THOSE of you thought Mayo Day was a celebration of salad dressing, think again. With Manchester’s Irish Festival in full swing your priority is not forging business links with the Irish county of that name, but ToM is sure food and drink from the old country is high on the list of things to do.
Swigging Guinness on The Festival Market (on Albert Square until Sunday, March 12) is always a good start, but stay away from the silly green hats, ginger beards and visits to the little Leprechaun House. Indeed cast your net Greater Manchesterwide to get a taste of all things Irish at venues such as Chorlton Irish Club, The Shamrock on Bengal Street Ancoats, Mulligan’s off Deansgate, Fred’s Ale House in Levenshulme, Waxy O’Connor’s in The Printworks, the revamped O’Shea’s on Princess Street with its Manc/Irish fusion menu created by Robert Owen Brown, including the ham and cabbage-filled O’Shea's Irish Egg (pictured on its recent debut), and the much rarer combination of Thai and Irish food at Levenshulme’s Thairish Cafe.
The best black stuff in the city to celebrate St Patick’s Day (Friday 17th)? There are many contenders, but check out The Wild Geese Bar in the Irish World Heritage Centre in Cheetham Hill, where you also get panoramic views of the city centre. This Sunday, March 12 in the Ulster Gallery the IWHC is also launching its Irish Carvery, servings 1pm-6pm, phone 0161 205 4007 to book.It will busy, coinciding with the St Patrick’s Day parade from the centre (starts 12 noon, arrives at Albert Square 2pm).
There’s a shop at IWHC serving the Irish equivalent of ‘Marmite nostalgia’, selling all the fave brands from home – Barry’s tea, Chef sauce, Connacht Gold butter, Erin soup, Galtee cheese and O’Hara’s Brack.
Another trusty source is Booth and Howarth (192-194 Mauldeth Road, M19 1AJ) – Barry’s tea, Chef sauce, Club Orange, Clonakilty sausages, Dairygold butter, Flahavan’s oats, Galtee cheese, Lyon’s tea, Tayto crisps. Stock up too at the Thairish Cafe (perhaps some Red Lemonade after your Thai Red curry). Or if internet shopping’s more your bag buy in bulk from http://www.theirishshop.co.uk, http://www.youririshshop.com and http://www.irishfoodmarket.com.
Levenshulme Market naturally has an Irish theme to it, hosting its second market of the year on Saturday, March 11 and then on St Patrick's Day itself, its first Irish themed night market from 5pm to 9pm. The market will feature live music from the Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band and Irish Dancers plus a host of other entertainers and treats. Al this an a host of independent food and craft stall. It is situated on the former Palace nightclub car park, just behind Levenshulme Railway Station off Stockport Road.