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Irish Eyes Smiling As Birmingham And Manchester Clubs Turn Out To Be Hot Property Prospects

Irish dancing

For centuries, Ireland’s biggest export was its population, and neighbouring England was one of the biggest importers.

Today, with the Irish economy almost back to Celtic Tiger strength, young Irish men and women are more likely to stay at home, and the city clubs that were the focus of Irish expat life in the 1950s and '60s are facing a new future. Fortunately, they now sit on some valuable plots.

Sites that were originally chosen because they were peripheral to the mainstream property market are now in fashionable locations. The result is that once-popular Irish clubs in both Manchester and Birmingham are now being prepared for large-scale redevelopment.

The site of Birmingham’s Irish Centre in Digbeth is now being touted as the location for a 48-storey apartment block.

The proposals from Court Collaboration envisage 454 apartments on the site at High Street Deritend, Birmingham Live reported.

The Irish Centre, a major live music venue, closed in January after five decades. The area once had a large Irish population, but that has now dispersed, and gentrification has turned Digbeth from a city fringe district to a hot property prospect. The Irish Centre has since bought a new 12-acre site farther out of town at Kings Heath.

In Manchester the Irish World Heritage Centre is thriving, the latest addition being a 135-bed hotel.

But the city’s original Irish club in the southern district of Chorlton-cum-Hardy is being prepared for redevelopment. Chorlton was once a student township but has since matured into one of the highest-priced residential areas in south Manchester, a transformation assisted by the arrival of the Metrolink tram line.

Chorlton Irish Club, founded in 1956, in south Manchester is being offered for sale as a 'prime redevelopment opportunity' by real estate advisers Colliers International.

The 0.81-acre site on High Lane/Cross Road includes the two-storey Irish Association Social Club, to give it its full name. 

The club became a popular meeting place for the Irish community in Manchester and farther afield, with a membership including legendary figures like Manchester United manager Sir Matt Busby and occasional appearances by his successor Sir Alex Ferguson.

Colliers said it has received strong interest from a range of buyers.