Singing astronaut Chris Hadfield becomes cultural ambassador for Ireland

Chris Hadfield, the singing astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station, has taken on a role as cultural ambassador for Ireland.

The Canadian won a huge following after tweeting a series of photographs of Ireland from the space station and posting the first tweet from space using the Irish language.

He is now on a five-day tour of Ireland and has agreed to appear in three promotional films aimed at boosting tourism.

Commander Hadfield became a global sensation when he performed David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' on the space station – the video on YouTube has been seen more than 20 million times. His out of this world singing also included a duet with The Chieftains from space and a rendition of Danny Boy on St Patrick’s Day.

Among the destinations he will highlight for Tourism Ireland are the Guinness Storehouse, Titanic Belfast and the Wild Atlantic Way.

Among the factors he cited for agreeing to take up the promotional role was his daughter Kristin’s happiness while living in Ireland as a student at Trinity College Dublin.

He said: "There was obviously a link with Ireland with my daughter studying here for several years, but it was like a blossoming friendship from orbit.

“I don‘t think you have to be from somewhere to appreciate it and maybe a stranger’s set of eyes will help other people see it even better.

"I have been around the world more than anyone you've ever met, 2,500 times or so, and I think that deepens your appreciation for just how beautiful certain parts of the world are.”