Tuesday 16 July 2019

Annual St Patrick's Day greening of iconic landmarks will extend to Ethiopia this year

Leo Varadka and his Ethiopian counterpart Abiy Ahmed stand for the national anthem during his official visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
Leo Varadka and his Ethiopian counterpart Abiy Ahmed stand for the national anthem during his official visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
Leo Varadkar is welcomed by his Ethiopian counterpart during his official visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
Leo Varadkar reviews the honour guard during his official visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Laura Larkin in Ethiopia

The annual greening of iconic landmarks will extend to Ethiopia this year.

The famous Lalibele churches will go green this March joining with hundreds of famous landmarks around the world.

The Unesco site is home to eleven 12th century churches hewn from solid rock which remain in excellent condition.

There has been no decision made on who may travel to Ethiopia to represent Ireland on this year's visit.

Leo Varadkar reviews the honour guard during his official visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
Leo Varadkar reviews the honour guard during his official visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

However, official sources suggested Ruth Negga could be a good choice if it was something she would be interested in.

Ms Negga has recently been appointed a cultural ambassador for Ireland.

The Love Hate actress' father is Ethiopian.

During a visit to the landmark churches Mr Varadkar announced that the site would be linked with Skellig Michael in an information sharing partnership between Ireland and Ethiopia.

The partnership will focus on promoting heritage tourism and creating rural jobs through tourism.

The Ethiopian Cultural Minister Dr Hirut Kassaw will visit Ireland later this year to meet with relevant tourism and cultural heritage bodies including Failte Ireland and OPW, and finalise a programme of “experience sharing” between the two countries.

Leo Varadkar is welcomed by his Ethiopian counterpart during his official visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
Leo Varadkar is welcomed by his Ethiopian counterpart during his official visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Officials from Newgrange have already been involved in a cultural tourism exchanges with Ethiopian officials.

Mr Varadkar's visit to Ethiopia draws to a close tomorrow.

Yesterday he visited an Irish Aid supported village, called Kawaneet, in the Tigray region in the north of the country.

Here Irish Aid provides micro-loans to allow people in the drought stricken region to invest in their economic future such as by buying livestock.

In all the Fine Gael leader visited four Irish Aid projects and said afterwards he was humbled by the experience.

"It’s the first time I have seen Irish Aid. I can say to the people in Ireland that their money is being well spent," he said.

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