October 18, 2021

The day 40 years ago when U2 came to town … to rock Waterford college canteen

As Waterford Institute Technology (WIT), formerly Waterford Regional Technical College (WRTC), celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, there’s another important – a beautiful day when a band called U2 came to play in the college canteen 40 years ago today.

Eoin Ronayne, now Deputy General Secretary at Fórsa trade union, was the man who booked the band who would go on to conquer the World to play in Waterford on behalf of the Student’s Union.

Now Eoin has shared the original contract for the booking on behalf of the Students’ Union with WIT to mark the anniversary (pictured below).

Though not a student at the college, Eoin was a Waterford native involved in the arts and a local pirate radio station with the names and connections in Dublin to book rock bands on behalf of the Students’ Union.

The contract outlines that U2 charged £300 for the gig and requested sandwiches, beer and minerals to be provided in the dressing room. The band have yet to respond to a request from WIT to return to Waterford for a gig for the same fee.

Eoin recalls that once a month the Student’s Union would run gigs, in the student canteen, using tables as a stage.

“They were only up and coming and had only released one record. The gig sold out and there were 400 at it. A few months later they played the Showboat in Waterford and only 200 attended,” he adds.

And, as fate would have, Eoin didn’t even get to see Bono and boys perform – he ended up going to Dublin to see the Horselips. But at least he’ll always have the evidence from when U2 came to town.

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