ob Geldof told a festival crowd that late singer Sinead O’Connor had sent him text messages weeks before her death which were “laden with desperation, despair and sorrow”.
Tributes have been paid to her by well-known figures across the music industry since her death.
Several gatherings have also been held in the days since O’Connor’s death where members of the public paid tribute to her legacy as a musician and activist.
Geldof, 71, who grew up with her family and lived “down the road” from her, told the crowd: “Many, many times Sinead was full of a terrible loneliness and a terrible despair.
“She was a very good friend of mine. We are talking right up to a couple of weeks ago.
“Some of the texts were laden with desperation and despair and sorrow and some were ecstatically happy. And she was like that.”
O’Connor, who was propelled to international stardom in 1990 with her version of the hit Nothing Compares 2 U, was also known for taking fierce stances on social and political issues such as the child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.
The Grammy Award-winning singer sparked controversy and made headlines in 1992 when she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II on US TV show Saturday Night Live in protest, sparking a ferocious backlash.
Geldof said: “She tore up the picture of the Pope because she saw me tearing up a picture of John Travolta on Top Of The Pops. It was a little more extreme than tearing up f****** disco – tearing up the Vatican is a whole other thing but more correct actually, I should’ve done it.”
Ahead of the Irish concert, Geldof told Aine Duffy for Irish Web TV, that the band were “all very sad” following O’Connor’s death and had decided to play a number of their oldest tracks for the crowd as she was a “big Rats fan” and had gone to many of their gigs as a young girl.
He said: “Sinead lived down the road from me and Gary, the guitar player in the band who died about six or seven months ago, we are quite literally down the road.
“So we’ve known that girl most of her life, really. She was a big Rats fan… so, to be honest with you, that’s why we’re doing very early stuff and we dedicate this gig to her, it’s the only thing we can do as musicians.
“We were friends all the way through. She was signed to the same little record label we were signed to, by the same guy, had the same manager and stuff like that so there’s a big connection there.”
Geldof confirmed the performance at Cavan Calling was “definitely for Sinead”.
On Monday evening, people braved the rain to pay tribute to the late singer in Belfast’s Writers Square.
Some held old news articles about O’Connor and tore them up while chanting “fight the real enemy”, echoing her 1992 protest on the US TV programme Saturday Night Live when she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II.
The crowd in Writers Square also sang her famous hit, Nothing Compares 2 U.
Roise McCann, an organiser and activist with the feminist group ROSA who organised the gathering, told the PA news agency that O’Connor’s death has “touched so many people”.
“You can’t separate the music of Sinead O’Connor from her activism – her early activism as an abortion rights activist, her iconic movements against the abuse within the Catholic Church and her later support of the Black Lives Matter movement and against transphobia.
“As an activist myself and as a woman growing up in Ireland, I completely resonate with her lyrics and her artistry about oppression and also I’m inspired by her legacy of activism.”