GLASGOW exploded with dance, music and colour as the city welcomed hundreds of Irish dancers from around the world for a four-day jig.

Supporters and coaching staff attending the All Scotland Irish Dance Championships are expected to spend more than £1 million on food, drink and accommodation in the city.

It's the fourth time Glasgow has hosted the championships, which kicked off today at the Royal Concert Hall.

Almost 2000 competitors from eight-year-olds to 25-year-olds, representing 300 dance schools from countries including Scotland, Ireland, France, Russia, South Africa, Australia, Canada and the USA will compete.

Among the competitors are Scotland's two top Irish dancing stars, Suzanne Coyle, 21, from Glasgow, and 16-year-old Sean Downes of Motherwell, North Lanarkshire.

The pair have racked up 10 world titles between them and were on hand to welcome city council leader Gordon Matheson to the concert hall.

He said: "The staging of such prestigious events in Glasgow reinforces the city's cultural credentials."

The championships is the last major event in the Irish dancing calendar before the world championships are held in the US city of Boston next month.

Glasgow was the first city to stage the "Worlds" outside Ireland in 2002. The visited again in 2007 and 2010.