Hundreds of iconic buildings will light up green today to help bring "positivity and hope" to the Irish diaspora, and all citizens, in a time of coronavirus
This is not a normal St Patrick's Day.
It doesn't feel like a normal anything, anymore.
And given the circumstances, with tourism bookings falling off a cliff, travel restrictions mounting and airlines moving to ground their fleets, the notion of a 'Global Greening' might seem a bit surreal.
The annual initiative, now ten years old, sees iconic buildings and landmarks around the world go green for St Patrick's Day, in an effort to inspire tourism and make the most of Ireland's day on the world stage.
This year, given the coronavirus crisis, it may not have happened.
"Tourism Ireland contemplated whether or not to go ahead with its Global Greening project this year, given the extremely difficult circumstances faced by our industry," the all-island marketing organisation says.
"The feedback Tourism Ireland received from around the globe was that, despite the global challenges of COVID-19, supporters of Ireland are still pressing ahead with Global Greening – to mark St Patrick’s Day and to keep Ireland to the fore in a positive light."
Throughout the day then, as Covid-19 spreads and the lights go out on tourist attractions and businesses around the world, hundreds of green beams in over 50 countries will do the opposite - and switch on.
The 'Welcome' sign in Las Vegas, Christ the Redeemer in Rio, the Burj al Arab in Dubai, Madison Square Garden in New York and Niagara Falls are just a few of the iconic landmarks going green.
The global light show will "help to bring positivity and hope" to 70+ million people around the world who claim links to this island, Tourism Ireland says, as well as the travel and tourism professionals who promote the island as a holiday destination, and now wonder what the future may bring.
The Global Greening started in 2010, when Tourism Ireland staff approached authorities in New South Wales, Australia, to ask if they’d consider lighting the Sydney Opera House green on St Patrick’s Day.
It did, and a tradition was born.
“We are deeply grateful to Ireland supporters across the world who, despite unprecedented challenges, are marking St Patrick’s Day and remembering Ireland in a very positive light," says Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland's CEO.
"We hope our Global Greening will bring a little positivity and hope to people everywhere and remind them that, if we all do the right thing now by following advice of our medical experts, this crisis will pass. "