Astronaut Chris Hadfield becomes Irish tourism ambassador
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Astronaut Chris Hadfield becomes Irish tourism ambassador

ASTRONAUT Chris Hadfield – who made history last year when he tweeted as Gaeilge from space – has become a tourism “ambassador” for Ireland.

The former International Space Station (ISS) commander will visit Dublin later today where he will promote some of Ireland’s most iconic attractions including the Guinness Storehouse.

Tomorrow, Hadfield and his wife Helene will visit Croke Park where he will try his hand at hurling, and will also travel to Donegal where he will learn ‘cúpla focal’ from local schoolchildren.

His trip will also take him to Northern Ireland, to Armagh, Cushendall and the Glens of Antrim, and Titanic Belfast.

The astronaut caught the imagination of the world last year when he tweeted spectacular pictures of the Earth during the five months that he was on-board the ISS.

His video rendition of David Bowie’s Space Oddity has been viewed more than 20 million times on YouTube.

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Hadfield’s role as ambassador will be a positive step for Tourism Ireland in showcasing Ireland as one of the world’s top holiday destinations.

Tourism Ireland will create three short films of Hadfield’s five-day visit, which will then be shared by Tourism Ireland on its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

During his visit Hadfield will also be tweeting about what he sees and experiences.

Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons described the former commander as “an enormously popular, global figure” who has already increased Ireland’s presence globally through the photographs that he has tweeted from space.

Hadfield will speak at the Laya Healthcare Pendulum summit this afternoon in the Convention Centre Dublin (CCD) and will also attend the BT Young Scientist Exhibition on Saturday.