A green ray of hope
I am pleased to have this opportunity of extending greetings once again to the readers of the Khaleej Times, on the occasion of Ireland's National Day, St. Patrick's Day, March 17.
Traditionally, on March 17 each year, members of the 70 million-strong Global Irish Family gather together to celebrate their heritage, with parades, music, dancing, singing, all set to a festive green background.
This year, however, the in-person celebrations are on hold, as the world continues to fight the Covid-19 virus. We are, hopefully, close to the end of what has been a long and, at times, very dark tunnel.
I want to take this opportunity to remember those whom we have lost due to Covid-19 in the twelve months since we last marked St. Patrick's Day, and the loved ones they left behind.
I want to pay tribute to the frontline healthcare workers, many of them from Ireland, who have been heroic in their dedication and professionalism at the most demanding and stressful of times.
I also want to acknowledge the retail workers who worked throughout the pandemic at a time when many of us were working safely from home.
I want to acknowledge, too, the great work of the UAE authorities in developing a vaccination programme that is among the best in the world.
This year, in the absence of parades and large gatherings, there are other ways in which we can celebrate St. Patrick's Day and I would invite you to join us for those celebrations.
You could experience "A Taste of Irish Culture" by exploring the treasure- trove of Irish culture which is available online this year. I would urge you all to check out the special St. Patrick's Day events at www.cultureireland.ie. www.stpatricksfestival.ie and www.tradfestie.
You can experience "A Taste of Irish Food" by sampling Irish food produce and quality ingredients widely available in stores across the UAE and online. Enjoy a true taste of Ireland from the comfort of your home with Irish meats, cheeses, seafood, tea, honey, confectionary and more. And with all Irish products, foodies can be safe in the knowledge that it is high quality, sustainable and is produced to world leading standards.
We will, as we do every St. Patrick's Day, be "Greening" over 500 iconic sites in 59 countries, including The Sydney Opera House, Niagara Falls and The Leaning Tower of Pisa, to name just a few. This year in the UAE over twenty sites are being Greened (see side panel)
You too can join in the "Greenings" by taking part in our "Light a Green Candle" initiative for St Patricks Day. To join in, light a green candle at 7 pm, take a photo or video and upload to your social media accounts, using #GlobalGreening #HappyStPatricksDay.
And we are already looking ahead to next year, when we plan on celebrating St. Patrick's Day in-person and in-style at Dubai Expo 2020. It will be a big event, so keep your eyes and ears open for news of that.
In the meantime, on behalf of the Government and the People of Ireland, I wish you all a healthy and peaceful St. Patrick's Day.
UAE GREENINGS 2021
The Palm Fountain at The Pointe Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
Ireland Pavilion at Expo Dubai
Dubai International Airport
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Cultural Understanding
Address Beach Resort, Dubai
Burj Al Arab, Dubai (10th year joining
Abu Dhabi University, Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi University - Al Ain campus
The Abu Dhabi EDITION, Abu Dhabi
Crowne Plaza Dubai - Festival City, Dubai
Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Dubai
Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Dubai
Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai
Holiday Inn Dubai Festival City, Dubai
InterContinental Dubai Festival City, Dubai
Palm Jumeirah Monorail, Dubai
The Retreat Palm Dubai
Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
W Dubai - The Palm, Dubai
Hilton Garden Inn Ras Al Khaimah,
Ras Al Khaimah
The Desert Greening with Arabian Adventures
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