DUBLIN - So I get off the big green bird early Wednesday and I ask the first person I see, a little guy selling newspapers in Dublin Airport, who won the Celtics game and he goes, "Celtic? You mean the football team?
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, says I.
So I walk out of the terminal and I go to the place to get the bus to take me to South County Dublin where the girls have posh accents and I ask the bus driver did he know who won the Celtics game and your man was Polish and didn't speak much English but that's Ireland these days.
So I get on the bus and we go through the tunnel that they measured wrong and is too small for big trucks, and the Irish do that sometimes, but it wasn't like the Big Dig in which people made billions and some poor lady from Jamaica Plain got killed because somebody made a mistake and I take the bus to Glasthule, which is a beautiful village just south of Dublin, and is right next to Sandycove where James Joyce described the Irish Sea water as snot green. And I ring the door bell at my buddy Cusack's house and Cusack doesn't know what day it is so I don't even ask him who won the game.
The Boston Celtics, the greatest franchise in basketball, have as a mascot a little Irish guy with a pipe and a silly hat but I spent the better part of a day looking for somebody, anybody, in Ireland who knew the outcome of Game 6 and even longer trying to find someone who cared.
The Irish didn't follow the NBA finals very closely. They are in the middle of the European soccer championship, which has produced some of the best games ever. Every night, the pubs are full of people watching footy on the telly. The new European states, countries that a generation ago were ruined by civil war, are competing against and in some cases mastered the big, traditional powers like Italy, Germany, and France.
Besides the football, the Irish were too busy saying no to the rest of Europe to say yes to the Celtics. The European Union now has 27 countries, and a half billion people. At its Franco-German core, there is a desire to become a federated superstate, like the US. But Ireland has a written constitution, so when the European centralists proposed that the EU create its own single constitution, the Irish were forced by their own constitution to hold a referendum to ratify what is called the Lisbon Treaty. The Irish have done well under the EU and its economy has been one of the best performing in Europe for a generation. But the Irish are skeptical about being part of a superstate and didn't buy their own government's propaganda, so last week they voted and they said no. The Lisbon Treaty is kaput, and the mandarins in Brussels are trying to figure out what to do next.
There's something very refreshing about a small island in the Atlantic being able to stop a runaway train by using something as simple and beautiful as a vote. It's called democracy, and it works. A weird coalition of left-wingers and anti-abortion activists were able to beat a better-funded, government-backed campaign. It was as fun to watch as KG, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen hoisting the trophy.
Which, incidentally, I got to do thanks to a young man named Nick Manning. Fifteen years ago, I watched his parents tuck a sleeping 3-year-old Nick Manning under a table at the long-gone St. Cloud restaurant in the South End. While he slept, they ate. And on Wednesday evening, Nick Manning gave me a full rundown of the clinching game as he enjoyed his first legal pint at a lovely pub in Ballsbridge called Smyth's. Nick just graduated from high school and will study history and international politics when he goes to college next fall.
He is already a diplomat.
"I knew the Celtics would win," he said. "And I can't stand watching those games in L.A. Too many phony celebrities."
Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org