The 2015 Special Olympics World Games get under way in Los Angeles today.

There are 88 Irish athletes taking part supported by 40 managers and coaches and 200 volunteers.

The 88 athletes making up Team Ireland have said goodbye to their host city of Downey, California and along with huge numbers of family and friends are now in Los Angeles ready for the opening of the Special Olympics World Games.

The Irish athletes will compete in 12 sports over the next week.

Proceedings begin later tonight with the opening ceremony in the LA Memorial Coliseum - site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games.

Team Ireland will be led by John Treacy who won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympics in LA and actor Colin Farrell.

In total, over 7,000 athletes from over 177 countries, ranging in age from 8 to 77 will take part in these games.

The Olympic Flame will be brought into the stadium by the Law Enforcement Final Leg Team of 125 people from 23 countries including members of An Garda Síochána and the PSNI.