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Freetown's Cotton Tree joins Global Greening Initiative for the third time

On Monday, 15 March, Freetown’s Cotton Tree will once again join Ireland’s Global Greening initiative to light up iconic landmarks around the world in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

440 landmarks in 55 countries will turn green this year as part of Tourism Ireland’s annual Greening event to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and recognise Ireland’s friendships abroad. The Cotton Tree joins the initiative for the third year in a row alongside iconic sites including the Sydney Opera House and Victoria Falls.

This initiative not only promotes Ireland’s profile and culture globally but also provides an opportunity to showcase the wonderful attractions that cities around the world, such as Freetown, have to offer.

Ambassador Lesley Ní Bhriain said:

I am delighted to see the Cotton Tree go green again for St. Patrick’s Day, showing the very special place Freetown and Sierra Leone hold for Ireland. This Greening demonstrates that, despite these troubled and uncertain times, Ireland remains committed to growing and promoting our friendship with Sierra Leone.  It symbolises hope and renewal.

The Cotton Tree reflects Freetown’s unique history and is a symbol of its resilience in the face of difficult circumstances. I feel honoured to see this iconic site turn green once again in recognition of Ireland and Sierra Leone’s lasting friendship.

In her statement, the Mayor of Freetown said:

“We are thrilled that for the third year in a row our historic Cotton Tree is being featured in Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening. The spotlight on the Cotton Tree extends a spotlight to the historic city of Freetown. We are particularly excited about the feature on this year’s Global Greening Line Up as Freetown has not been able to welcome visitors over the last year due to the ongoing pandemic. The Global Greening Initiative provides a great platform to remind the world about Freetown, its history, beautiful landscape and warm people. Thanks to the Irish Embassy for their continued support to #TransformFreetown even during these uncertain times.”

Standing at Freetown’s centre, the Cotton Tree is one of Sierra Leone’s oldest and most well-known landmarks, with a unique history, symbolism and cultural significance. While the tree’s exact age is unknown, it was already standing in the late 1780s, when freed African slaves returning to the continent from Great Britain and North America are said to have gathered under the tree to give thanks for their safe arrival.


  1. More information on Tourism Ireland’s 2021 Global Greening Initiative can be found online at
  2. More information on the work of the Embassy of Ireland in Sierra Leone can be found online at  
  3. More information on Freetown City Council’s Transform Freetown plan can be found online at  
  4. Follow the Embassy of Ireland on Twitter @IrlEmbFreetown
  5. Follow Freetown City Council on Facebook at and on Twitter @FCC_Freetown

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