Manchester Irish community to feature in RTÉ special this Christmas

Manchester Irish community to feature in RTÉ special this Christmas

MEMBERS of the Irish community in Manchester are the focus of a new documentary celebrating the diaspora in Britain.

A special programme recorded for RTÉ Radio 1 will showcase the Irish in the city and how they celebrate their roots while living in the north of England.

Created by Audio Always, a Manchester-based production company, Manchester’s Irish Heart will air on RTÉ Radio 1 on Wednesday, December 27.

Tony Hennigan, Joe Casserley, Deb Grant, James Keegan, Alan Keegan and Emma Goswell pictured outside the Union Irish Music bar in Levenshulme

For the show, the production team visited Levenshulme in south Manchester this month, which is known to some locals as ‘Little Mayo’ due to its deep connections to the Irish county.

Local man Tony Hennigan, who is the director of the Young, Gifted and Green promotions company, was interviewed for the programme.

“It was great to see RTÉ in the heart of Manchester’s Irish community and to chat to them about we’ve been doing to promote Irish culture in the city since 1989,” he told The Irish Post.

“We also spoke about our work with Mayo County Council during the last ten years, with the Mayo Manchester Tourism and Business group, to develop relationships between the two areas.”

Producer Emma Goswell and Deb Grant in Manchester

The show is presented by Dubliner Deb Grant and produced by Emma Goswell.

The pair popped into the Union Irish music bar in Levenshulme to chat to local man and former Irish dancing world champion James Keegan, who is currently Creative Manager on Michael Flatley's hit show Lord of The Dance.

Other guests include Matt Kelly from Manchester’s Craic by the Creek Irish music festival, local radio presenter Joe Casserley and Alan Keegan, the Voice of Old Trafford at Manchester United.

The programme also includes a visit to the St Peter’s GAA club, where the coaches and players opened up about the thriving GAA scene in the city, and a social event hosted by the Irish Community Care charity at the Irish World Heritage Centre.

“It’s been nothing but pure joy to take part in this project,” Ms Goswell said.

“The Irish community have welcomed us with open arms and shown their generosity.

Irish musician Angela Usher features in the radio documentary

“We’ve had a very tight deadline to get it all done and it’s going to be a struggle to fit all of it in - but it’s sure to be a fantastic listen,” she added.

“We’ve been shown just how huge Manchester’s Irish heart really is.”

Ms Grant added: “As an Irish person who has recently arrived in Manchester, it’s a thrill to be searching for the city’s Irish heart.

“People from all walks of Irish life have given up their time and shared their stories with us, not to mention countless cups of Barry’s tea, and I can’t wait to pass that warmth and generosity on to our listeners.”