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Sunday 16 June 2019

Plans for series of Leonard Cohen concerts at Lissadell scuppered by row

Brian Hutton

Plans for a Leonard Cohen extravaganza at Lissadell House this year have been scuppered over a row about rights of way through the estate, according to an international promoter.

The Sligo landmark was the singer's favourite venue and work was under way for a series of shows which would also celebrate Irish culture, said Rob Hallett, the impresario who coaxed Cohen out of retirement.

"We were planning a couple of nights there with Leonard," he said.

"I was working on a series because we think Lissadell is a magical place. It was going to include Leonard and other artists as well; a blend of music, poetry, culture and food. So you could go to Lissadell, get a Yeats experience, get a Cohen experience and have famous actors and writers reciting great Irish works."

Hallett, president of international touring at AEG Live, said he had spoken about his plans with Lissadell owners Eddie Walsh and Constance Cassidy but was told it was a non-runner amid their dispute with Sligo County Council.

Last year the couple were expected to challenge a High Court ruling confirming rights of way through the estate, the former home of Countess Constance Markievicz, which has strong links with WB Yeats.

Cohen, a fan of Yeats, opened a museum to the poet at the house during his gigs there two years ago but that has since been closed to the public, along with the house and gardens.

Hallett said the concerts would have been planned for the August bank holiday this year and could have pumped as much as €10m into the local economy.

"It was going to be a whole cultural celebration," he said.

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