Manchester Irish Festival teams up with the The Gathering 2013
Europe’s biggest Irish event outside Ireland will host over 200 events
The Irish party continues in earnest right through to Monday 18 March with events all over the city, which range from special all day traditional Irish music sessions to black tie dinners and special Irish club nights.
The Festival website www.manchesteririshfestival.co.uk is the world’s premier Irish Festival website.
It’s the world’s longest Irish Festival lasting ten days.
It’s a community based festival, run by volunteers from the city’s vibrant Irish community.
It is not commercially led, but has the support of local businesses and the Manchester City council along with some corporate sponsors.
Levenshulme village is one of the main areas of focus for the festival, it is home to the biggest Irish community outside of London. The village organises its own tradfest during the festival, which features Irish music, Comedy & Dance.
*21 concerts staged in its pubs, most of them free
* Special international Photography exhibition ‘Mayo Gathering’ features over ten different photographers from New York to Mayo.
One of the highlights of the festival is the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade which has over 70 floats representing every county in Ireland is run by the Irish World Heritage Centre. The Parade is the biggest outside of New York and goes right through the city centre. It is solely a non-commercial parade featuring different community groups and run by volunteers.
It has its own very popular annual six day Irish community market attracting traders and visitors from all over Ireland and the UK.
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.