Astronaut launches tourism campaign
Chris Hadfield, the retired Canadian astronaut, rock star and internet sensation began his new role as an ambassador for tourism to Ireland today with four short films promoting the Emerald Isle.
He shot the online films - called An Astronaut's Guide To The Island Of Ireland - during a trip earlier this where he spent several days taking in the attractions.
Tourism Ireland is hoping the world-wide interest in the former astronaut, who beamed several stunning shots of Ireland from space while he was commander of the International Space Station (ISS) last year, will help woo would-be holidaymakers.
The first film - available online at Ireland.com - features Donegal and the scenery of the Inishowen Peninsula, starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way. It also features some charming footage of Mr Hadfield learning 'cupla focal' Gaeilge from some of the local schoolchildren in Buncrana as well as an evening of traditional music in McGrory's of Culdaff.
The other three films, which will be rolled out around the world from tomorrow), feature the attractions of Titanic Belfast and the Guinness Storehouse, plus footage of Hadfield learning to play hurling at the GAA clubs of Na Fianna in Dublin and Cushendall in Co Antrim.
Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said: "I would like to thank Chris Hadfield for his tremendous generosity in agreeing to help us promote the island of Ireland around the world. He is an enormously popular, global figure and I am confident that the four films we have created of his visit to Ireland will be seen and shared by millions of potential holidaymakers around the world - inspiring them to come and sample the destination for themselves."
Mr Hadfield became an internet hit when he recorded a cover version of David Bowie's Space Oddity from the ISS along with the images of the earth that he sent down from space.
Transport, Tourism & Sport minister Leo Varadkar said he was "delighted" to have Hadfield's help, adding: "Chris Hadfield is one of the few people on earth who has seen Ireland from space, and on the ground. "