There is a large School based free cultural educational programme, which is run by volunteers during the two weeks of the festival.
The first festival was launched in 1996 by the then President of Ireland Mary Robinson. Other VIP's and celebrities to launch the festival include the late Dr Mo Mowlam, Roy Keane, Michael Flatley, Shay Given and the Irish Prime Minister - Bertie Ahern.
The festival has played host to the likes of Shane McGowan, Toss the Feathers, Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, Westlife, The Corrs, Van Morrison , Mary Black, Sharon Shannon, Hazel O'Connor, Stocktons Wing and The Oyster Band.
Irish Comedians involved have included Peter Kay, Ardal O'Hanlon, Jason Manford, Tommy Tiernan, Jason Byrne and Dylan Moran. They have all appeared in Levenshulme village during the Irish Festival and a special exhibition featuring those famous faces will take place in the area.
The festival takes place all over Manchester at over 80 venues featuring 200 events and involving just over 1,000 performers.
It annually attracts close to 100,000 visitors to its Parade Day alone.
An estimated 1 million pints of mostly Guinness and Heineken will be drunk during the 16 day festival which takes place all over Greater Manchester.
For more information log onto www.manchesteririshfestival.co.uk.