SO we made it into the top 10 by the skin of our teeth. Probably you're wondering which top 10. Indebted nations? Countries with the steepest unemployment rates or emigration levels? There are various possibilities, none of them pointing to the good life.
In fact, we squeeze in at number 10 in the first United Nations World Happiness Report.
I suspect that's a groan of disbelief I hear. Perhaps happiness, for the purposes of the UN assignment, was measured by some unconventional yardstick -- willingness to embrace the principle of moral hazard and pay other people's debts, for example.
On the face of it, our economic collapse, coupled with the institutional failures leading to it and a lack of accountability afterwards, must surely have left Irish people's happiness quotient on life support. Happiness should have been replaced by hostility. But apparently not.
It seems that our spirits remain high, if you give any credence to the report's happy-country pecking order. I'm not entirely convinced by it -- even as I grope to understand what might underpin this alleged state of joy.
Does it mean we have adjusted to life under an EU- IMF bailout? Or are we suffering from denial and repression? Perhaps happiness is a survival mechanism, in the same way the blood clots when we cut ourselves, so we don't bleed to death.
Or here's a thought -- maybe life isn't as black as it has been painted. Perhaps chinks of light are filtering through in post-bust Ireland.
The downsides can't be ignored, from higher taxes and unemployment to climbing emigration rates, especially in the 25-44 age bracket.
But the nation still scores well on two of the three main criteria generally accepted for evaluating happiness: life expectancy at birth and education.
It's doubtful if we can tick the third category, living standards, with any degree of flamboyance -- although relative to many other countries we retain a reasonable level overall.
Now that's downright odd. The index suggests that we're chirpier than a number of the countries that contributed to our bailout. While they may not be thrilled at stumping up, we're not exactly feeling blessed at owing them pots of money.
No wonder mutterings are emerging about inconsistencies within the report, which was launched at a UN summit in New York earlier this week.
For example, the authors tell us that people experience "sharp falls in well-being" when they become unemployed and that this remains at lower levels until they return to the workforce. Damage to their status, self-esteem and social life drive their loss of contentment more than income reduction.
Follow this hypothesis to its natural conclusion and the closer a nation is to full employment, the higher its happiness levels. But Britain's unemployment rate is 8.4pc and ours is 14.3pc. Peculiar, then, to find ourselves eight places above our nearest neighbour in the blissed-out ranking.
On the other hand, certain factors make Ireland an agreeable place to live, despite glaring disadvantages such as being under an EU-IMF programme. Family stability remains relatively solid compared with other developed countries, as do a sense of community and fairly low crime rates. All reasons to be cheerful.
REALISTICALLY, we can't expect to be happy all the time. So what lassoes us out of life's dross plains and into the happiness corral? Having control over our time is one element, although it usually involves a trade-off in the form of contracted earnings or career ambitions. Enough money to pay the bills, with something left for extras, is another: the boom-to-bust trajectory has taught us to value a capacity to make ends meet.
But let's also remember that homo sapiens is conditioned to adjust to circumstances. It's the treadmill theory: just as we adapt our speed to the treadmill when it speeds up or slows down, so our mood takes account of life's vagaries. We're miserable for a while about setbacks, before it's back to baseline happiness levels.
For example, research shows that people who have massive lottery wins are only deliriously happy for a limited period, before reverting to their default setting. (I'd be glad to volunteer as a guinea pig, should the National Lottery wish to conduct further tests in this field.)
Scientists report that money does little to increase our happiness after basic food and shelter needs have been met. Obviously, cash can't be ignored if someone is three months behind with the mortgage or has lost their job. But all the surveys indicate that material comforts don't perk us up long term -- internal, rather than external, agencies advance happiness.
The flashiness of our recent past never delivered, beyond a quick buzz, because there was always somebody else who could out-bling us. "I'll see your state-of-the art kitchen and raise you a wet room."
Strip us naked, metaphorically, and happiness is promoted by relatively minor things. Our yearnings aren't for palaces and yachts, unless we're in a state of arrested development. I'm happy if someone brings me a coffee in bed first thing in the morning. Not a random stranger -- that would be creepy -- but you catch my drift.
We can't expect to be continually happy. Daily jubilation seems an impossible, even daunting, prospect. But staying mindful of our good fortune in a number of respects might help to develop happiness.
For individuals, pursuing wealth for its own sake is as pointless as running after the wind, as the wise King Solomon observes in Ecclesiastes: "I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and behold, all is vanity and a chasing after wind."
Equally, although the UN report dismisses the gross domestic product-led model for generating happiness, unemployment is a toxic fly in any country's ointment. It's the greatest social evil, challenge for governments and barrier to personal happiness.
A nation with 14pc-plus unemployment has no place in the top 10 of a world happiness index. Even if most of us are on cloud nine, that one-in-eight statistic should knock us off our fluffy resting place.
Martina Devlin tweets @DevlinMartina