Whole world 'goes green' as 160 global landmarks celebrate day
OLD traditions and world-firsts made it the biggest ever St Patrick's Day festival internationally as more world-renowned sites than ever before "turned green" for March 17.
Around 160 landmarks were illuminated in a spectacular green glow yesterday with the Colosseum in Rome, Niagara Falls, the Sacré Cœur basilica in Paris, London's Nelson's Pillar and parts of the Equator all going green for the first time, in addition to a number of buildings in Iceland.
The ‘global greening’ campaign cost €65,000 last year but Tourism Ireland says up to €10m in positive overseas global publicity can be generated on the back of the initiative.
Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons said the aim of the initiative was to show the world that Ireland "offers the warmest of welcomes and great fun, as well as fantastic scenery and cultural activities".
"Our St Patrick's programme spans Great Britain, mainland Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, as well as emerging tourism markets like China, India, Brazil, the Middle East and South Africa."
In the UK, there was the continuation of a 114-year-old tradition as the Prince William and his wife Kate presented sprigs of shamrocks to soldiers from the Irish Guard in Aldershot.
The tradition was inaugurated in 1901 and William and Kate have upheld the ceremony since their marriage.
Further afield, 431 Irish Defence Forces troops celebrated the national day in 16 countries on 15 different peace missions across the globe. Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Conor O'Boyle paid tribute to the Irish men and women serving abroad. "On our national day of celebration, I thank you for your commitment to peace and security and assure you of our enduring pride in your endeavours far from home," he said.