Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan last night switched the green lights on Niagara Falls, as part of this year’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Canada. Minister Deenihan was in Canada as part of a "Promote Ireland" programme around St Patrick's Day – helping to promote tourism to Ireland and inviting members of the Diaspora living in Canada to come home during this special year of The Gathering Ireland.
The famous falls are just one of over 70 famous landmarks and iconic sites around the world which were illuminated in green over the weekend, as part of Tourism Ireland’s annual ‘global greening’ initiative to celebrate St Patrick.
Minister Deenihan said: "Representing Ireland abroad is a privilege and a responsibility. Having St Patrick's Day recognised and celebrated internationally is a huge opportunity to tell a story to the world about Ireland – about our skills, about our strengths, and about our recovery.
“The Niagara Falls span two countries which have very strong Irish heritage, the USA and Canada. Here in Canada where I am today, over 14% of the population, over 4 million people, said they had Irish heritage in the last census in 2006. The links between Ireland and Canada are very strong and vibrant at all levels. Seeing this iconic global landmark go green in recognition of St Patrick's Day demonstrates how much Ireland resonates with people around the world at this time of year. That's why we use this opportunity to tell Ireland's story, to seek more business opportunities for the country, and to encourage people to visit during The Gathering."
Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “We are delighted that Minister Deenihan travelled to Canada to help us deliver the message about the many great reasons to visit Ireland in 2013 and to switch the green lights on Niagara Falls. Our ‘greening’ initiative got even bigger and better this year, with some famous additions like the Pyramids of Giza, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, Anfield stadium in Liverpool, the Eye Film Institute in Amsterdam, the Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia, the Gateway of India in Mumbai and even the Friends Arena in Stockholm, where the Republic of Ireland takes on Sweden later this month in the World Cup qualifying campaign.
“Our aim is to bring a smile to the world and to convey the message that Ireland offers the warmest of welcomes and great fun, as well as fantastic scenery and cultural activities. Our St Patrick’s programme spans Great Britain, Mainland Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, as well as emerging tourism markets like China, India, the Middle East and South Africa. We are using every opportunity to capitalise on Ireland’s heightened profile this weekend; the saturation coverage about Ireland across the global airwaves, in newspapers and digital media, is an invaluable boost for our overall tourism marketing drive this year.”
About 70 landmark buildings and iconic sites around the world went green at the weekend to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. They included the Sydney Opera House, the London Eye, Selfridges in London, Niagara Falls, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Burj al Arab in Dubai and the Prince’s Palace of Monaco.
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan TD and Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, who switched the green lights on Niagara Falls (on the Canadian side), as part of this year’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Further media information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 087-685 9027
Notes to Editors:
• Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
• In 2012, an estimated 7.27 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately €3.51 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, currently rolling out in 11 different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world.
• ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ is Ireland’s biggest ever tourism initiative, consisting of a year-long programme of festivals, events and gatherings in every part of the country; Tourism Ireland has an extensive programme of promotions under way to highlight ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ around the world, working closely with the ‘Gathering’ project team.