Stormy weather as fans pour into Lissadell
THE sound of water gushing from a window fountain in The Strand in London inspired WB Yeats to write the world-famous 'Lake Isle of Innisfree'.
But 122 years later, all in his native Sligo were praying for the water to stop yesterday so that 30,000 concert-goers could enjoy world-famous music from a place he loved, Lissadell House.
After a morning of torrential rain, the skies began to clear in time for last night's concert by Westlife. And almost 10,000 fans, many carrying rainwear, poured into the grounds of the historic retreat for its first-ever open-air concert.
Tonight and tomorrow, they will be followed by 20,000 fans of an older generation hoping the rains hold off further for legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. The 75-year-old Canadian -- who was born five years before Yeats, his poetic idol, died -- is expected to pay a private visit to the poet's grave at the nearby Drumcliffe Church.
Meanwhile, hotels in Sligo and south Donegal have been booked out for the weekend. Paul Diver, of the Sandhouse Hotel, Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal, said: "It's the busiest weekend of our year. We were 75pc booked within two hours when it was announced that Leonard Cohen was playing."
Westlife's Kian Egan, who along with band mates Shane Filan and Mark Feehily hails from Sligo, said: "Having all our friends and family coming to our hometown to hear us is amazing. It's going to be sad when it's all over because it's been such great hype for us."