On March 17th we celebrate St Patrick’s Day, Ireland’s National Day. Irish people are very proud of our nation, of our culture, our sports and our values. But sometimes we realise how special what we have is when we see it appreciated abroad. And St Patrick’s Day is certainly appreciated abroad. Indeed, it was in New York City that the first official St Patrick’s Day parade took place in 1762.
And now, more than 250 years later, we are still celebrating St Patrick’s Day all over the world. In 1961, the Chicago River was first dyed green. It was the first ‘greening’ of an international landmark, and last year over 300 other landmarks went green for St Patrick’s Day as part of Tourism Ireland’s ‘Global Greenings’ campaign. These included Madrid’s Puerta de Alcalá and the Cibeles fountain. We appreciate very much the support of Madrid City in making possible these ‘greenings’ of much loved madrileño landmarks.
In Spain, as across the world, Irish people, our diaspora of over 70 million and millions more friends of Ireland share a warm affinity with Ireland. Throughout the year volunteers in Madrid keep our vibrant community organisations going. These organisations provide a space for Irish people to connect with each but also to engage with Spanish friends and with the international community resident here. Organisations such as our GAA club, the Madrid Harps, the Spanish Irish Business Network, the Asociación Española de Estudios Irlandeses (AEDEI) and also groups that celebrate Ireland’s rich literary life such as the Bloomsday Society and the Yeats Society bring great credit to Ireland throughout the year, and I would like to extend to them my deep appreciation for their work.
A very welcome feature of Ireland’s National Day is that it is a global celebration. I look forward to many celebrations in Madrid and elsewhere in Spain during March. Keep an eye on the News and Events section of our Embassy’s website (www.irlanda.es) for updated information on celebrations.
May I wish all of the readers of Madrid Metropolitan a Happy St Patrick’s Day.