Athletes from all over Ireland have descended on Limerick city for the official start of the Special Olympics Ireland Games 2014.

There are 14 sports in which 1,500 participants will compete over the next three days, supported by up to 3,000 volunteers.

A team of around 100 athletes will then be chosen to represent Team Ireland at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles in 2015.

In a first for Special Olympics, athletes from each of the five delegations and the coaches took part in a street parade accompanied by the Special Olympics Torch Run Team, marching bands and street performers.

Uniformed gardaí and PSNI officers led the athletes through the streets of Limerick.

The parade was followed by the Opening Ceremony, which officially marks the start of the games.

The Games run from 12-15 June.