The Embassy of Ireland says it will illuminate the Victoria Falls in Green from 15 to 17 March 2019, as Ireland will be celebrating their national day of St. Patrick who is credited for having introduced Christianity in that country in the fifth century.

Speaking at a Media briefing, Wednesday, Embassy of Ireland Political and Economic Analyst Makani Mzyece said the Greening of the Victoria Falls was an example of the close diplomatic relations between Zambia and Ireland.

“On 15-17 March 2019, Victoria Falls will be illuminated in green to celebrate the Irish festival of Saint Patrick. St. Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland and is credited with bringing Christianity to the country in the early Fifth Century. His life is celebrated on the 17th of March each year, and this celebration has become the National Day of Ireland and the most important festival in the country,” Mzyece said.

“The “Greening” of Victoria Falls is another example of the close and friendly relationship between Zambia and Ireland. For Ireland, the colour green symbolizes St. Patrick and also the Irish people. Since 2010, Ireland has been running an initiative called the “Global Greening”. In 2018, over 300 landmarks in 50 countries were illuminated in Green- this included the Freedom Statue on Independence Avenue. This year, the Embassy of Ireland, in cooperation with the National Heritage and Conservation Commission, will include Victoria Falls in the Global Greening initiative for the first time on 15-17 March 2019.”

Mzyece said the greening of the Victoria Falls had received extensive coverage in the Irish Media.

“Victoria Falls is the centerpiece of this year’s landmarks, and its greening has already received extensive coverage in the Irish media. At the launch by the Irish Minister for Tourism, Shane Ross and the Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons for this year’s campaign, the Victoria Falls were highlighted as the outstanding addition to the Global Greening. An image of Victoria Falls was displayed during the official launch boosting, selected above other confirmed greenings such as the Colosseum of Rome, Niagara Falls, the Christ the Redeemer statue of Rio de Janeiro or the Sydney Opera House,” Mzyece said.

“This Global Greening initiative is designed to promote awareness of Ireland, while also providing a platform for the host country to highlight their own tourist offering. The Embassy is very pleased that maximum exposure has been achieved for Zambia in Irish media this year.”

Mzyece disclosed that Ireland had a cordial diplomatic relation with Zambia which had resulted in bilateral assistance such as the Irish Aid.

“Links between Ireland with Zambia stretch back over a century. Irish missionary societies – inspired by St Patrick – were among the main providers of services in health and education in what was then Northern Rhodesia. Many of Zambia’s leading citizens received their education at schools run by Irish missionaries, and many of Zambia’s hospitals throughout much of the 20th century were in the care of Irish missionary sisters. Ireland established diplomatic relations with Zambia in 1965, and a Development Office was opened in the Country 1980. Today, Ireland has full status Embassy in Lusaka, and Zambia is one of Ireland’s nine key Partner countries which benefit from direct Development Assistance through Irish Aid,” said Mzyece.

“Ireland and Zambia continue to deepen bilateral relations in a range of key policy issues and a Memorandum of Understanding on Political Consultations with Ireland was signed in June 2018 by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Honourable Joseph Malanji. Today Irish citizens continue to play an important role in Zambia – with thousands of Zambians employed by companies set-up by Irish citizens, and many more Zambians benefitting from cooperation in areas such as Health or education.”