THE BEATLES PLAYED their first and only Irish concerts fifty years ago this week; whipping up mass hysteria as they whistled through a series of short-sharp shows in Belfast and Dublin.
Much like the GPO in 1916 and U2′s Dandelion Market concerts in the late 70s — those who claimed to have been in attendance far outstrip the numbers who actually were.
Believe it or not, the four-piece were on stage for only around 50 minutes when they played Dublin’s Adelphi Cinema on Middle Abbey Street in 1963 — completing two 25 minute sets in concerts staged at 6.30pm and 9 o’clock.
Thirteen years earlier, screaming teenage girls were conspicuous by their absence when a seven-year-old George Harrison strolled along O’Connell Street sporting what looks like an early version of the Beatles mop-top haircut.
The photo was taken by Arthur Fields — a Jewish-Ukranian street photographer who became a Dublin institution; it’s estimated he took over 180,000 images on and around O’Connell Bridge during his career before he retired in 1984.
George was snapped in 1950 as he walked through town with his mother and his brother Pete. The Harrisons were close with their Drumcondra cousins — regularly taking the ferry from Merseyside to spend their holidays in the northside suburb.
A documentary on Fields career is currently being produced by Dublin-based ‘El Zorrero Films’. Project director Ciaran Deeney told TheJournal.ie that they were currently in the middle of the shoot, and they had tracked down “dozens” of stories about the photographer since securing funding earlier this year as part of the ‘Arthur Guinness Projects’ programme.
However, they’re still hoping to raise more money to complete the project, and Deeney’s asking anyone interested in seeing the final film to help them out by heading over to t-shock.net and buying a limited edition poster of one of Fields’ works.
More background detail – including the facade of the old Metropole Cinema – can be made out in the picture on the right, also taken by Fields.
Check out the Dublin Beatles Festival website for more details on anniversary events.
Edit: The headline here initially referred to ‘O’Connell Bridge’, but our geography has since been corrected by a reader of a certain vintage. Many Thanks.