Spaceman Chris Hadfield to sing praises of island of Ireland
Astronaut Chris Hadfield – who sang Danny Boy on St Patrick's Day aboard the International Space Station – is to become a tourism ambassador for Northern Ireland.
The former commander, who became a global internet sensation after recording his own version of David Bowie's Space Oddity while in orbit, has agreed to promote Ireland – north and south – to his millions of fans.
During his time in space, Hadfield posted several photos of Northern Ireland taken from the space station on Twitter, and delighted Irish speakers by sending the first tweet in Irish from space.
He sent his followers a special message from 217 miles above Earth.
"Maidin mhaith (good morning in Irish) from the International Space Station!" he tweeted.
He also sang Danny Boy dressed in a green jumper and bow tie.
Hadfield, who captivated millions with his tweets, photos and songs, retired last summer and has now found a more down-to-earth role.
He has also promised to tweet about what he sees and experiences during his visit here, which it is hoped will encourage his followers to plan their own holiday to Ireland.
Irish Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar said commander Hadfield, in Dublin on a five-day visit, will help put the country on the map as a holiday spot.
Tourism Ireland – which markets the whole island of Ireland – has convinced him to appear in three short films documenting his visit, which will feature different attractions like Gaelic games and the country's famous scenery.
He will also visit Northern Ireland during his trip, spending time in Armagh, the Glens of Antrim and Titanic Belfast.
Commander Chris Hadfield's spectacular snapshots of Northern Ireland from space included Belfast, Derry, Coleraine and Newry. His last image was posted asking: "Belfast, at the mouth of the River Lagan. Strangely, not the river the city was named after. Who can tell me why?"