Snippets of Bruxelles history

 

The new bar in Harry St adopted the name ‘Bruxelles’ to mark Ireland’s joining the European Economic Community (EEC) In other ways it marked a new beginning too for Dublin pub life and the birth of a new standard and attitude in hospitality.

Paul Weller has often made a point of having a pint in Bruxelles during his many visits to the city down the years. Oasis took over the Zodiac bar for their after show events in the ‘90s, entertained by Paolo Hewitt on the decks.

Indie favourites, Snow Patrol and Ash have partied there as has Andrew Ridgley of Wham! and Keren Woodward of Banarama.

 

Irish rugby international, Brian O’Driscoll has often cited Bruxelles as one of his all time favourite Saturday night fun spots.

 

First Photo. Taken on Phil Lynott’s birthday, 20 August 2012, a rose in is hand and lapel placed there by his mother Phyllis Lynott. Second Photo. The Artist Paul Daly with the original and the enlarged statue.

STATUE FOR PHILO

An interview between the Artist Paul Daly and Dermott Hayes

Sculptor Paul Daly never sculpted before he made his dream come true. He grew up steeped in the lyrics and music of Thin Lizzy and Phil Lynott, sitting on the floor of his parents’ home in Raheny, doodling with crayons while his older brother rocked out to Thin Lizzy and Shades of a Blue Orphanage.

He had a close encounter with his hero once while on a weekend jaunt with a buddy around some Howth village drinking haunts. ‘It was in the early ‘80s,’ he recalls, ‘we were coming down from the Cock Tavern, along Abbey St when there he was, tall as life…leather strides, white shirt, black boots. We didn’t say hello and I regret it since but, you know how it is, we thought it would be uncool.’ That regret hung with him. While his brother played air guitar to ‘The Rocker’ and ‘Vagabonds of a Western World,’ Paul drew his hero, the Crumlin Cowboy.

He got a job, fell in love, and raised a family. Philo died and his legend grew. Paul kept his dream alive by attending Smiley Bolger’s annual Vibes for Philo. Then serendipity stepped in.

“I saw Philo’s mother, Phyllis on the Kelly Show in 2001 and she said the Roisin Dubh Foundation was going to raise the money for a statue to commemorate him. She said they’d be looking for an artist to do it. I knew it had to be me.’

That single-mindedness reaped its reward. Paul experimented with clay and soft wax. He created an image of that man he’d seen back in Howth in the ‘80s, standing tall and proud with the swagger of the cowboy and the vagabond. ‘It was what he was all about,’ says Paul.

The statue was cast life-sized in bronze by Cast Foundry of South Brown Street, The Liberties, Dublin, from Paul’s original bronze maquette that now stands on the shelves of Bruxelles’ bar, Harry Street, Dublin 2.



Terry O’Neill, Thin Lizzy’s first manager, recalls the significance of the Zodiac Lounge and the people who regularly frequented it in those days. "Skid Row and Thin Lizzy used it as their base in the early days. McDaid’s was a folk music bar and we made the Zodiac our own place."

Since those early days, Bruxelles bar has become synonymous with the new Dublin music scene. Because even though the bands moved on, they left behind a gathering place for like-minded souls. When the bar extended into what is now The Flanders bar, its part in the lore of Irish rock was established.