As Manchester prepares for St Patrick’s Day, it is estimated that more than 20 per cent of the city’s population may have Irish ancestry. Which of these famous Irish Mancunians would you like to have a beer with?
Born to Irish parents who emigrated to Manchester from Dublin, Morrissey, who rose to fame as lead singer of The Smiths, never forgot his links to the Emerald Isle. His song Irish Blood, English Heart, released in 2004, was considered a major comeback after a seven-year hiatus.
2) Johnny Marr
The fellow Smiths legend, also born to Irish parents, had trials with Manchester City but settled for music after not making the cut. Marr went to Wythenshawe College, becoming president of their Students’ Union.
3) Andy Rourke
The Smiths bassist met Marr at secondary school in Manchester, where they spent lunchtimes together jamming on their guitars. The Irish immigrant to the North West organised the 2006 Manchester v Cancer charity concert.
4) Pat Karney
Who could forget Manchester town hall’s Mr Media, councillor Pat Karney. The outspoken council spokesman moved to Manchester from Dublin aged nine. His first thoughts on arriving in Manchester on arrival were: “I don’t like this. I want go home.” His views have certainly changed with time.
5+6) Liam and Noel Gallagher
The Oasis duo’s parents Peggy and Thomas were both Irish, but raised their children in Longsight before moving to Burnage. Noel played for Manchester Gaelic football team CLG Oisin, making an appearance at Croke Park, Dublin, where he scored. The two brothers infamously fell out in 2009, but began to rekindle their friendship in 2012 by text after Manchester City won the Premier League.
7) Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs
The fellow Oasis star was also born in Longsight to Irish parents. When asked why Manchester was such a musical city, Arthurs said: “It’s an Irish thing. There isn’t some magic fog sitting over the North West, but there is a lot of Celtic blood in the area.”
8) George Best
Northern Ireland’s best ever player, Best adopted Manchester as his home as he scored 179 goals from 470 appearances for United over 11 years. Best was defined by his extravagant lifestyle and charisma, which ultimately led to the alcoholism that contributed to his death. He famously said: “I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.”
9) Steve Coogan
The man behind Alan Partridge studied theatre at Manchester Metropolitan University after being raised in what he described as a working-class family with Irish roots. Coogan took inspiration from the people he met in Manchester, with one of his famous characters, Paul Calf, being a Manchester City fan with a love for Wagon Wheels.
10) Caroline Aherne
The co-creator and star of the Royle Family moved to Wythenshawe with her Irish-born father when she was two years old. The BAFTA award-winning actress was best known for playing Denise Royle.
11) Wayne Rooney
Yes, he was born in Liverpool. But Rooney’s 152 goals in 301-and-counting appearances for United make him the club’s fourth-highest goalscorer of all time and worthy of legend-status in Manchester. Rooney’s grandmother is Irish, meaning he could have chosen to play for the Republic.
12) Shaun Ryder
The Salford-born Happy Mondays frontman comes from a close-knit Irish family. With most of his better music released in the 80s, Ryder tried his hand at work in the media, appearing on I’m a Celeb in 2010 and presenting Shaun Ryder on UFOs last year.
13) Roy Keane
Another Irishman who made Manchester his home through football. The fierce United captain moved to the city in 1993, taking up the armband four years later. Keane, from Cork, helped the Reds to seven Premier League titles, and led the club on their treble-winning year.
14) Gary ‘Mani’ Mounfield
The Stone Roses bassist was part of the Madchester movement that swept the city during the 80s and early 90s. Mani, a descendant of Irish immigrants, said in the past that the Stone Roses would only reform “the day after Man City win the European Cup”. However, in 2012 they launched their reunion tour.
15) Norman Whiteside
Spotted by United scouts in Belfast, Whiteside signed for the club as a schoolboy and flew to Manchester every weekend for training. He became the Red’s youngest ever scorer and holds the record as the youngest ever player at a World Cup. Whiteside still has links to the club, working in the hospitality department.
16) John Cassidy
The works of the Irish sculptor, who was born in 1860, can still be seen in Manchester today in St Peter’s Square and the John Rylands library. After studying in Dublin and Milan, Cassidy moved to Manchester aged 22, where he stayed until his death in 1939.
17) Les Dawson
The deadpan comedian, who is revered for his mother-in-law jokes, rose from stand-up to TV personality when he presented Blankety Blank from 1984 to 1990. Of Irish descent, Dawson was born and died in Manchester.
18) Anna Friel
The half-Irish Brookside actress was born in Rochdale and has been acting since she was 13. Friel is well-known in the US for her role in comedy series Pushing Daisies, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe award in 2008.
19) Shayne Ward
Shayne shot to fame in 2005 after winning the second series of the X Factor and went on to have seven hits in the charts, including his number one, That’s My Goal. Shayne, who was born in Manchester, is one of seven siblings in a family of Irish travellers.
20) Mick Hucknall
The Simply Red singer was brought up in Stockport, where his father was a barber. Mick, whose maternal grandfather was Irish, owns an estate in County Donegal, Ireland, where he runs a fishing and hunting business.
Standby for the BIGGEST Paddy’s day party in Manchester!
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– EXCLUSIVE OFFERS FOR ALL IRISH FOLK…
Only 99p entry before midnight and £1 selected drinks all night.