Ireland’s Favorite Astronaut Sings “Danny Boy” from Space on St. Paddy’s

Commander Chris Hadfield sporting green for St. Patrick's Day aboard the International Space Station.

By Adam Farley, Editorial Assistant
March 18, 2013

If you’re not familiar with Commander Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency by now, you’re still not alone; but pretty soon, you’ll probably be in the minority.

Commander Hadfield, who was recently named ISS commander (becoming the first Canadian to take control of the International Space Station), has literally skyrocketed himself to fame. Since entering orbit on the ISS on December 21st, Cmdr Hadfield has been accumulating fans at a rapid clip as a result of his frequent and savvy social media output–in the past three months, Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) has garnered himself over 500,000 followers on Twitter.

While his posts detail his whole orbital cycle, Cmdr Hadfield has particularly endeared himself to the Irish diasporic community. In February, he tweeted a nighttime picture of Dublin accompanied by a message written partially in Irish: “Tá Éire fíorálainn! Land of green hills dark beer. With Dublin glowing in the Irish night.”

Yesterday, as he passed once more over Hibernia, the Canadian astronaut again tweeted partially in Irish with a St. Patrick’s Day message: “Maidin mhaith from the International Space Station! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to the Irish all around the globe. Good morning!” But then he one-upped himself by adding his name to the, at this point near infinite, list of “Danny Boy” singers, linking to his rendition and adding that “Danny Boy strikes home with me, now more than ever. I’ve recorded a version for today in orbit. Hope you like it.” Accompanying himself on the guitar, Hadfield’s version drew wide-spread praise from his devoted followers.

In addition to the song, Hadfield posted eight pictures of Ireland (from Cork City to Derry) and the one above of himself wearing green, drawing specific attention to his emerald bow tie.

If you want to take a look at more of Commander Hadfield’s photos from space (which range from Tiananmen Square during the Chinese New Year to brush fires in Australia), the Ottawa Citizen reports that Nova Scotia geography teacher Dave MacLean has put them on an online map, complete with Hadfield’s tweets about each one.

Commander Hadfield will remain ISS commander for the duration of the newly-begun Expedition 35 and is scheduled to return to Earth in May. Until then, it’s likely we can expect at least a few more galactic gaelicisms.

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