The O2 (Dublin)

The O2 (Dublin)
The O2

"It's Built, They're Coming"
Former names The Point Theatre
General information
Type Concert and events venue
Location The O2
East Link Bridge
North Wall Quay
Dublin 1
Country Ireland
Completed December 2008
Opening December 2008
Height 28 metres
Design and construction
Owner Live Nation / Harry Crosbie
Architect HOK SVE (Populous since 2009)
Services engineer Buro Happold
Other information
Seating capacity 9,500 all seated or 14,500 seated + standing

The O2 (stylised as The O2) is a 14,000-seat amphitheatre located at North Wall Quay in the Dublin Docklands in Dublin, Ireland, which opened on 16 December 2008. The venue is jointly owned by Live Nation and Harry Crosbie (Amphitheatre Ireland Limited) with Live Nation in charge of programme booking and operating the venue. Amphitheatre Ireland Limited have owned and operated the venue led by Mike Adamson (Live Nation) CEO of Amphitheatre Ireland Limited since 1989. The venue has played host to many world renowned performers. Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance first premiered at the O2 in 1996 and did a comeback in November 2010 during the European tour.

The O2 is the second busiest concert venue in the world, in terms of ticket sales, only behind its counterpart in London.[1]



The O2 was built on the site of the former Point Theatre,[2] a smaller music venue which operated from 1988–2007, retaining only some of the outer facade. Following its closure, the site underwent major redevelopment and was renamed after the telecommunication brand, O2, similar to The O2 in London.[3] O2 paid €25 million (not verified) and, as part of the deal, 10-15 per cent of concert tickets will be made available to their 1.6 million Irish subscribers up to 48 hours in advance of going on general sale and O2 customers will also get fast-track access to the venue on the night of gigs and have exclusive use of two of the 14 bars on site. The mobile phone company also plans to make music content from Live Nation events around the world available to its subscribers.[4]

Structure and design

The arena has a capacity of over 14,000 (standing) or 9,500 (seated). Retractable seating may be withdrawn to create space for 8,000 standing in front of the stage, with the remainder seated. The furthest seat is 60 metres from the stage, 20 metres closer than in The Point. This was achieved by arranging the seats around the stage in a gigantic "fan" formation which the architects likened to the Colosseum of Rome. There are no corporate boxes inside the venue. The backstage area has a "substantial" loading bay for trucks.[5] Alcohol will only be available in a high-security area of the venue in an effort to curb under-age drinking.[6] The venue is intended to stage 150 live events each year, catering to a projected target audience of one million customers annually.[7] It is the largest indoor venue in the country. Prior to re-development, the seating capacity was 8,500 standing or 6,300 seated.

Panorama view of inside the venue


Mike Adamson (CEO of The O2) claimed that Irish fans had been short-changed when attending major events in the previous venue due to size restrictions. "It wasn't always possible to get every show touring in Europe into the venue because of restrictions. It is now. Some shows couldn't fit. For example, George Michael could only stage three-quarters of his production in the Point. We're up there now with other venues in Europe." Developer Harry Crosbie said that the Point had had a "grungy" feel "which suited Dublin at the time". He claimed that The O2 would be a "stunning venue" created for a more "sophisticated" audience. Other artists have also played the O2 including Green Day and My Chemical Romance.


The O2 during construction in January 2008

The old Point was closed in the summer of 2007 to make way for a refurbishment to a design by Populous architects and Buro Happold engineers. The western wall was partially removed in accordance with a plan agreed with the historic buildings authorities and the DDDA. This allowed for the extension of the staging area and backstage facilities to create a unique amphitheatre style arena. According to Populous Architects lead designer for this project, Damon lavelle, the finished design represents several years of careful collaboration with the responsible planning authority, the DDDA, and extensive consultation with the Historic Buildings authority.The executed design sensitively combines a thoughtful and inventive restoration of the historic building with the new structures( the building volume has increased fivefold)that are designed to afford a counterpoint of diminishing scale and visual weight as one reads the building from the ground up. The announcement of the rebranding of the facility to The O2 took place in July 2008.[8]

Working with Populous, the Lead Architect, JPDA and O2 Ireland as commercial rights partners helped to create some of the O2 themed spaces within the venue.

The architecture of the O2 is designed by Populous to provide a robust, flexible venue that shall be able to respond to change and the needs of the venue owners - including present and future commercial rights partners.

The venue has been universally hailed by production Designers, Performers and Patrons alike as a breakthrough design in terms of Audience and performer interaction.

The Design has won numerous prestigious Industry awards and has been recognised by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors in its 2010 awards as an historic building renovation of distinction.

Notable/historic performances

U2 were the first band to play in the venue, when Bono and The Edge performed "Van Diemen's Land" and "Desire" to a private audience.[9]

The first event to take place at the arena was the ChildLine Concert on 16 December 2008.[10]

There was a controversial Guns N' Roses show in September 2010 during which the band had arrived a substantial amount of time late then had bottles hurled at them and stopped performing. Most of the audience then left the building in disgust, but the band later returned to finish the show.[11][12][13][14][15]

Theatrical & Other Events

The O2 has hosted many theatrical events including Aida, Britain's Got Talent Live Tour, The X Factor Live Tour. It has also hosted Saltimbanco & Quidam events by Cirque du Soleil. Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds has also taken place at the venue. Cesar Millan also performed at the O2. Lady Gaga brought her 'Monster Ball' tour to the arena on October 26th-29th 2010. British dance group and Britain's Got Talent Winners Diversity and Michael Flatley will also perform towards the end of 2010. Strictly Come Dancing will play at the venue in 2011. Batman Live, the worldwide arena tour has also been confirmed for 2011. The cast of Glee performed live at The O2 during summer 2011. WWE's Wrestlemania Revenge toured during April 2011. Also the Star for all Season Britney Spears performed there live during October, 2011, in support of her seventh studio album, Femme Fatale. WWE RAW World Tour comes here on November 2nd with John Cena vs Alberto Del Rio Being the current main event for the WWE Championship.

Comedy events

Comedians who have performed at The O2 include The Mighty Boosh, Lee Evans, Peter Kay, Frankie Boyle, and Ricky Gervais. Also Bill Bailey recorded his show "Dandelion Mind" at The O2 over 2 nights in Sept/Oct 2010. Alan Carr and Michael McIntyre have been announced for October 2011 and November 2012 respectively.


Patrons are advised to use public transport to get to the venue.[16] Parking services for the nearby Point Village are suggested.[17] In addition to the ferry services and shuttle buses noted on the venue's web site, Dublin Bus number 53 provides a scheduled public service to the venue. A LUAS light rail extension from the Red Line to the square in front of the venue opened on December 8, 2009, and links the DART train services at Connolly Station to the venue.

Due to the high volume of pedestrian traffic leaving the venue after concerts, extensive traffic restrictions are put in place along the North Wall Quay after such events, which can cause both the North Wall Quay and the East-Link (Dublin) toll bridge to be restricted for vehicular traffic by the Garda Síochána.

The Luas Red Line extension to the Point opened on December 8, 2009 to coincide with a performance by Lily Allen.[18][19]

In addition, those traveling to the O2 from Dublin Airport can avail of either the Greystones or Dalkey Aircoach services which stop outside the venue, whilst several other private operators also call at the venue.

The Point

Preceding station Luas Following station
Spencer Dock   Red Line   Terminus


  1. ^ - Dublin’s O2 is second busiest venue in the world (19 July 2011)
  2. ^ "Meet the new venue on the block - The O2". The Irish Times. 2008-07-02. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  3. ^ "Live Nation's Point Theater in Dublin to Be Renamed The O2". Reuters. 2008-07-07. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  4. ^ "O2 agrees to pay €25m (not verified) for naming rights to the Point". The Irish Times. 2008-07-05. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  5. ^ "The O2: Welcome to the future". Irish Independent. 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  6. ^ "O2 arena to curb drink at teen gigs". Irish Independent. 2008-12-09. Retrieved 2008-12-10. 
  7. ^ "O2 wins naming rights for 'stunning' new Point". Irish Independent. 2008-07-03. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  8. ^ "Point Theatre to re-open under new name". RTÉ. 2008-07-01. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  9. ^ "U2 make a point with first O2 show". Irish Independent. 2008-12-10. Retrieved 2008-12-10. 
  10. ^ "O2 rocks to sound of music". Irish Independent. 2008-12-17. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  11. ^ Guns N' Roses show statement released. RTÉ Ten. 2 September 2010.
  12. ^ Fan fury as Rose shows thorny side. Irish Independent. 2 September 2010.
  13. ^ Guns N' Roses bottled off stage in Dublin. BBC. 2 September 2010.
  14. ^ Axl Rose bottled offstage at Guns N' Roses' Dublin gig. NME. 2 September 2010.
  15. ^ Guns N' Roses bottled off stage. Toronto Sun. 2 September 2010.
  16. ^ "Getting to The O2". Live Nation. 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ O'Brien, Tim (2009-12-04). "Luas Red Line extension to open on Tuesday". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2010-01-09. "THE LUAS extension from Bus Áras to the Point is to open on Tuesday and will face its first big challenge within hours, the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) said yesterday. [...] The offer coincides with a potential audience of up to 13,000 people at the Lily Allen concert in the O2." 
  19. ^ "Luas extended to Docklands area". RTÉ. 2009-12-08. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 

External links

Coordinates: 53°20′51″N 06°13′43″W / 53.3475°N 6.22861°W / 53.3475; -6.22861

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