Dublin, Ireland To Honor U2

When music fans think of Dublin, Ireland, they think of U2.

Lord Mayor Mary Freehill of Dublin apparently agrees. On Tuesday, after saying that the band has "placed Dublin on the map," she announced that the band, as well as its longtime manager, Paul McGuinness, will be presented with the "freedom Of Dublin" honor, according to various news reports.

"Despite their international success, they continue to live, record and plan their world-class campaigns here," she said. "U2 placed Dublin on the map as an attractive destination for many young music lovers who would never have visited Ireland otherwise. The band are always quick to support the city's charities and cultural initiatives."

Also receiving the honor will be Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize while living under house arrest. Burma's military dictatorship still heavily restricts her activities. She is being honored in recognition of her role in promoting

democracy and for her inspiration to women, particularly in developing countries.

Members of the Dublin city council voted unanimously to confer the honor to both U2 (whose membership includes Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen) and Suu Kyi. Although formal arrangements have yet to be decided upon, U2 and Suu Kyi will receive their honor early next year.

Past recipients of the freedom of Dublin include President Clinton in 1996 and Mother Theresa of Calcutta in 1993.

In other U2 news, the band is currently working on its next album, said to be a return a stripped down, guitar-bass-drums sound (see "Bono Reveals 'Classic' Nature Of Next U2 Album").