Madonna angers Irish over Sunday concert. Authorities fear her upcoming Slane Castle gig will provoke a riot in the Catholic country

By Gary Susman
Updated April 09, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

Irish eyes are not smiling at Madonna. The Material Mom is scheduled to play her first-ever concert in the Emerald Isle at Slane Castle, north of Dublin on August 29, a Sunday. Local parish priest Joe Deegan, a self-proclaimed Madonna fan who says he wants to go to the concert, slammed the scheduling on Ireland’s RTE state radio on Friday, noting that a Sunday show would be offensive to many in a country that’s 90 percent Catholic. ”The Lord’s Day for a lot of people around this part of the world is Sunday and it seems a bit inconsiderate and insensitive that our religious beliefs are not taken into account,” he said.

Lord Henry Mount Charles, who owns the castle, told Reuters that August 29 was the only day Madonna had free, adding that her current interest in Jewish Kabbalah mysticism was not what kept her from scheduling the show for a Saturday, when Jews observe the Sabbath. Twenty years ago, the last time Slane Castle hosted a Sunday concert by a major star — Bob Dylan — there were riots. ”I knew people would stir up memories of 1984,” Lord Mount Charles told Reuters. ”This year Bob Dylan is playing in Galway on Sunday, June 27. So if he can play there on a Sunday, I am puzzled why there is opposition to Madonna playing Slane on a Sunday.”

Father Deegan said he was also worried that people might take offense at Madonna’s ”very sexually provocative” stage show. Of course, now that Bob Dylan is a Victoria’s Secret pitchman, he may have the same problem.