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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Fifty shades of green? European monuments go green for Patrick's Day

A mock-up of the ‘greened’ Colosseum’ in Rome – as it may appear when it is illuminated in green as part of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative for St Patrick’s Day 2015.
A mock-up of the ‘greened’ Colosseum’ in Rome – as it may appear when it is illuminated in green as part of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative for St Patrick’s Day 2015.

The Colosseum in Rome and the Sacre Coeur church in Paris are to go green for St Patrick's Day for the first time.

A host of famous landmarks are to join the long list of iconic buildings that will be illuminated in green on March 17th, Tourism Ireland announced today.

The newcomers to the list also include Nelson's column in London, Jumeirah Etihad Towers hotel in Abu Dhabi, the townhalls of Munich and Bamberg and the Christ the King statue in Lisbon.

The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville - the show that made country music - will also go green for the first time.

Old favourites that will also go green in 2015 include the London Eye, Niagara Falls, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Sleeping Beauty's Tower in Disneyland Paris.

In Chicago meanwhile numerous buildings will go green and there will be special greening "selfie' stations and "dining green" options in restaurants.

Tourism Minister Paschal Donohoe said that the 'global greening' was hugely helpful to tourism as it generated enormous media coverage and reminded people of Ireland at a  time when they were planning their summer holidays.

The aim was to boost visitor numbers to an "incredible eight million' in 2015, he said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said that the greening of sites was also a source of great pride to the Irish diaspora.

He said that the destinations of Irish minister for St Patrick's festival celebrations had not yet been finalised, but it was a crucial opportunity to promote Irish trade interests.

"The days are long gone when it was considered something of a jolly," he said.

Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said the addition of the Colosseum was a particular coup and other buildings will be added to the list between now and March 17th.

The idea for greening buildings had really started in earnest in 2010 with the Sydney Opera House which proved the inspiration for rolling it out all over the world, with the diplomatic corps essential to that process he said.

A large number of international journalists from top media outlets will also visit Ireland for the national festival as this had helped generate €280m of publicity last year.

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