The Emerald Isle has arrived in Manchester suburbs with more than 100 events being held to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.
Manchester is home to the biggest Irish community in the UK and this 10-day festival is aimed at promoting Irish events and culture all year round.
Tony Hennigan, from the Manchester Irish Festival, said the celebrations – which began on March 10 – have been “brilliant packed-out events”.
He said: “We have been celebrating it for the last 28 years and we’re one of the world’s biggest Irish festivals and it’s really fun for us to feature our Irish culture.
“The festival is not just about promoting Irish events around St Patrick’s week, it was formed to promote Irish events 365 days a year.
“We have got the Cheltenham festival this week and the final of the Six Nations this weekend, and we are hoping that Ireland will win the grand slam- I think it would be a fantastic end to the festival!”
The events range from live music, performances and dancing and they are set to deliver good craic and entertainment.
On St Patrick’s night, March 17, the award-winning Fianna Phadraig Irish Pipe Band are taking the drums and pipes on tour by travelling around the Irish communities in Levenshulme and Burnage.
Also, Manchester Irish bar Fiddlers Green, based on Stockport Road, is celebrating its final St Patrick’s Day before retirement in April.
The festival ends on Mother’s Day, March 19th, with live music and performances from 2pm onwards at the ‘Taste of Ireland’ event. It will feature performances from the McGuire family, and the Keegan Academy of Irish Dancing – which is ran by Lord of the Dance performer James Keegan.
The festival has already seen performances from upcoming Cork musician Cian Durcot, and Fiddle player Colleen Langan from Donegal.
Irish musicians are becoming a regular Manchester feature, even after the festival ends, with performances from Dermot Kennedy, Lyra, The Mary Wallopers and Inhaler.
This summer will see performances at the Castlefield Bowl with a headline show from the recently reformed band from West Coast Ireland, The Saw Doctors, on July 1.
Some of the events held over the festival are sponsored by Tourism Ireland, who launched a ‘press the green button’ campaign to highlight Ireland as a holiday destination.