53 countries taking part in Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative this St Patrick's Day

The quirky 'greenings' this year include Polar Bear Pitching in Oulu, northern Finland – with entrepreneurs standing waist-deep in a hole cut through the frozen Baltic Sea for the duration of their pitches.

Rollerskaters in Paris carrying green glowsticks, cyclists in Amsterdam with green-illuminated wheels and start-up entrepreneurs pitching for funding in a green-lit ice hole in Finland - all part of St Patrick's Day celebrations globally.

Themed-events worldwide have gone from strength to strength following Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative which started in 2010 when both the Sydney Opera House and the Sky Tower in Auckland turned shades of green in honour of Ireland's patron saint.

Around 425 sites in 53 countries have signed up to take part this year.

And in the coming days, from Rome to Rio and from London to Las Vegas, green will be the dominant colour on a host of famous buildings and sites.

One the quirkiest, however, will be in Oulu in northern Finland. It involves an eccentric sub-zero start-up competition - called Polar Bear Pitching – with entrepreneurs standing waist-deep in a hole cut through the frozen Baltic Sea for the duration of their pitches.

The ice hole and the intrepid entrepreneurs will be illuminated in green, as the entrepreneurs do their best to win funding for their business ideas.

Pari-Roller in Paris, one of the biggest street-skating events in the world, will see hundreds gliding through the streets of the French capital carrying bright green glow sticks while green-LED lights will be used by participants in the St Patrick’s Bike Parade in Amsterdam.

Further afield, a ‘Niki’ Cathay Pacific DC-3 aeroplane in Hong Kong will be illuminated green, as will a leopard statue called ‘Chiu’ in Kenya.

The quirky 'greenings' this year include a St Patrick’s Bike Parade in Amsterdam: a festive green procession of bicycles, with the bike wheels illuminated with green LED lights. The parade will bring together two cultures: the bike (iconic for Amsterdam) and St Patrick’s Day (known for parades and turning the world green).

‘Mac the Moose’ a 32-ft tall sculpture in the city of Moose Jaw, in Saskatchewan, Canada will also light up over the weekend.

New buildings and sites taking part in Tourism Ireland’s initiative this year include Victoria Falls, Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Lord’s Cricket Pavilion in London.

"St Patrick’s Day traditionally marks the real start of the tourism season for us," said Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland.

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.

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