Bono was ‘beaten up by Orangemen’ as a kid - if you can believe Bon Jovi

US singer delivers Irish history remix as he contrasts his upbringing with U2 frontman

In his early childhood, Bono was subjected to threats of violence from Orangemen marauding through his Dublin neighbourhood - at least if you believe a brief history of rock legends according to Jon Bon Jovi.

The singer from the eponymous New Jersey band paints a rather colourful, if entirely fanciful, portrait of his Irish peer. But then, growing up in a quiet north Dublin suburb just wouldn't be very rock and roll, would it?

In an interview on the US-based Armchair Expert podcast, Bon Jovi briefly discusses topical song writing in the context of his comparatively humble upbringing, devoid of the kind of lingering sectarian threat that overhung the U2 front man.

“Bono is probably right at my age, he’s a couple of months older I think. His upbringing was obviously very different than mine,” he said.


“I never had the Orangemen walking through my neighbourhood saying, you know, get the Catholic kid and beat him up.

“You know I didn’t have any of that kind of turmoil in suburban New Jersey when you had a wonderful middle class upbringing with two hard working parents. So of course you’re writing the happy anthemic song.”

Bon Jovi appears to be referring to members of the Orange Order who celebrate the 17th century king William of Orange and his efforts to secure the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland.

The celebratory marching season between April and August, peaking on July 12th, sees Orangemen march in locations across Northern Ireland to commemorate William's victory.

Some way south of the Border, however, Bono - or Paul Hewson - grew up in Finglas, north Dublin (Ballymun is also known to claim him). His father was Catholic but his mother was Protestant.

Bono went to the multidenominational Mount Temple secondary school and, according to reports, attended Protestant Church of Ireland services growing up.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times