Here are the quirkiest landmarks turning green for St Patrick’s Day

From Rome to Rio and from London to Las Vegas, a host of buildings and sites around the world will be turning a shade of green over the coming days to mark St Patrick’s Day.

Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative began in 2010, when just the Sydney Opera House and the Sky Tower in Auckland went green.

This year is set to be the biggest Global Greening to date, with around 250 sites already signed up to take part.

Lighthouse on the frozen Lake Näsijärvi in the Tampere region of Finland

“This is the ninth year of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative and it’s bigger and better than ever this year, with some wonderful (and unusual!) new additions like a lion statue made from re-cycled flip flops in Kenya, the Wawa goose statue in Canada and a Blue Whale skeleton in the Natural History Museum in London,” said Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland.

“St Patrick’s Day traditionally marks the real start of the tourism season for us; our aim is to bring a smile to the faces of people around the world and to convey the message that Ireland offers the warmest of welcomes and great fun, as well as wonderful scenery and heritage.”

New buildings and sites taking part this year include the Luxur Obélisque at the centre of the Place de la Concorde in Paris, the Emirates Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, the San Mamés stadium in Bilbao (the home of Athletic Club Bilbao) and Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai.

    This year’s ‘Greenings’ include some quirky places and things, including:

  • a giant, 25.2 metre Blue Whale skeleton, called ‘Hope’, suspended from the ceiling in the Natural History Museum in London;
  • a lion statue made from re-cycled flip flops which have been washed up on the coastline of Kenya;
  • the Lapland Hotels SnowVillage in Kittila, in northern Finland. Each year, the hotel is built to a new design and, this year, the entire hotel has a Game of Thrones theme – complete with a life-sized Iron Throne with swords, a scary Braavos Hall of Faces and a White Walker with glowing blue eyes;
  • a lighthouse on the frozen Lake Näsijärvi in the Tampere region of Finland;
  • the Wawa Goose – an 8.5 metre, metal goose statue, which stands along the TransCanada Highway outside the small town of Wawa in northern Ontario, Canada;
  • a polar bear habitat and a polar bear statue called ‘Chimo’, in the town of Cochrane, also in Ontario. Cochrane is the starting point of the Polar Bear Express train that travels the farthest north in the province of Ontario and that’s why the polar bear was chosen as the town’s mascot;
  • the Big Nickel – a giant replica of the Canadian 5-cent coin from 1951, standing nine metres tall in the grounds of the Dynamic Earth science museum in Sudbury, Canada;
  • two of Australia’s famous ‘Big Things’ – The Big Banana and The Big Kangaroo;
  • the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge – the soaring, $4 billion Hudson River crossing in New York, which opened in 2017; and
  • a carp statue, called ‘Fridolin’, in the town of Höchstadt an der Aisch, in Bavaria.

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