Niagara Falls, Canada

50 Shades of Green for Patrick’s Day

This year it’s not only McDonald’s milkshakes that are going green for St. Patrick’s Day; landmarks around the world will be illuminated in a green glow today as part of the celebrations.

Public buildings and monuments around Ireland have been glowing throughout the St. Patrick’s Festival, which began last week. Leinster House, Dublin Castle, the Four Courts, the Rock of Cashel and Kilkenny Castle are among the 29 Irish monuments that have been lit up. Abroad, another 150 major landmarks will be illuminated in green as part of Tourism Ireland’s ‘Global Greening Initiative’.

The London Eye St Patrick's Day
The London Eye, England

From Paris to Prague, and London to Las Vegas, our national colour will be a reminder of home for Irish migrants, as well as an advertisement for Irish tourism. However, some tourists might not like it if the photos of their trip to the ancient pyramids are green. Once nobody mistakes the green glow for an alien invasion we should be alright.

These glowing, green monuments were also the inspiration for Fáilte Ireland’s latest video, which has gone viral on YouTube because of its beautiful scenery and, of course, Liam Neeson’s soothing voice.

The initiative began in 2010 with just the Sydney Opera House turning green, but it has since taken off. We are slowly taking over the world’s monuments, as a fifth of all countries (39 to be exact) have lit up at least one national landmark this St. Patrick’s Day. Some of the more prominent of which are the Great Wall of China, Niagara Falls, the Egyptian Pyramids, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro and the ‘Welcome’ sign in Las Vegas.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “It’s bigger and better than ever this year, with some famous additions like the Colosseum in Rome, the Sacré Cœur basilica in Paris, Edinburgh Castle, the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, the Place de l’Etoile in Beirut and even the Equator Sign and Line in Uganda. St. Patrick’s Day traditionally marks the real start of the tourism season for us; our aim is to bring a smile to the faces of people around the world.”

Las Vegas welcome sign St Patrick's Day
Welcome Sign, Las Vegas, US

However, it should be noted that this venture requires Ireland to give up a lot of green. According to The Irish Times, some landmarks charge thousands to be lit up green with The Sydney Opera House being the most expensive after it charged Tourism Ireland €8,000 last year. This may be why it’s not lighting up for St. Patrick’s Day this year. The article says that Tourism Ireland spent a total of €65,000 lighting international landmarks last year, while the Office of Public Works spent €30,000 lighting up Irish buildings.

A diverse mixture of countries across all continents are taking part in the initiative this year and include the UK, the US, Canada, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Georgia, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, China, Russia, South Korea, Abu Dhabi, Mexico City, Dubai, Lebanon, Uganda, Ethiopia and Malaysia.

Burj Al Arab, Dubai St Patrick's Day

Turning national landmarks go green for St. Patrick’s Day has certainly been more successful than other ventures to turn things green in honour of our patron saint. SuperValu turning their much loved Superquinn sausages green for the celebrations is probably one of the less successful ones.


Photos: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade