The Brussels Grand Palace lit in green for St Patrick's Day in 2014. Alamy Stock Photo
Landmark decision

Tourism Ireland pauses long-running 'Global Greening', citing the energy crisis

The campaign was also put on pause last year in the weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine.

THE GLOBAL GREENING campaign that lights up famous international locations in green for St Patrick’s Day will not go ahead this year due to the energy crisis.

In a statement to The Journal, a spokesperson for Tourism Ireland said: “For 2023, given the current energy crisis, Tourism Ireland has taken the decision not to promote the Global Greening initiative.

“Nonetheless, St Patrick’s Day is a hugely important date in our calendar and traditionally marks the real start of the tourism season for us.

“It is a unique opportunity for Irish tourism and Tourism Ireland will be rolling out a huge programme of promotional activity over the coming week to leverage that opportunity.”

Other initiatives will still be in place for St Patrick’s Day, including a “Fill your heart with Ireland” campaign in multiple countries, with a television ad in the UK and a video with French actress Audrey Fleurot in France.

Irish dancers will be performing on a pop-up green dance floor in London on the morning of St Patrick’s Day, while in Italy, an ‘Ireland week’ in Milan is running 50 events around Irish culture, music, literature, food and holidays. Similar ‘Irish week’ events are taking place in the German cities of Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin and in Spain’s Madrid.

The Greening campaign was also put on pause last year in the weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine as it was felt that it would not be appropriate for the international campaign to proceed as normal amid the war. 

Then-Taoiseach Micheál Martin wrote to Irish embassies asking that the embassies, monuments and other sites typically lit up green for St Patrick’s Day should instead be lit up in yellow and blue. 

The greening initiative started in 2009 with a Sky Tower in New Zealand and expanded the following year to the Sydney Opera House, continuing to grow to 425 sites in 53 countries a decade later in 2019.

Locations have included the London Eye, the Great Wall of China, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Christ the Redeemer statue and and the Pyramids of Giza. 

Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons is due to step down from his role in April after more than two decades in the company.

“Being CEO of Tourism Ireland, leading an exceptionally talented team, has been a great honour and privilege,” he said in a statement earlier this year.

“I started with the company just after 9/11 and tourism has weathered many challenges since then, including Covid-19.”

36 Irish politicians are travelling to 41 countries to mark St Patrick’s Day this year in an effort to use the day to foster relationships with other countries.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Micheál Martin will both be stateside on Friday, with Varadkar meeting US President Joe Biden in DC while Martin walks in the New York City parade.

On the other side of the globe, fellow coalition leader Minister Eamon Ryan is visiting Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing.

The St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin is due to be led by representatives of the Women’s National Football Team ahead of their stint at the 2023 World Cup finals. Met Éireann expects a showery day.

Lauren Boland and Jane Moore
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