COUNCILLOR John Flanagan is to turn Manchester's Albert Square ‘green’ as part of Ireland’s global gathering campaign and the city's own annual 10 day celebration which this year marks its 18th anniversary.
The square will be going 'green' from this Friday March 8 until the St Patrick’s Day on Sunday 17 March, when up to 100,000 visitors will pack into the city centre to welcome the annual three hour St Patrick's Day Parade which features over 70 floats representing every County in Ireland and a contribution from the St George's Day Parade.
A giant festival banner will adorn the front of the Town Hall and the clock will be turn green along with the famous fountain on the cobbled square.
The Tri-Colour of the Irish flag will fly over the parapets of the civic building for the duration of the festival.
The Festival market has promised to give visitors a taste of Ireland with its own ‘village green’ and ‘Leprechaun House’. There will also be a special Festival entertainment tent called ‘O’Brien’s Irish Bar’ that will be staging live Irish entertainment all through the festival.
When asked about why he helped stage the market, Cllr Flanagan, who is one of the co-chairs of this year's Manchester Irish Festival, replied: “The market and Parade are two major highlights of the festival and attract thousands of visitors to the city and much needed tourism revenue to Manchester. We are extremely grateful to the city council and our main sponsors Tourism Ireland, Ireland.com, The Irish Post, Guinness and Heineken along with numerous contributions from the Irish community who have helped us stage a festival which is unrivaled in Europe.”
The famous market will be open from 9am until 6pm each day from Friday 8 March until March 17; it will feature the very best of Irish Craft products, Music Souvenirs, food, jewellery, and other product from the Emerald Isle.
There is also a Traditional Irish Cafe where you can relax and enjoy a Gaelic Coffee and a large Irish festival entertainment marquee hosted by O’Brien’s Irish Bar. The marquee is free admission and open each day with live Irish music and Irish Food.
A special Cask Ale Festival will be launched in O’Brien’s Bar on Friday, March 8 with ales from all over Ireland available. Other highlights include a Comedy night featuring ‘Mr Foley’ from the award winning Mrs Brown Boys and ‘Shameless’ actor – Ciaran Griffiths.
The St Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday 17 March will start at 11.30am from the Irish World Heritage Centre and ends at Albert Square around 1pm.
The Irish Post is the media partner of Manchester Irish Festival.