Move over Chris Hadfield as new space commander tweets as Gaeilge from space

Col Douglas Wheelock sends message to Ireland on St Patrick’s Day

The former commander of the International Space Station (ISS), Chris Hadfield, set the bar high for his successors when it came to taking an interest in Ireland.

Cmdr Hadfield, who is now Ireland's tourism ambassador, was the first person to tweet as Gaeilge from space when he first came to the attention of Irish people in February last year: "Ta Eire fioralainn! Land of green hills and dark beer. With Dublin glowing in the Irish night." He then tweeted last St Patrick's Day wearing a green bow tie while singing Danny Boy. Today, his successor Col Douglas Wheelock followed suit with his tweet: "Hello, Ireland . . . from space! Happy St. Patrick's Day! Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaoibh! Col Wheelock included a photograph of Ireland by night which he had previously taken from the window of the ISS.

Col Wheelock is known as the space poet and is given to occasional flights of lyrical fancy as he orbits the world frequently quoting the likes of William Wordsworth and Don McClean. He has also succeeded Cmdr Hadfield in engaging with the public about space travel, and he appeared from space on a Channel 4 programme last week.

Cmdr Hadfield also tweeted St Patrick's Day greetings and included a video of himself singing Danny Boy last January at a pub in the Inishowen peninsula in Co Donegal.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times