Festival celebrations got into full swing with a spectacular projection on Trinity College Dublin, marking the official countdown to open the St Patrick’s Day Festival. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
Display of doodles sketched by people from around the world in Tourism Ireland competition
The Irish Times
As it was for New Year’s Eve, the front of Trinity is an ideal place to project images to celebrate the forthcoming national holiday.
Almost every major landmark in the city – from Dublin Castle to the Four Courts, Dublin Airport and the Guinness Storehouse – will participate.
The designs were the winning entries from a social media-based Tourism Ireland competition entitled Dublin Doodle, which invited people overseas to create their own virtual green design.
Tourism Ireland has been successful in having famous landmarks around the world turn green for St Patrick’s Day.
The latest has been the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas ” sign on the edge of the Nevada desert which turned green last night and will remain “greened” until next Monday evening. The lights were turned on by television presenter Kathryn Thomas and the city’s former mayor Oscar Goodman.
On Sunday, thousands of people from across the world will walk in Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day Parade.
A total of 8,000 places were on offer, some of which are still available. Anyone interested in taking part can register in person at Dublin City Hall on Friday from 10am to 8pm and on Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Photographic ID is essential.
Dublin Chamber of Commerce estimates 120,000 overseas visitors will visit the capital over the bank holiday weekend. This year’s spend is projected to be about €50 million. Last year it was €47.5 million.
Dublin Airport has already been greened for the occasion. Monday is likely to be its busiest day with more than 82,000 passing through as visitors return home after the weekend.
Dublin Chamber chief executive Gina Quinn said this year’s festival could see the most overseas visitors because of the Gathering. Expedia, the hotel booking site, estimates holiday bookings to Ireland are up 25 per cent on last year.
The fact that St Patrick’s Day is on a Sunday is certain to help overseas bookings, with many visitors making a week of it.
Dublin is still the favoured destination, although the percentage of those booking through Expedia to stay in the capital over the weekend has dropped from 75 per cent to 65 per cent.
Introduced in 2011, the VIP Patricks Programme will see everybody with the first name of Patrick, Patricia, Paddy, Padraig, Trish, Tricia or Patsy* and variants of the name, treated to a special VIP Patrick experience in the Guinness Storehouse on St Patrick’s Day.
On arrival at the attraction, VIP Patricks will be admitted for free into the Guinness Storehouse where they can enjoy a complimentary pint of Guinness or Pour the Perfect Pint Sessions during the day.
There will be a host of eclectic entertainment to suit every taste including a gig from Irish folk rock group Hermitage Green, a silent disco for any dance music loving fans, complimentary Guinness and food tastings, and a ‘So you think you can Irish dance’ Céilí.
Visitors can sample Guinness variants at the pop-up tasting stands and guests can take in the breathtaking 360° views from the Gravity Bar, the highest viewpoint of the city.
The Guinness Storehouse St Patrick’s Festival is free of charge to all Patricks* on March 17 and for everyone else, standard admission rates apply.
For full details on the festival, log onto www.guinness-storehouse.com.
2013 St. Patrick’s Day
Four year-old Mia York, left, walks her dog Howie, a Maltese, in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown St. Paul, Minn., on Saturday, March 16, 2013. (AP Photo/St. Paul Pioneer Press, Chris Polydoroff)
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