independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Singing astronaut Chris Hadfield to become Irish tourism ambassador

Cmdr Hadfield celebrates St Patrick’s Day

Astronaut Chris Hadfield - famous for singing David Bowie's Space Oddity in space - has become an "ambassador" for Irish tourism.

The former International Space Station commander put Ireland on the map with the first-ever tweet from space ‘as Gaeilge’ last year,.

He arrives in Ireland today for the Laya Healthcare Pendulum Summit and the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.

Tourism Ireland is hoping that he will help put Ireland on the map again as a top destination for holidays.

The organisation has enlisted his help to showcase some of our top visitor attractions and experiences over the coming five days.

From tomorrow , he and his wife Helene will visit Croke Park and the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. He will also visit Donegal - where he will learn ‘cúpla focal’ from some local schoolchildren - and the Inishowen Peninsula.

In Northern Ireland, he will visit Armagh, Cushendall and the Glens of Antrim, as well as Titanic Belfast.

Tourism Ireland will create three short films of Hadfield’s five-day visit – featuring different themes like Gaelic games, our spectacular scenery and major visitor attractions.

These films will then be shared by Tourism Ireland to around two million Facebook fans and Twitter followers worldwide.

Chris Hadfield will also tweet to his more than one million followers about his experiences here.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, said Mr Hadfield's visit will be great for Irish tourism.

“Having seen Ireland from space, it’s great to be able to give Chris Hadfield a closer look at what Ireland has to offer on the ground."

"His enthusiasm and energy make him a great ambassador for Irish tourism, and should help to persuade many more to come and see Ireland close-up in 2014. I’m really delighted he has agreed to help us out.”

Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland’s CEO, said the astronaut has shown "tremendous generosity" towards Ireland.

“We are delighted to welcome Chris Hadfield to Ireland. I would like to personally thank him for his tremendous generosity in agreeing to help us promote the island of Ireland around the world."

"Of course, he already began promoting Ireland last year, with the dramatic photos he tweeted from the International Space Station to his huge Twitter fanbase."

"Chris is an enormously popular, global figure and I am confident that our films 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.”

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