Manchester Irish Weekender invites everyone to join the craic and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Image of Irish fiddler Meabh Kennedy

Manchester will go green tomorrow as they celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and the Emerald Isle with ‘The Manchester Irish Weekender’.

The free four-day music and street food event runs from Thursday March 17 to Sunday March 20 on the promenade in Piccadilly Gardens.


The town already hosts an annual town-wide community-run Irish Festival and this additional new event has been set up to help bring a taste of Ireland to the heart of the town center itself. .


The weekend will see a program of live music and dancing, alongside food and drink stalls serving traditional Irish drinks.


Irish dancers, pipe bands and Irish folk musicians will take to the stage at regular intervals throughout the weekend between 12pm and 7pm each day.


St. Patrick’s Day musical highlights include performances by singer-guitarist Niamh Finan, violinist Méabh Kennedy, Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band and singer-guitarist Joe Keegan.


Founded in 1948, the Pipe Band by Fianna Phadraig are the oldest Irish pipe band in the North West of England. From its earliest days in St. John’s Parish, Benchill, and then in St. Anthony’s from the mid-1950s, the Band has always proudly carried the Fianna Phádraig (St. Patrick’s Soldiers) banner.


Talented singer-songwriter Niamh Finan really making their mark on Manchester’s folk music scene. She writes and publishes her own original music as well as traditional Irish music. Her family is from the west of Ireland and she grew up as an Irish dancer in Manchester.


Singer-songwriter Joe Kegan began his career at the age of 16 on BBC 1’s The Voice UK show in 2014. The show was broadcast to around 10 million people worldwide, and since then he has presented hundreds of live broadcasts to people around the world. He recently obtained a Masters of Music from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.


Violinist and multi-instrumentalist Meabh Kennedy, from County Tyrone, Ireland, is a talented musician who has made waves in the traditional Irish music scene. She has performed all over the UK, Ireland and Europe, including on the UK tour of the hit show ‘Fairytale of New York’.


Other musical highlights of the weekend include performances by Nicky and the astronauts, who churn out the best of Irish/country/bluegrass/rockabilly in their own inimitable style and are sure to get their feet moving and their hands clapping; singer-songwriter Ben Williams; Sicilian singer-guitarist Paul Fuschi and its high-intensity blend of Electric Blues, Classic Soul and Vintage Funk; Hannah and Adam Smikle, who performs as a “Rivers Run” duo blending rich harmonies, delicate fingering and soulful soundscapes, and will perform lounge-style covers; and 18 years old Tom O’Donoghue from Galway, who moved to Manchester to study at the Royal Northern College of Music last year and sings, plays piano, guitar, bass and drums, and will release his first single in April.


Irish traditional dancers from McConomy Academy Bradley Doherty will also take the stage during the weekend.


Councilor Pat Karney, Manchester City Council’s Town Center Manager, said: “We all know that if you can’t be on the Emerald Isle itself, then Manchester is the best place to spend St. Patrick’s Day. And there’s so much to celebrate about Ireland and its unique cultural heritage of music and dance that one day isn’t enough to do it justice, which is why we’ve put together this fantastic four-day free weekend.


“We have great fun planned starting tomorrow all weekend long. My toes are already tapping, and I can’t wait. So grab yourself a shamrock, wear something green, and come join the craic!”


The event was funded by the European Regional Development Fund and its Welcome Back Fund, which provided councils across the country with a share of £56m to support the safe return to high streets and help build back better after the pandemic.


Find out more about what’s happening during The Manchester Irish Weekender here


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