A rarely seen photograph of the Irish poet WB Yeats, taken shortly before his death, went on public display for the first time this weekend at the famous Lissadell House in County Sligo.

Lissadell was the ancestral home of Countess Constance Markievicz, and Yeats was a frequent guest and knew it intimately, writing about it with particular passion his his poetry.

Now Lissadell has been opened to the public and the exhibition of paintings and photographs featuring the poet is attracting the crowds.

The rarely seen deathbed photograph of the frail and elderly Irish poet forms part of a new exhibition in the Yeats Gallery, which was officially opened last week by poet and singer Leonard Cohen, who performed two concerts on the grounds of the house last weekend.

The picture of the dying poet, taken by his wife George days before his death in 1939, shows Yeats lying on a bed, a white cat sitting on his knee.

There is also a photograph of the ship bearing the coffin of Yeats back to Ireland from Switzerland for burial in Drumcliff Churchyard.

Lissadell owners Eddie Walsh and Constance Cassidy gave one of two first-edition books of Yeats's poetry as a gift to Cohen, a Yeats fan.

The family decided to reopen the house and gardens following the success of the Leonard Cohen concerts. Estate manager Isobel Cassidy said that they were delighted with the turnout for the exhibition.