2012 Manchester to maintain its position as Europe’s biggest Irish Festival

The annual 2012 Manchester Irish Festival which is now in its 17th year is on course to maintain its position as one of the biggest celebrations of Irish Culture this year.

From Tony Hennigan
Manchester Irish Festival Press Office
Tel 07912512977 for further information or photographs

Manchester to maintain its position as Europe’s biggest Irish Festival

The annual Manchester Irish Festival which is now in its 17th year is on course to maintain its position as one of the biggest celebrations of Irish Culture this year. The 17 day event which kicks off on Friday 2 March and runs through to Sunday 18th March is staging over 200 Art, Comedy, Dance, Film, Literature, Music, Theatre and Sport events at over 80 venues in and around Greater Manchester. Sponsored by Magners, Guinness and The Irish Post with support from Manchester City Council the two week Irish extravaganza brings in millions of much needed extra revenue to the Greater Manchester area.

Kevin Fitzpatrick one of the co-chairs of this years Irish Festival said “The festival line up is one of our biggest yet, it is packed with headline events from intimate VIP Film screenings to huge events at the 20,000 capacity Manchester Arena. The annual event has developed links with Irish organisations all over the world. Mayo County Council in the West of Ireland is flying over to promote tourism in the County and is staging a special ‘Mayo weekend’. Whilst film producers from New York are to stage the UK screening of a brand new Irish Music documentary called ‘Beautiful People’, which was filmed in Manhattan.”

Cllr Pat Karney the Life President of the festival said " The festival is now one of the great and unmissable Manchester events."

The Festival annually attracts over 200,000 visitors from all over the world. Major festival highlights include a four day City Centre Irish Festival Market and Entertainment Marquee which will turn the City Centre Green from Thursday 8th March to Sunday 11th March. The Marquee will have is own licensed Irish Bar called ‘O’Briens’ which is staging a four day Cask Ale Festival alongside live Irish entertainment and food. The special family friendly event, takes place in Albert Square just outside Manchester Town Hall. It coincides with the three hour St Patrick’s Day Parade(officially the biggest Irish Festival Parade in the UK) on Sunday 11th March and a VIP Town Hall Festival reception on Friday 9th March.

Headline events include ‘The Pride of Eireann international Irish Awards’ Gala Dinner hosted by Keith Duffy from Coronation Street, plus special concerts from Tommy Flemming, The Dubliners, Sinead O’Connor and the debut of Manchester’s first Irish Orchestra ‘Ivernia’ and a two week Tradfest in Levenshulme. The world premier for Paul O’Grady’s ‘Street of Dreams’ about Coronation Street is also being staged alongside the festival and is featured in the festivals brochure.

All listings for the festival are featured on the official website www.manchesteririshfestival.co.uk

Interesting Facts
The Festival website www.manchesteririshfestival.co.uk is the world’s premier Irish Festival website.
It’s the world’s longest Irish Festival lasting just over two weeks. Dublin itself just stages a weekend of events.
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 two week tradfest during the festival, which features two weeks of Irish music, Comedy & Dance.

Highlights include:
* Annual Four day Irish community market and free Irish Entertainment Marquee attracting traders, visitors and performers from all over Ireland and the UK.
* The annual St Patrick’s Day Parade which has over 70 floats representing every county in Ireland and is run by the Irish World Heritage Centre. The three hour Parade is one of 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.
* ‘Pride of Eireann International Irish Awards’ Gala Dinner
* The Guinness sponsored South Manchester Tradfest featuring 22 Traditional Irish Music concerts staged in the Levenshulme Pub Company’s venues, most of the concerts are free admission
*UK screening of ‘Beautiful People’ an Irish Music Documentary filmed in New York
*Irish Literature Festival
*Irish Genealogist Surgeries to trace your Irish roots
* Special international Photography exhibition ‘I love MCR Mayo’ which features the work of photographers from County Mayo in the West of Ireland and Manchester
*UK Debut for ‘Ivernia’ Manchester’s first Irish Orchestra
*5oth Anniversary Concert for ‘The Dubliners’
*Special concert by ‘Tommy Flemming’ (The Voice of Ireland) – UK tour
*Special anniversary gig by Sinead O’Connor
* Irish National Studies Conference
*School based cultural educational programme

Festival Facts
*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 The Script, Liam Gallagher, Boyzone, Shane McGowan, The Corrs, 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, Brenda Carroll (Mrs Brown) Ardal O'Hanlon, Jason Manford, Tommy Tiernan, Jason Byrne and Dylan Moran.
*The festival takes place all over Greater Manchester at over 80 venues featuring 200 events and involving just over 1,000 performers.
*It annually attracts over 200,000 visitors, 100,000 visitors are attracted to its Parade Day alone.
*An estimated 1 million pints of mostly Guinness and Magners will be drunk during the 17 day festival which takes place all over Greater Manchester.

For more information log onto www.manchesteririshfestival.co.uk