Across Ireland this week, things might appear normal at first glance, but they are not. Look closer.
Workplaces are operating on skeleton staffs. People have left the country in droves in recent days. In the evenings, children are not playing outside as they normally would in June. Instead, families huddle together indoors and talk of one thing only. Tri-colour flags hang from homes urban and rural. Candles are being lit in churches. Right now, the fate of this nation is uncertain and we face serious challenges.
The UEFA 2016 championship is on in France, and every man, woman and child in Ireland has become a diehard football fan with little interest in any other activity or issue. The honor of our nation is at stake here, and whatever happens on the football pitch, one thing is certain. No other nation enjoys this nearly as much as we do.
Ireland might not always have the best football team in Europe, but Irish sports fans can’t be beat. While certain other Western European island countries very near us that we don’t like to name (cough, cough England cough) might be suffering some near fatal levels of mortification over the behavior of their football, Irish fans are the current heroes of France. Everyone loves us.
5 Reasons Irish Fans Are the Best
- Our singing. People could be forgiven for thinking The Fields of Athenry is the Irish national anthem. It’s not, but probably more Irish people know the words to Fields of Athenry than the national anthem. It’s always sung by the fans at sports events. If this surprises you, remember that we do have a fine tradition of absurdist writers as well.
- Our dancing. Riverdance is just the tip of the iceberg. When Irish sports fans gather abroad, there will be dancing. It will be unlike anything the locals have seen before. And we’ll dance with anyone.
- Our fashion sense. Never mind that Parisian haute couture, Irish fans have the look. No one wears haberdashery with quite so much enthusiasm.
- Our traditions. This is an ancient culture with deep roots. Irish fans today chant “Olé, olé, olé, olé” at matches. Some find this confusing because the word ‘olé’ is part of the Spanish language. The truth is that ‘olé olé’ is an ancient Celtic battle cry long before the Spanish got hold of it. When their armada washed up here in 1588, Spanish sailors heard the chant and when they fixed up their boats and sailed home, they brought it with them.
- Our enthusiasm. Irish fans have joie de vivre, a crackling wit and good sportsmanship. Win, lose or draw, we’re there to have fun. Our fans at UEFA 2016 have earned praise for dancing in the streets with other fans and even changing a tire for an elderly couple in Paris. Irish fans have also impressed the locals by picking up litter… while singing. We’ve hearts of gold. Another thing you can count on with the Irish is that we never make up ridiculous tales about our ancient history.