Updated: Friday, 16th November 2018 @ 3:41pm

It's a given that Manchester's Irish festival will be the biggest yet

It's a given that Manchester's Irish festival will be the biggest yet

By Barrie White

Manchester will be awash in a sea of green over the next fortnight as the Irish Festival kicked off at the Town Hall on Friday night.

Manchester City’s Irish goalkeeper Shay Given was on hand to help the Lord Mayor of Manchester start the festivities with a civic reception.

The most capped player in Irish football was delighted to be asked to help start proceedings.

Given said: “Manchester and Ireland have always enjoyed a special relationship.

“Not only do we share the same passion for great football, but we also share a common love of arts, culture, music and dance.
“I am immensely proud to be part of this year’s Manchester Irish Festival, which is sure to be bigger and better than ever before.”

Irish superstars Boyzone, Westlife and The Script will be playing at the MEN, and there will be more smaller and traditional events across the city.

The majority of the city’s Irish population- and any other nationality who just loves a good party- will be out in force to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th March.

10 Weird and Wonderful Irish facts:   

 

1. The longest place name in Ireland is Muckanaghederdauhaulia, in County Galway.

2. An odd Irish birthday tradition is to lift the birthday child upside down and give his head a few gentle bumps on the floor for good luck.  The number of bumps should allegedly correspond to the child’s age plus one.

3. One traditional Irish cure for a hangover was to be buried up to the neck in moist river sand.

4. The most famous statuette in the World- the Oscar- was designed by a Dublin man called Cedric Gibbons.

5. One of the most popular radio shows in rural Ireland is still the weekly broadcast of local obituaries.

6. Couples in Ireland could marry legally on St. Brigid's Day (February 1st) in Teltown, County Meath, as recently as the 1920’s by simply walking towards each other.  If the marriage failed, they could "divorce'" by walking away from each other at the same spot on St. Brigid’s day the following year.

7. Kilkenny-born architect James Hoban designed the original White House in Washington.

8. The tallest identical twins ever born were the Knipe Brothers from Magherafelt in County Derry who were 7ft 2in.  They were born in 1761.

9. Kissing the Blarney Stone will apparently give the kisser “the gift of the gab”.

10. Ever heard the phrase “nosy parker"? Well it originated in Ireland. A sergeant Edward Parker had a huge tumour on his nose and was dubbed with this name.

 

Mancunian Matters have picked out some different events for those who want to get a feel for Irish history and culture:

Niall Melon Township Trust Celebration Party

Wednesday 9th March, 7.30pm

St Kentigerns Irish Club, Hart Road, Fallowfield

Tel: 0161 224 2033

Free admission:

Two Irish volunteers, Louise Keegan and Anne Scanlon, will be giving a talk about their experiences in raising £8,000 to build homes in townships in South Africa.

 

Irish Ballads Exhibition

Thursday 10th March, 2pm

Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square.

Free Admission:

This exhibition will chart the origins of the familiar Irish ballads against a backdrop of Irish History.

 

Manchester Irish Writers- I Remember, I Remember

Thursday 10th March, 8pm

Irish World Heritage Centre, Cheetham Hill

Free admission:

Join the Manchester Irish Writers for an evening of Irish memories told through words, music and song.

 

Manchester Irish Festival Market

Friday 11th March – Sunday 13th March

Albert Square, Manchester

This is a must for those who want to sample Irish food, crafts and souvenirs as Albert Square becomes a market centre for all things Irish.

 

The National Irish Studies Conference 2011

Saturday 12th March, 9.30am – 4pm

Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square

Admission: £17.50 for pre-purchased tickets or £20 on door:

This conference will contain a series of keynote speeches on all academic studies and issues Irish.


Irish Language Taster Day

Saturday 12th March, 10am – 12 noon and 1pm – 3pm

Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square

Free admission:

Contact Pat McGuiness on 0161 225 0645 if you want to have a taster session in Ireland’s native tongue.

 

Manchester Irish Festival 21st Anniversary St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Sunday 13th March, 11.30am

Irish World Heritage Centre, Cheetham Hill

Free Admission:

One of Europe’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day parades will head into Albert Square and back again with over seventy community groups taking part.

 

Young, Gifted & Green- Sunday Afternoon Tradfest

Sunday 13th March, 3pm – 6pm

M19 bar & Venue, Levenshulme Road

Tel: 0161 224 8135

Free admission:

The award winning Young, Gifted & Green are staging a special Tradfest at the M19 bar.  Arrive early to claim the best seat!

 

Irish Factor: Final, sponsored by Magners

Friday 18th March, 7pm

The Farmers Arms, Burnage

Tel: 0161 432 6441

Free Admission:

With over £400 worth of prizes awaiting the winner, get there early to get a good seat and maybe see a rising star.


10 Weird and Wonderful Irish facts:   

 

1. The longest place name in Ireland is Muckanaghederdauhaulia, in County Galway.

2. An odd Irish birthday tradition is to lift the birthday child upside down and give his head a few gentle bumps on the floor for good luck.  The number of bumps should allegedly correspond to the child’s age plus one.

3. One traditional Irish cure for a hangover was to be buried up to the neck in moist river sand.

4. The most famous statuette in the World- the Oscar- was designed by a Dublin man called Cedric Gibbons.

5. One of the most popular radio shows in rural Ireland is still the weekly broadcast of local obituaries.

6. Couples in Ireland could marry legally on St. Brigid's Day (February 1st) in Teltown, County Meath, as recently as the 1920’s by simply walking towards each other.  If the marriage failed, they could "divorce'" by walking away from each other at the same spot on St. Brigid’s day the following year.

7. Kilkenny-born architect James Hoban designed the original White House in Washington.

8. The tallest identical twins ever born were the Knipe Brothers from Magherafelt in County Derry who were 7ft 2in.  They were born in 1761.

9. Kissing the Blarney Stone will apparently give the kisser “the gift of the gab”.

10. Ever heard the phrase “nosy parker"? Well it originated in Ireland. A sergeant Edward Parker had a huge tumour on his nose and was dubbed with this name.