Landmarks to 'go green' for St Patrick's Day

Tue, Feb 9, 2010, 00:00

Tourism Ireland has secured permission to “green” buildings such as the Sydney Opera House, the London Eye and the Empire State Building to mark St Patrick’s Day this year.

Its chief executive Niall Gibbons said it was a “major coup” to get permission to light these buildings in green in honour of Ireland's patron saint.

“The agreement to allow us to green such iconic buildings and attractions must be a first for any destination and clearly illustrates the goodwill that the Ireland brand generates across the world,” he said.

“We will use every opportunity to capitalise on Ireland’s heightened profile to showcase the uniqueness of a holiday on the island — the diversity of our culture and heritage and the friendliness of our people.”

The CN Tower in Toronto, which is the highest tower in the world, will also turn green, as will the Chicago river, the San Antonio river in Texas and the fountains at the White House in Washington.

Tourism Ireland, which promotes the island of Ireland overseas, is investing €1 million on activities promoting St Patrick’s Day this year.

“Over seventy million people around the world claim links with the island of Ireland and St Patrick’s Day is a truly unique opportunity to showcase our wonderful tourism product to a huge audience across the globe, as people instantly identify St Patrick’s Day with Ireland,” Mr Gibbons said.

“We aim to bring a smile to the world. The message is that there has never been a better time to visit the island of Ireland,” he said.

The organisation aims to grow tourism numbers by 3 per cent this year - attracting an additional 230,000 visitors to a total of €7.85 million for the year.

The marketing drive has already recruited Boyzone singer Ronan Keating and X Factor losers John and Edward Grimes - 'Jedward' - for unconventional radio promotions in Britain.

Riverdance, the World Irish Dance Championships and The Priests have also been lined up for events.

Irish music and a Riverdance troupe will take over Stockholm central station for St Patrick’s week and in Germany St Patrick's day 'flash-mobs' will descend on Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Munich on St Patrick’s Day.

ADDITONAL REPORTING: PA