History of Slane Concert

June 8, 2019: Now, nearly 40 years after they formed, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo bound on to the Slane Castle stage with something to prove. 

The band must have enjoyed themselves, because after it was all over, they stayed on stage, tossing out guitar pics to the fans, drummer Lars Ulrich listing out the gigs Metallica have played in Ireland, including the Top Hat, the Point and leaving with “Thank you Lord Henry, thank you Ireland!”

They were supported by:

  • Ghost
  • Stiff Little Fingers
  • Bokassa
  • Fangclub

May 27, 2017: Guns N’ Roses returned to Slane Castle on Saturday 27th May for their sold-out concert with their Not In This Lifetime Tour, 25 years since they last played the legendary venue.

Up to 80,000 braved the heavy rainfall on the day of the gig, thousands of fans travelled to Slane to witness the iconic band’s return to the venue they first played in 1992.

They were supported by:

  • Royal Blood
  • Mark Lanegan
  • Otherkin

May 30, 2015: Tens of thousands of music fans flocked to Slane Castle yesterday to watch the magnificent Foo Fighters rock out at the iconic venue.

Up to 80,000 braved the wet and wild weather to make their way to the rock ’n’ roll mecca to see a host of famous faces who jammed into the night.

They were supported by:

  • Hozier
  • Kaiser Chiefs
  • The Strypes

June 15, 2013: Following a one year break after Kings of Leon, Slane Castle decided to make up for the lack of a concert in 2012 by staging two concerts in 2013. The first concert was set to see Bon Jovi hit the stage.

They were supported by:

  • Ham Sandwich
  • Bressie
  • The Coronas


August 17, 2013: The second concert of 2013 was amped up to see, the long awaited, Eminem after his cancellation back in 2005. The concert sold out and Slane Castle was filled to capacity to see the Real Slim Shady hit the stage.

He was supported by:

  • Chance The Rapper
  • Slaughterhouse
  • Yelawolf
  • EarlWolf
  • Plan B

May 28, 2011: Kings of Leon played to 100,000 fans at its 30th year anniversary. The band said they were honored to play at Slane Castle stating “The one thing about Slane is that when a band plays there, they’ve reached the height of their powers. It’s a sign that you’ve become a world-beating band”. The band played their longest set ever to the crowds which consisted of 25 songs with an encore of four.

The band were supported by:

  • The Whigs
  • Mona
  • Thin Lizzy
  • White Lies
  • Elbow

June 20, 2009: Oasis were welcomed back to the stage at Slane after supporting R.E.M back in 1995. Oasis hit the ground running by opening the show with Rock ‘N’ Roll Star. Their performance was marvellous from start to finish and the band kept the fans on their feet with a mind blowing encore of Don’t Look Back in Anger, Falling Down and Champagne Supernova. When walking off stage, Liam Gallagher shouted “Slane Castle, you’ve been f**king biblical”.

Oasis were supported by:

  • The Blizzards
  • Glasvegas
  • Kasabian
  • The Prodigy

August 18, 2007: The Rolling Stones returned to Slane after their jaw dropping performance in 1982. 25 years after they were first welcomed to Slane, they hit the stage with a bang and did not disappoint their 80,000 fans. Slane Concert had returned to its former Rock N’ Roll glory.

The English rock band were supported by:

  • Frankie Gavin
  • Tinariwen
  • The Hold Steady
  • The Charlatans

August 29, 2004: Madonna announced she would take to the stage but the only date she was available to play was a Sunday. The locals of the village of Slane protested to Madonna playing on Sunday because they felt it was inconsiderate to schedule a concert on a Sunday given the large Roman Catholic population. Protesters also stated they feared a repeat of the riots that took place in 1984 when Bob Dylan played on a Sunday but to their disbelief the concert went ahead.

Madonna was supported by:

  • Paul Oakenfold
  • Iggy Pop and the Stooges

August 23, 2003: Back in 2001 when U2 played in Slane, they were supported by Red Hot Chili Peppers, who got an itch for the world renowned venue of Slane Castle and promised to return. The 2003 concert seen Red Hot Chili Peppers headline to 85,000 fans and the concert was filmed for their video. This concert also welcomed the Foo Fighters to the stage after cancelling in 2001.

The supporting acts were:

  • Halite
  • Morcheeba
  • Feeder
  • PJ Harvey
  • Queens of the Stone Age
  • Foo Fighters

August 24, 2002: After seeing Stereophonics supporting in 1999, they have returned but this time they are headlining.

They were supported by:

  • Ocean Color Scene
  • Nickelback
  • Counting Crows
  • Doves
  • The Revs
  • The Charlatans

August 25, 2001: At the first ever Slane concert back in 1981, U2 merely supported fellow Irish rock band Thin Lizzy. U2 were now the biggest rock band in the world and when they announced their homecoming gig to Slane Castle, the tickets sold out in record time. The Taoiseach requested a fast track legislation to allow a second concert to take place, to accommodate the massive demand to see U2 live at Slane Castle. The two concerts were headlined by U2 and each concert brought an entirely different set of supporting acts. Each gig was a sacrament and gave Slane a whole new meaning.

The concert on August 25 was supported by big names like:

  • Relish
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Coldplay
  • Kelis
  • JJ72

September 1, 2001: For the second concert of the year, The Foo Fighters were named for the supporting act but unfortunately they cancelled. This did not shake the legendary rock festival and Ash quickly replaced The Foo Fighters.

The other supporting acts were:

  • Moby
  • Ash
  • Nelly Furtado
  • The Walls
  • Dara

After U2 writing and recording their album, The Unforgettable Fire in 1984 in Slane Castle U2 had a strong affinity with the venue and decided the historical castle would be the perfect place to film their video “U2 Go Home”.

August 26, 2000: Bryan Adams brought his exceptional tour to Slane Castle and rocked a two hour set like it was the summer of ’69.

He was supported by the following acts:

  • Macy Gray
  • Muse
  • Eagle-Eye Cherry
  • Dara
  • Screaming Orphans
  • Mel C
  • Moby

August 28, 1999: Following a gig as a supporting artist to The Verve in 1998 set in front of the beautiful backdrop of Slane Castle, Robbie Williams returned in 1999 as the headline act. If playing to 95,000 screaming fans wasn’t stressful enough, the concert was broadcasted live!

Robbie Williams was supported by:

  • Simon Carmody
  • David Gray
  • Gomez
  • Placebo
  • Happy Mondays
  • Stereophonics

1999, was the first but not the last year Stereophonics played in the incredible Slane Castle. The UK rock band, with whiskey toned vocals, were set to return to the castle and headline in three years’ time.

August 29, 1998: After a two year hiatus, Slane concert returned again with The Verve headlining the open air, amphitheatre. Robbie Williams set foot on the Slane Castle’s stage for the first time, supporting The Verve. Little did we realise that he would headline the venue himself a year later.

They were also supported by big names such as:

  • Finlay Quaye
  • Junkster
  • James
  • The Seahorses
  • Robbie Williams
  • Special Guests Manic Street Preachers

July 22, 1995: R.E.M played Slane just days after bass guitarist and backing vocalist, Mike Mills’ appendectomy. There was no stopping R.E.M and their set went down in history. This concert also saw Oasis take to the stage in Slane for the first time, to be followed by them headlining in 2009.

R.E.M was also supported by:

  • Luka Bloom
  • Spearhead
  • Belly
  • Sharon Shannon
  • Oasis

Sadly, two young Dubliners tragically lost their lives when they tried to gain free entry into the venue by swimming to the back of the stage via the river Boyne. Following this terrible incident the concert venue came under scrutiny for its safety and for the next two years the venue was silent. During that time, the venue underwent changes to make the concert arena safer and in 1998 the concert returned.

July 10, 1993: Neil Young provided an another triumph for Slane. Neil Young gave an exceptional performance to thousands of fans.

He was supported by the outstanding musicians:

  • The Blue Angels
  • 4 Non Blondes
  • James
  • Saw Doctors
  • Van Morrison
  • Pearl Jam

May 16, 1992: Guns N’ Roses took to the stage to bring Slane Concert back to its former glory. The band members were touched when they received the gift of a crate of 40 year old Irish whiskey and a barrel of Irish Guinness from the Irish band, U2.

Guns N’ Roses were supported by:

  • My Little Funhouse
  • Faith No More

July 11, 1987: David Bowie headlined the now internationally renowned rock n’ roll venue of Slane Castle.

Supported by:

  • Aslan
  • Big Country
  • The Grove

Bowie gave an outstanding performance and gave Slane a whole new dimension.

And then, just when Slane couldn’t get better, it stopped! Five years of darkness followed after Bowie headlined Slane however, Slane Concerts were not dead, merely sleeping. To everyone’s relief in 1992 Lord Henry Mount Charles announced that Slane Concert would return and would not disappoint.

July 5, 1986: The legendary, Queen took to the stage at Slane Castle in front of 95,000 rock n’ roll fans. Whether Slane concert goers realised at the time or not, they were being spoiled by musical talents.

The outstanding voice of Freddie Mercury, led the band through their dazzling catalogue of hits, with the support of:

  • The Hits
  • Chris Rea
  • The Fountainhead
  • The Bangles

June 1, 1985: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played their first ever Irish concert. An army of 75,000 rock fans invaded Slane for Bruce Springsteen’s sell out concert – the biggest attended concert of the time in Ireland. Three hours before the concert was due to begin, 4,000 extra tickets went on sale to accommodate the eager fans that flocked into Slane.

The outstanding voice of Freddie Mercury, led the band through their dazzling catalogue of hits, with the support of:
When Springsteen sang, The River, footage of the majestic River Boyne was shown to the crowd on the screen. This footage was retained and used in the rest of Bruce Springsteen’s tour.

July 8, 1984: Bob Dylan took to the stage on the first and last ever Sunday concert in Slane. Bob Dylan’s set was over two hours long showing his commitment to the art. To top it all off, Bono from the world class band U2, who was living in the Castle, accompanied Bob Dylan for the encores. However, this is not what Slane concert ’84 is best known for. Concert goers arrived to the sleepy village of Slane on Saturday, in anticipation for the concert the next day.

Nonetheless, drink-fuelled youths rampaged through the village, setting light to three cars, wrecking the local Garda station, smashing the windows of local businesses and creating terror in the little village. 18 concert goers were injured, 12 Gardai were injured when the Garda station was attacked with rocks and set alight and unfortunately two young men drowned in the river Boyne.

Bob Dylan was supported by:

  • In Tua Nua
  • UB40
  • Santana


1984 was a busy year for Slane Castle and together with Bob Dylan hitting the stage, the legendary band U2 lived in the Castle while they wrote and recorded their fourth studio album, The Unforgettable Fire.

The drawing room of the castle was converted into a recording studio and the video for U2’s song, Pride, was filmed in the gothic revival ballroom.

August 14, 1983: U2 were set to play their first ever headline gig at Slane Castle, after playing as a supporting act in 1981.

However, Slane Castle was refused planning permission to hold U2’s War Tour and the concert was relocated to the Phoenix Park Racecourse in Dublin.

July 24, 1982: The Rolling Stones headlined Slane Castle, playing for 100,000 screaming fans. Admission to the concert was £12 per person.

The international act was supported by:

  • The J. Geils Band
  • The Chieftains
  • George Thorogood and the Destroyers

August 16, 1981: Thin Lizzy were the first headline act ever to take the stage at Slane Castle. Over 30,000 rock fans converged from all parts of the country to participate in what turned out to be one of the most successful music concerts ever organised in Ireland.

This Irish rock band were supported by:

  • U2
  • Hazel O’ Connor
  • Rose Tattoo
  • Sweet Savage
  • The Bureau
  • Megahype

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