Manchester Irish Festival teams up with the The Gathering 2013
Europe’s biggest Irish event outside Ireland will host over 200 events
This years’ 2013 Manchester Irish Festival has teamed up with Tourism Ireland and the 2013 Gathering in Ireland campaign. It is expected to attract over 200,000 people to its ten day celebration. The Irish Cultural extravaganza is set to feature over 200 events at 80 venues, making it Europe’s biggest Irish event outside of the Emerald Isle.
The ten day Festival will run from Friday 8 March until Monday 18 March and is being sponsored by the 2013 Gathering, Heineken, Guinness and the Irish Post. Highlights include a Three Day St Patrick’s Parade weekend from Friday 15th March to Sunday 17 March. The Albert Square Irish Festival market is to be launched on Friday 8 march, it will run over both weekends until Sunday 17 March. Whilst a VIP packed civic reception in the Town Hall is on Saturday 9th March, which will officially kick start the weekend’s festival celebrations. Just over 100,000 visitors are expected to converge on the city centre on Sunday 17 March to greet the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade which is now the biggest such Parade in the UK.
The party continues until Monday 18 March with major shows from The Script, The Fureys, Clannad and a whole host of award winning Irish performers and groups.
Major Gathering highlights include a special 'Mayo Gathering' weekend which will feature the 'Connioras' group from County Mayo who will be staging a series of Gala concerts and plays to promote the nine day Manchester-Mayo Gathering which takes place in Ballina from the 1-9 August.
Unlike other Irish festival around the world the Manchester extravaganza does not just celebrate St Patrick’s day itself on the 17th March, but instead it stages a 10 day party, which features a full programme of Irish culture, comedy, heritage, literature, music, sport and theatre. Full festival listings are up on the official festival website at www.manchesteririshfestival.co.uk
Tony Hennigan the Manchester-Mayo Gathering co-ordinator said "We are really looking forward to this years Manchester Irish Festival and promoting the year of the Gathering in Ireland and our own contribution in Mayo in the summer."
Kevin Fitzpatrick one of the co-chairs of the annual event added “This year’s festival has a fantastic line up and it looks like being our biggest festival to date. We are delighted to have Tourism Ireland on board as one of our main sponsors and the yearlong 2013 Gathering in Ireland campaign will be one of our main focuses at the celebration. Our Parade was officially named as one of the biggest in the UK by the Irish Embassy in 2009 and this year we are hoping that we might finally get the European title.”
Other festival highlights include the Guinness sponsored ten day Tradfest in Levenshulme village and Burnage which is home to the one of biggest Irish community outside of London. The event will feature a special Mayo Gathering weekend with acts coming over from County Mayo to appear at the event. Other festival hubs which are putting on a full schedule of events include the award winning St Kent’s Irish club in Fallowfield, O’Shea’s Irish Pub in the city centre and the newly opened Irish World Heritage Centre in Cheetham Hill.