Leonard Cohen played before a crowd of 20,000 devoted fans at Lissadell House, Sligo, with two concerts over the weekend.
The house is located just miles away from Drumcliffe, the birthplace of Irish poet WB Yeats, and Yeats often stayed at the house visiting the young Countess Constance Markievicz.
While on stage Cohen repeated lines by Yeats about one of his trips to visit Markievicz and her sister Eva Gore-Booth. He quoted “Two girls in silk kimonos, both/ Beautiful, one a gazelle.” He told the audience that he had learnt those lines 50 years ago in his hometown Montreal.
Again the singer with a “golden voice” quoted the poet again while singing, the his much covered song, “Hallelujah.” He added the line “I've told the truth, I did not come to the Yeats County to fool you”
As always the Irish audience was deeply touched by Cohen’s performance. One audience member Mike McGettrick has travelled from Canberra, Australia to see the concert. He told the Irish Independent "In all my life I have never seen a performance the like of which Leonard Cohen gave in Ireland this weekend. The whole atmosphere he created and the crowd's reaction. We were shaking by the end of it."
Lissadell House had been closed to the public in recent times due to an ongoing right-of-way dispute. Though they are still awaiting a ruling from the High Court a decision was made to keep the house and the Yeats exhibition open for the rest of the summer season.
Knowing that Cohen is a fan of Yeats’ poetry much of the exhibition, including letters, was on show in his changing area. He commented “I could get used to this."
On Sunday the singer took officially opened the Yeats’ exhibition. In the visitor’s book he signed "Leonard Cohen, Montreal" and under comments: "sublime".