Nicky Wire of Welsh firebrands The Manic Street Preachers has said that the band have always enjoyed a special relationship with their Irish fans, both artistically and commercially.

Speaking to RTÉ Ten, the beanpole bassist said: "I remember we did a gig in Cork Opera House in 1998 and halfway through the show I saw this huge banner unfurl like at an Italian football match that said `Manic Street Preachers will always matter.’ I was blown away. I remember forgetting what song I was playing . . . “

Wire also recalled the Manics' very first gigs in Ireland when they played Dublin's Charlie's Bar and a thinly-attended show at Sir Henry's in Cork in 1991.

“I have very vivid memories of those gigs," he said. "I ended up in hospital because I totally wrecked my ankle and it blew up like a balloon."

The Manics have just released their 11th album, Rewind The Film, and Wire also spoke about his feelings about Christy Moore's recent anti-Arthur's Day song, their new material, and the death of Margaret Thatcher in the interivew with RTÉ Ten.

Read the full interview here.