Big Tom still packing them in

Hot on the success of the previous weekend’s ‘Donegal Live’ event in Donegal Town, tourism operators in the Eskeside town had broad smiles on their faces as one of the legends of Irish Country music sailed into town with an unprecedented number of fans last weekend.

Hot on the success of the previous weekend’s ‘Donegal Live’ event in Donegal Town, tourism operators in the Eskeside town had broad smiles on their faces as one of the legends of Irish Country music sailed into town with an unprecedented number of fans last weekend.

Castleblaney gentle giant, Big Tom McBride, who many years ago packed the halls around the county including Leghowney, Drimarone, the Butt Hall and the Orchid, continues to draw them in wherever he appears.

Last weekend Tom reconvened all the original members of the Mainliners and entertained packed houses in the Abbey Hotel with his loyal fans travelling from every part of the country.

Danny O’Donnell, manager of the hotel said, “This man is simply an enigma - he has simply reached Messiah status. People are often curious about his age but to be quite honest it doesn’t really matter. This man simply goes on and on and is singing better than ever.

“From the moment he set foot on the stage his fans just gathered around and looked and listened in awe - they are devoted to him.”

O’Donnell added that Big Tom’s weekend appearance provided a financial bonanza to the town and the immediate surrounding area.

“All the hotels were totally full and our front office staff spent most of the weekend on the ‘phone trying to source accommodation for guests as far away as Ballybofey and Killybegs and everywhere in between.

“Tom attracts an older age group with more disposable income with the result that everybody in the area gained - the pubs, restaurants, shops and guesthouses. The question on nearly everybody’s lips was ‘What have you on next weekend?’. It was a great endorsement of the tourism product in Donegal.

“We have had a great start to the summer season and it looks like continuing - the range of entertainment and accommodation is incredible - there literally is something for everybody in Donegal.” concluded O’Donnell.