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Astronaut Chris Hadfield
Astronaut Chris Hadfield
Image: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/Press Association Images

From space hero to tourism ambassador: Chris Hadfield returns to give Ireland's attractions a boost

The astronaut will spend the next few days as a ‘tourist’ as part of a promotional drive aimed at reaching his million-plus Twitter followers.
Jan 10th 2014, 7:15 AM 13,955 31

GOOD NEWS FOR space enthusiasts — Colonel Chris Hadfield is back in the country today, this time to act as a “tourism ambassador” for the country.

The Canadian astronaut, who helped generate a renewed interest in space research and exploration last year as a result of his entertaining Tweets and stunning photos from the International Space Station, will visit a number of tourist attractions in the Republic and Northern Ireland over the next four days, along with his wife Helene.

The trip is being organised in conjunction with Tourism Ireland who will create three short films of the visit, featuring different themes.

The Canadian first charmed the hearts of the Irish by sending the first tweet as Gaeilge from space (an achievement marked with an award from the Lord Mayor). The last time he was in town hundreds of people braved the rain in long queues to see Hadfield at a book signing in Eason on O’Connell Street.

The astronaut’s daughter, Kristin, is currently studying a PhD at Trinity College.

The Hadfields will be taking in the sights at attractions like Croke Park and the Guinness Storehouse while in the capital (so no doubt we can look forward to the obligatory ‘famous person with a pint‘ photo at some stage). Also on the itinerary is a special appearance at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition tomorrow morning.

And for anyone who missed out last time (and there were a fair few who did) there’ll be another chance to have your copy of ‘An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth’ signed by the man himself. The signing takes place tomorrow at the RDS Members Library on Merrion Road from 9.30am-10.30am.

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Hadfield at Eason, O’Connell Street last month [Photocall Ireland]

The Hadfields will be heading north after their Dublin sojourn, visiting Armagh, Cushendall and the Glens of Antrim, as well as Titanic Belfast. In Donegal, they’ll be stopping off at the Inishowen Peninsula.

Tourism Ireland will no doubt be glad to have Hadfield tweeting to his million-plus followers over the next few days, and a statement from the body says it’s hoped the astronaut will inspire his fans to “begin planning their own holiday to Ireland this year”.

Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar said he believed the Canadian would be a “great ambassador” for Irish Tourism and that he was “delighted” Hadfield had agreed to the mission.

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The astronaut tweeted this photo yesterday as he announced his impending arrival, saying he was was looking forward to learning a ‘cúpla focals’ while in the country.

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[Image: Chris Hadfield via Twitter]

So, we know now he’s a little rusty on his plurals as Gaeilge — but who are we to argue with a man who has been to space and back, and who can count Captain Kirk among his close personal friends.

Additional reporting, Daragh Brophy

Pics: Hundreds queue around the block to see Commander Hadfield>

WATCH: Astronaut Chris Hadfield plays with The Chieftains again…on Earth>

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Christina Finn

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