and gentlemen is the remains of a grey-haired old loon whose great claim to fame was that he almost became The Beatles’s agent,” he said.

Gay Byrne during a plaque unveiling ceremony to commemorate 55 years since The Beatles performed their only two concerts at the old Adelphi cinema on Middle Abbey Street, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins
Gay Byrne during a plaque unveiling ceremony to commemorate 55 years since The Beatles performed their only two concerts at the old Adelphi cinema on Middle Abbey Street, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Beatles Ireland, a fan club that celebrates the band’s legacy through periodic meet-ups to share memorabilia and listen to live music, held a reception across the street after the ceremony, where light refreshments were served and a play depicting The Beatles’s time in Ireland was performed.

The Beatles in Dublin, in November 1963. Photograph: Dermot O’Shea/The Irish Times
The Beatles in Dublin, in November 1963. Photograph: Dermot O’Shea/The Irish Times

Surrounded by friends made through years of listening to The Beatles, club spokesman Terry Saunders reflected on the group’s legacy and their lasting social impact in Ireland. “It changed our whole outlook,” Saunders said. “And if you were lucky enough to be around at that time, the music became the backdrop of your student days and your later life . . . It was a huge phenomenon.”

Terrie Colman-Black was at the Beatles Concert in Dublin when she was 14. On Wednesday she joined Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring and many Beatles fans on Middle Abbey Street as a plaque was unveiled to mark 55 years since the Beatles played in Dublin. Photograph: Colm Mahady /Fennells
Terrie Colman-Black was at the Beatles Concert in Dublin when she was 14. On Wednesday she joined Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring and many Beatles fans on Middle Abbey Street as a plaque was unveiled to mark 55 years since the Beatles played in Dublin. Photograph: Colm Mahady /Fennells