BLACKBURN and Darwen will celebrate Irish culture with a week of themed events as part of its Festival 2000 programme.

The borough's Irish Festival Week gets under way on Saturday with a free programme of events in Blackburn town centre, hosted by Michael Kierans.

On the bill are the Blackburn School of Irish Dancing, local Irish band Dalriada and Dick Lett with friends from the Irish musicians' association, Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann.

On Sunday the Akzo Nobel Club in Darwen will be the venue for a family afternoon, from 1.30pm to 4.30pm.

There will be live music from Dalriada and an appearance by Larenzo the Clown. Admission is free.

On Tuesday Irish dance spectacular Gaelforce Dance comes to King George's Hall, Blackburn. Tickets are available from the box office on 01254 582582.

From 6.30pm to 9pm on Wednesday the Blackburn School of Dancing will be holding its weekly classes at the West End Youth Centre, Blackburn.

On Friday - St Patrick's Day- there will be a dance at the Windsor Hall, Blackburn from 8pm to 1am, featuring Kevin Fox and the Ranchers, Irish DJ Sean McSherry and the Blackburn School of Irish Dancing. Admission is £5.

The final event of the week is an evening with Tramp and Swank at the Akzo Nobel Club, Darwen, on Saturday.

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.