Published on Tuesday17thMarch2015

Mexico City renames Metro Station after St Patrick for one day

20150317VaradkarMexicoPostMinister Varadkar and Ambassador Hyland at the temporarily renamed 'San Patricio' Station

Mexico City has renamed one of its landmark Metro Stations to ‘San Patricio’ after St Patrick for one day only today as part of the global March 17th celebrations. 

Health Minister Leo Varadkar was on hand to make the surprise announcement as Zapata Metro Station changed its name for 24 hours. 

Commuters arriving at the Zapata station today were greeted by the Mexican-Irish band The Shamrock Celtics and found the station’s signs changed to the new name. This is the first time that a metro station anywhere has been renamed in honour of another country’s national day.

Minister Varadkar is in Mexico City promoting Irish business, trade, cultural and political links, and to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Ireland and Mexico. Mexico is Ireland’s largest trading partner in Latin America with more trade than Brazil and Argentina combined. The Minister is also meeting the Mexican Foreign Minister, the Health Minister, and the WHO Head of Mission to discuss global action against tobacco and obesity. 

Throughout March audio clips have been playing on an hourly basis on the Mexico City Metro network to mark 40 years of diplomatic relations between Ireland and Mexico. The network has 4 million users daily. 

Speaking at the ‘San Patricio’ station today, Minister Varadkar said: 

We’re making history today. This is the only metro station in the world to change its name on St Patrick’s Day to honour our national day and patron saint. This symbolises the close friendship between our two countries and marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries. It also commemorates the heroism of the Irishmen of the St Patrick’s Battalion who took up arms in the cause of Mexico’s sovereignty in the 19th century. 

St Patrick has a particular resonance in Mexico thanks to the St Patrick’s Battalion – a group of Irish soldiers from Ireland and other European countries who fought for Mexico against the US between 1846 and 1848.  Many had switched over from the US army to support the Mexican cause. The battalion is famous in Mexico for its bravery and solidarity and its name is inscribed in gold on the wall of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies – the only foreigners honoured in this fashion. 

Several famous Mexican landmarks have also turned green this week as part of the Global Greening initiative, including the Angel of Independence monument, the striking Soumaya art museum, and the Mexican Parliament.