Let the summer raise our spirits
After a few years during which we have collectively skulked around Europe, with our heads facing the ground for fear of looking up and seeing that people are staring and laughing at us, the country gets a chance from this weekend to start to believe that we are back in our place in the international community again.
And with the sun shining upon us for the first time in months, with earthquakes hitting our shores as if we were some tropical island, and with the tax take better than expected, maybe, just maybe, now is the time to lift our heads and starting bolstering the perception that we’re very international again and not this insular little isle that we have perceived ourselves to be ever since we discovered that many of the emperors were butt naked.
While there has been much analysis over the years about Italia 90 being the sweet romantic music being played at the conception of the Celtic Tiger (along with many other conceptions as well), there is no doubt that having a team competing at a major international summer tournament does something to lift the collective psyche of the country.
In a country that has been riven by division, between the haves and the have-nots, between those who voted yes and those who voted no, those who had jobs and those who haven’t and those whose families have not yet been scattered to the winds, and those who have, next week, we will be as one in wanting to see our country do well, and seeing our international stock rise in some arena.
Ironically, it comes at a time when expectations about progress in this tournament are very low, given that we are lumped in with a few seriously testing nations, to put it mildly.
But there were are and competing we will be. Indeed, it could kick off a serious summer of sport, with the Olympics just a few months away and with the Galway hurlers and footballers looking like they will do well this summer under the two ambitious new coaches.
And with city man David Forde being a member of the Republic of Ireland squad out in Poland, the region will certainly have plenty to shout about and enjoy as the summer starts off in style.
Above all, the tournament will give a timely boost to the business community in that the sense of togetherness and camaraderie we will experience this weekend will no doubt be bolstered by beers and burgers, barbecues and ice creams.
The summer starts here, so start enjoying yourself, lift that head and show your forehead to the sun for Ireland and let’s leave behind the winter of discontent, as we start proudly climbing our way out of the predicament we found ourselves in.