THE weather may be wet and miserable but the Happy Days spirit was alive and well in Enniskillen this evening as the town's first Beckett Festival got under way.

Special guests including Starsky and Hutch star, David Soul, Enniskillen's own Adrian Dunbar and the Director of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, Ruth Mackenzie assembled at Portora Royal School to officially launch the five day multi-arts celebration.

Treading the boards that the Nobel Prize winner, Samuel Beckett once walked as an old Portoran, the VIPs had a chance to view photographer, John Minnihan's exhibition, a collection of Samuel Beckett snaps, captured over a number of years.

The entourage, including Festival Director, Sean Doran, then made their way to Enniskillen Castle, which will serve as the Festival Centre over the Bank Holiday weekend.

A nine-hole putting green, a 100-seater Cinema, a French Champagne and Wine Bar and the Festival's chess set are just a few of the attractions filling every corner of the Castle Courtyard.

Mingling for a while the guests then boarded the Smeraldina Cruiser to make their way to the Official Opening event, Edna O'Brien in conversation with William Crawley at the Ardhowen Theatre.

Later, the Smeraldina returned its guests to Enniskillen Castle to enjoy the opening concert by pianist, Llyr Williams, playing Beethoven Moonlight Sonata, twice.

The Festival continues tomorrow with an array of events including: Act Without Words, a family theatrical experience at Portora Steele Hall at 12 noon A preview of the headline event, Robert Wilson's Krapp's Last Tape in the Ardhowen Theatre at 8.30pm The 'Bend it Like Beckett' Beckett Skulls Rowing Race at Broadmeadow at 6pm David Soul's reading of Assumption in Portora Royal School at 6pm. For details on any of these events and more, contact the Festival office on 028 6632 2658 and stay with for further video and updates over the weekend.