Minister Varadkar Announces the ‘Greening Tower of Pisa' for St Patrick’s Day

12 Mar 2012

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar has announced the ‘Greening Tower of Pisa’: the world-famous leaning tower will turn green for the first time next weekend to mark St Patrick’s Day, as part of Tourism Ireland’s 2012 global greening initiative.

Minister Varadkar confirmed that Italy’s famous landmark is just one of a host of additional attractions and sites around the world which will turn green on 17 March, as well as those announced by Tourism Ireland last month. Other new sites turning green include the Coit Tower and City Hall in San Francisco and Selfridges department store in London. What’s more, the Municipal Stadium in Poznań (Poland), where Ireland will play two matches in this summer’s European Championships, has also been added to the ‘greening’ list.

Last month, Tourism Ireland announced that a number of famous attractions and sites around the world would go green on 17 March, as part of the organisation’s extensive promotional drive this spring around the world – including Niagara Falls, the London Eye, Burj al Arab in Dubai and Table Mountain in South Africa.

Minister Varadkar said: “More landmarks than ever before will turn green on St Patrick’s Day this year, promoting Ireland to millions of potential visitors around the world. Our job is to build on this fantastic occasion by encouraging them to visit Ireland. We want to give them the green light to visit – literally. Traditionally, St Patrick's Day has signalled the start of the tourism season in Ireland and this initiative will significantly raise Ireland’s profile.”

Other sites and attractions which Tourism Ireland has arranged to go green this St Patrick’s Day include:

• the Cibeles fountain in Madrid (where the fans of football club Real Madrid celebrate their triumphs in La Liga or the Champions League);
• an entire town on the Costa Blanca in Spain, called Moraira;
• the replica “Chrysler Building” in the New York New York Hotel in Las Vegas;
• the Burgtheather (City Hall) in Vienna;
• the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw;
• Brussels Town Hall;
• the Glasgow Eye;
• and the Clyde Auditorium, affectionately known as ‘the Armadillo’ (SECC) in Glasgow.

Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “Our aim is to capitalise on Ireland’s heightened profile this week and to exploit the unique opportunity that is St Patrick’s Day. We’ll bring a smile to the faces of people around the globe and convey the message that Ireland offers the warmest of welcomes and plenty of fun, as well as spectacular scenery and cultural activities. We are absolutely delighted that so many well-known sites and attractions are eager to come on board with us and join in our celebration next weekend. People everywhere instantly identify St Patrick’s Day with the island of Ireland and that heightened profile allows us to put the Ireland holiday experience in the spotlight around 17 March. The saturation coverage about Ireland this week – across the global airwaves, in newspapers and digital media – is an invaluable boost for our overall tourism marketing drive this year.” 

The world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa will go green on St Patrick’s Day.


Contact for Minister Varadkar:  Nick Miller 086-699 2080
Contact for Tourism Ireland:      Sinéad Grace 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 2011, approximately 7.3 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland (+6% on 2010), delivering revenue of approximately €3.4 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is; there are 42 different websites, providing information in 14 different languages covering every continent. In 2011 attracted almost 12 million unique visitors.


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