Saturday 24 August 2019

The craic will save the world

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (left) and Dick Spring Chairman, Ireland 2023 Oversight Board, during the 2023 Rugby World Cup host candidates presentations at the Royal Garden Hotel in London. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (left) and Dick Spring Chairman, Ireland 2023 Oversight Board, during the 2023 Rugby World Cup host candidates presentations at the Royal Garden Hotel in London. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Everybody loves the Irish. You'll never beat us. And when we turn our minds to it, we can do anything we want. We punch well above our weight for such a small country. We are perhaps best known for our craic, for which they come from far and wide.

 In America, crack is a dangerous drug that has devastated whole communities. In Ireland, craic is a euphemism for drink, a dangerous drug that has devastated whole communities. But somehow, we have also managed to turn it into a tourist attraction, our USP. That's partially why everyone loves us, because we're great craic when we're drinking.

Our confidence that you will never beat the craic-fuelled Irish has taken a bit of a dent in the last week. We thought we were going to have the Rugby World Cup here. We hadn't as much money as other countries, and our venues weren't as good, but we had the cead mile failte and the craic, and we were confident that would see us through. But it seems instead they are picking a country based on all kinds of boring metrics. And while we would win if it was based on the craicometer, they're not basing it on the craicometer.

Leo will be feeling unlucky about that one. It was one of his big projects. He even had Bono preaching at us about it in Croke Park recently. Then on top of that, when Leo went out doffing the cap to Apple last week, they were non-committal on building their big data farm in Athenry. Zuckerberg played ball a bit more. He knows that when a head of state minion comes doffing the cap you should throw him a few jobs, just to soften the optics around how tech bosses are way more powerful than the presidents and prime ministers they deign to meet. But Tim Cook didn't play ball. He wasn't promising an apple farm in the fields of Athenry. He's no craic.

But none of this will knock our confidence. We will still go around the place convinced everybody loves us and that if we think it, it will happen.

We still convince ourselves that there will be no borders after Brexit. And we still imagine that all these European agencies will want to move to Dublin, even though, so far, none of them has. And the foreign companies that are here are warning this weekend that there are no houses in Dublin for their staff to live in. Pesky details. We're not details people. We're big-picture guys. Grand visions. Broad sweeps, like the Wild Atlantic Way.

It is surely a sign of our continuing self-belief that three of our TDs are now suggesting they should go out to North Korea and sort out of the threat of global nuclear destruction. John Halligan has bonded with the Koreans before, through the medium of - what else? - the craic, in the form of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri and clearly he is confident that we can build on this coalition of diddly eye, and once more, the craic will save the world, and everyone will love the Irish.

Sunday Independent

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