Pride and Poolbeg Chimneys

I was 9 years old. A song came on the radio in the car. My uncle Butchie (his name was Tom, but he was called Butchie, which given that his brother was called Hawk and his friends were called Cookie, Pear [or maybe pair?] and Dookie [I’m dead serious], he kinda made out ok) told us all we needed to listen up "This is a band from Ireland that has the audacity to come to America and talk about Martin Luther King Jr. You need to pay attention to this band."

The song was Pride.

"Early morning, April four
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky.
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride."

My cousin Mike, whom I adored and thought was the epitome of everything that was cool (and who also despite me growing up an only child made sure I got the proper ribbing of an older brother) piped up and said "I know this group, it's U2!" Well that was it. I was sold.

It would be a few yeas before I could see the video to Pride that features these towers (I didn't have cable and MTV until I was 15) and it was only recently that I learned they still stand and are called the Poolbeg Chimneys.

I’m thankful that my uncle told me I had to pay attention to this band. For 32 years I’ve had an oft changing soundtrack that didn’t just entertain but educated, informed and challenged my thinking on serious issues. I’m grateful to my cousin who in the years to come would lend me some of his tapes, which I copied (really sorry to U2, but I’m pretty sure I’ve more than made up for it by now.) I’m thankful to this band for never giving up, breaking up or selling out. For constantly reinventing itself and its sound so that I never tired or lost interest and for writing songs that never age- even if the reason they never age is because the problems that inspired them never change. 😕

"In the name of love. What more in the name of love?"