St Patrick’s Day 2021 can mark the “beginning of a new journey”, President Michael D Higgins has said.
Traditional parades and events moved online with Ireland marking its national holiday under lockdown for the second time, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
The Irish President has sent out a message of hope, calling for renewed international cooperation and greater respect for Mother Earth to be the lessons of the pandemic.
He said: “We can learn from it all, as we always do.
“And when in years to come when we parade again and gather in celebration, make a new invocation, no longer needing to be consumed in our consumption.
“We will recall how we made St Patrick’s Day 2021 the beginning of a new journey.
“One we are happy to share with the whole world, and all of its people, and one that helped renew with respect for Mother Earth, to which we all belong.
“And of which our saints, Patrick and Bridgid, left us such insights and enduring wisdom.
“When in the future we recall St Patrick’s Day 2021, let us have returned with even more energy to music, as we lift the glass, slowly, and replenish it even slower.”
President Higgins said there will be a “capacity for joy” in our exit from Covid-19, but that it must be informed “by our reflection on the new values.”
He added: “On behalf of the people of Ireland, I extend the hand of friendship across the globe.
“To all those who are Irish by birth, descent or association and all those who have assisted our Irish people, especially over the past year.
“I wish you and all those who form part of the Irish family, and its friends and the families of the world, a happy and peaceful St Patrick’s Day.”
Messages of goodwill have flooded in from leaders across the globe.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said: “I know this is not how we though we’d be celebrating today, but it’s so important that we come together in these difficult times.
“Every year Canadians join all of you in Ireland and around the world to mark this special day.
“We march in parades, wear our favourite green outfits, maybe have a Guinness or two, and we recognise the contributions that Irish-Canadians have made and continue to make in our communities.
“Irish culture and heritage has long been a part of our Canadian fabric.”
He added: “My friends, we will get through this together. Better days are ahead and that’s worth celebrating. Happy St Patrick’s Day everyone.”
Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison said: “Happy St Patrick’s Day and cead mile failte to the people of Ireland.
“On this day of joy and storytelling and heartiness, Australia sends its best wishes to our Irish friends.
“Almost one third of Australia have an ancestral connection to Ireland, including myself.
“Your country has influenced the soul of our and so many around the world.
“Your joy, compassion, resilience and willingness to have a laugh at the absurd, and yourself, is something you have passed on to all of us, especially here in Australia.”
Princess Takamado of the Japanese Imperial Family said: “Please allow me to send warm and friendly greetings for a happy and a safe St Patrick’s Day to Ireland and her people.
“To those Irish who live and work here in Japan, to those back home in Ireland and to those many millions of Irish who contribute to their communities the world over.”
Ireland is celebrating a series of virtual events to mark St Patrick’s Day, with traditional ceremonies curbed for the second year running because of the pandemic.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin has urged the public to enjoy a “safe” holiday, stressing that it is “very important” that people avoid social gatherings amid the ongoing public health crisis.
Many of the traditional events associated with St Patrick’s Day have moved online, including the Taoiseach’s annual meeting with the US President.
While there will be no parades on the streets countrywide this year, people have been encouraged to capture their own celebrations and share them online using the hashtag #RTEVirtualParade.
A series of live music, storytelling, performances and plays will be streamed online at St Patrick’s Festival TV.
Tourism of Ireland have organised a spectacular lightshow, pre-recorded earlier this month, which is being shared throughout their social media channels.