Discover the enchanting district of ‘Little Mayo’ nestled in the heart of Manchester, as it takes centre stage in the upcoming hour-long radio show, “Manchester’s Green Heart,” airing on RTE Radio 1 during the festive Christmas period. Immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of Levenshulme, located in South Manchester, which proudly houses one of the largest Mayo diaspora communities in the UK.
Tune in on December 27 at 3 pm to embark on a cultural journey and hear the voices of the lively characters who call this thriving community home. Among the featured personalities is Tony Hennigan, the director of the Manchester based promotions company ‘Young, Gifted and Green’ and CEO of Mayo Manchester Tourism and Business group, whose Mayo heritage traces back to the picturesque village of Attymass.
Tony commented “It was great to see RTE in the heart of Manchester’s Irish Community and to chat to them about we have been doing to promote Irish Culture in the area since 1989 and our work with Mayo County Council during the last ten years with the Mayo Manchester to develop relationships between the two areas and our annual Mayo Manchester Tradfest in Mayo. The festival is heading to Castlebar next August for the bank holiday weekend and it will be great fun.”
A United Connection
The show is presented by Deb Grant and produced by Emma Goswell, they popped into the Union Irish music bar, a Levenshulme Pub Company bar, which is owned by Mayo business man Lawrence Hennigan. They chatted to Alan Keegan the Voice of Old Trafford at Manchester United and author of three books about the Irish community in Manchester called ‘Irish Manchester’. Alan gave the show an insight into Manchester United’s Irish connections and he reveals some of the fascinating facts in his three books about the Irish community in Manchester. Alan hosts the annual Mayo Manchester Tradfest in Mayo.
The team also chatted to the Creative manager at Michael Flatley’s ‘Lord Of The Dance’ show – James Keegan. James also helps run the Manchester based Keegan Academy of Irish Dance. Deb Grant was given a quick Irish Dancing lesson by the three times World Irish Dancing Champion. James performed at the very first Mayo Manchester Tradfest in Ballina for the Gathering festival in 2013.
Other guests included Matt Kelly from the Irish Music Festival ‘Craic by the Creek’ and Joe Casserley the presenter of the Manchester Irish Radio show ‘On Eire’
Levenshulme, Manchester’s own Little Mayo
The show visited the former site of the world famous Palace Nightclub. The club staged some of the biggest Irish events from the world of Irish Music, Comedy, Dance, Sport and Theatre. These included the likes of the award winning Irish Comedians Ardal OHanlon and Peter Kay, along with Irish music stars like Irelands Eurovision winner Johnny Logan and even hosted International Thai Boxing events between England and Ireland. The venue owned by the Irish owned Levenshulme Pub company opened in 1989 and attracted a number of Manchesters Irish celebrities which included the likes of Republic of Ireland internationals, Roy Keane, Niall Quinn and Denis Irwin along with members of Oasis and Caroline Aherne the creator of the hit TV Comedy shows Mrs Merton and the Royle Family.
Producer Emma Goswell added “The programme also includes a visit to St Peter’s GAA Team to chat to the coaches and the young players about the thriving GAA scene in Manchester and it samples a social event by Irish Community Care at the Irish World Heritage Centre. They also visit St Marys in Levenshulme to chat to the award winning Trad musician and teacher Angela Usher MBE and sample the irish music played by over thirty musicians who attend the free class every week. The programme also samples the city’s Irish food with a visit to the newly opened Bia Cafe Bar. in Levenshulme and a night out in Mulligans Irish Music bar to listen to a Traditional Irish music session.”
“It’s been nothing but pure joy to take part in this project. The Irish community have welcomed us with open arms and shown their generosity. 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. We’ve been shown just how huge Manchesters Irish heart really is!”
Presenter Deb 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.”