Windmill Lane Studios, also known as the "U2 studio", is a three-storey music recording studio located in Dublin, Ireland. It is located on Windmill Lane, a small street just south of City Quay and the River Liffey and a little north of Pearse Station. It was opened in 1978 by Brian Masterson who is a company director and head engineer. It was originally used to record traditional Irish music until U2 came along and began to record there. Prior to this, Irish rock bands such as Thin Lizzy or The Boomtown Rats carried out their recordings outside Ireland. It is now boarded up, with the actual studios having moved elsewhere. Nevertheless, the studios are still a popular cult symbol and are regularly visited by tourists, particularly those originally from the United States. Criticism has been expressed amongst local activists at proposed plans to turn the old building into a six-storey office block. Pulse Recording College recently took ownership of the studios. The college has previously sent students to work at Windmill Lane straight after graduation and these students have collaborated with 50 Cent, Bryan Adams, Moya Brennan, Donovan, Jon Bon Jovi and New Order.
Windmill Lane Studios is globally recognised for its connection to internationally recognised artists of Irish extraction such as U2, Sinéad O'Connor, Eleanor McEvoy, The Corrs, and Clannad, whilst Van Morrison acquired it for his own personal use in 2006. Juniper, the band which later became Bell X1 and Damien Rice, recorded some of their musical material on location at the studios during their brief existence in the 1990s, including the song which eventually divided them creatively. The Clannad song, "Theme from Harry's Game", which went on to chart in the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as well as in the band's native Ireland, was originally recorded at Windmill Lane Studios. International artists have also made use of Windmill Lane Studios; these include the Rolling Stones, Kate Bush, Kylie Minogue, R.E.M., Elvis Costello, The Waterboys and The Spice Girls. Albums to have been fully or partially recorded at Windmill Lane Studios include Boy, War and The Joshua Tree by U2, Back on Top, Magic Time and Pay the Devil by Van Morrison, Hounds of Love by Kate Bush, Fisherman's Blues by The Waterboys, and Spike by Elvis Costello. Renowned producers such as Steve Lillywhite, Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, Stephen Street, Geoff Emerick, Nellee Hooper, Trevor Horn, Flood and Don Was have made extensive use of the facilities at Windmill Lane Studios.
The soundtracks to several films have been recorded at Windmill Lane Studios. These include the soundtracks to films such as A Room with a View, The Remains of the Day, The Mask and The Tailor of Panama, as well as The Grifters, My Left Foot and A River Runs Through It. Orchestras would regularly record their music there as it is one of the larger locations in Ireland to do this. Windmill Lane Studios have been recommended as a tourist attraction by publications such as The New York Times.Many people are attracted by the significant amounts of graffiti left as a tribute to acts such as U2 and some even add to it themselves when they visit the site.