Thursday 08, March 2012
Manchester painted green for Irish Festival
MANCHESTER has started painting the town green as it hosts this year's Irish Festival, Todd Fitzgerald reports.
The tricolour flag was raised high over the city's Town Hall in Albert Square for the annual celebrations of all things Irish.
The 17th Manchester Irish Festival Market has opened, bringing a taste of the Emerald Isle to the city.
A giant banner has adorned the Town Hall and its clock has even been turned Irish green.
The festival is one of the biggest in Europe and this Sunday's parade will feature more than 70 floats and a thousand participants.
Around 100,000 people are expected the line the three-mile route.
This year's festival has been commended by Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny with the Taoiseach applauding the celebrations of Irish culture.
Councillor John Flanagan co-chairman of the festival and the market's main
organiser says the event brings much to the city.
He said: "They are two major highlights and attract much needed tourism revenue to Manchester.
"We are extremely grateful to the City Council, our sponsors and the numerous contributions from the Irish community who have helped us stage a festival which is unrivalled in Europe."
The four-day market features its own 'village green', Irish crafts, music, souvenirs, food, drink and jewellery.
A traditional Irish cafe offers a relaxing Gaelic coffee and a large festival marquee features live Irish music and food.
A Cask Ale Festival was also opened toady in the marquee hosting ales from across the Irish Sea and the North West.
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