By Kevin O’Sullivan
And on a lighter, Friday afternoon note, hasn’t it been quite a month for anniversaries? The GAA celebrated 125 years with a good Leinster football final and a dull Munster hurling final (in spite of my predictions to the contrary); the Moon landing’s fortieth bash was on Monday (I know we didn’t mention it, but everyone else did, so you’re hardly short on material); and yesterday the DART reached the grand old quarter-century.
Which, because I’m supposed to be doing something else – i.e. finishing an article – got me wondering: since everything and anything appears to be worth celebrating these days, how do we know which anniversaries are the most important and which ones we should pay attention to? Sixtieth anniversary of Ireland leaving the Commonwealth or fifteenth anniversary of Ray Houghton chipping Italy’s Gianluca Pagliuca from outside the box in the Giants Stadium, New York? Two hundred and fifty years of Guinness or a century of Persil? Who or what decides?
Fear not, for I have come up with a plan™: the more books, films, documentaries, advertisements and assorted paraphernalia the event produces, the more important it is. Not fool-proof I know (largely since it involves measuring after the fact), but bear with me. Take the example of this month’s events. The Moon landing has obviously been the leader, with numerous books (see this interesting review in the Financial Times for a taster), films, television programmes, and general grandiose posturing about going back. The GAA’s been doing pretty well too, with a €500,000 fireworks display at the opening game of the National League under floodlights at Croke Park back in January, an extensive oral history project, a campaign with RTÉ with lots of archive footage to accompany the Sunday Game, and a book looking back at the organisation’s sporting and cultural significance. And DART’s place in the pecking order? Well, commuters have been treated to some free gigs (including Jerry Fish and the Mudbug Club), balloons, banners, and yesterday, depending on which goodie bag you picked up, the following: 1 bottle of Ballygowan raspberry-flavoured water, 1 bag of Tayto salt and vinegar crisps, 2 McVitie’s chocolate digestive biscuits, 1 ‘Happy Birthday DART’ lollipop, 1 Tesco keyring, 1 Eason’s bookmark and 1 flyer for the Clery’s sale. Not there yet, but getting there, or something like that.