Singing spaceman Hadfield lands new Irish tourism role

Lyndsey Telford

CANADIAN astronaut Chris Hadfield is to become a tourism ambassador for Ireland.

The former International Space Station commander, who became an internet sensation after recording a version of David Bowie's Space Oddity in space, is in Dublin with his wife Helen on a five-day holiday.

He has agreed to appear in three short films documenting his visit, which has seen him perform Danny Boy at the Laya Healthcare Pendulum Summit.

The astronaut, whose daughter is a student at Trinity, will also visit Donegal and the Titanic Belfast centre.

Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar said commander Hadfield, who has a love for Ireland and has visited before, would work wonders for the tourism industry.

"Having seen Ireland from space, it's great to be able to give Chris Hadfield a closer look," Mr Varadkar added.

"His enthusiasm and energy make him a great ambassador."

Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said he was ecstatic to have Commander Hadfield's support.

"I would like to personally thank him for his tremendous generosity in agreeing to help us promote Ireland," he said.

Commander Hadfield's holiday coincides with the release of figures from Failte Ireland revealing that seven out of 10 hotels expect further business growth this year.