Not to the European Union though. What was once a welcome lowering of borders and barriers between countries has become an arrogant statist project to impose a vision of regulation and uniformity across Europe. It is dominated by the economically and environmentally destructive Common Agricultural Policy, a massive transfer from British, Dutch and German taxpayers to French farmers (whilst farmers in eastern Europe get a third of the equivalent subsidy).
So when a country votes no, it is dismissed and it is time to have another vote. It is a disgraceful piece of hypocrisy that a customs union that purports to be in favour of democracy, ignores it when it doesn't go the "right" way.
As far as Ireland then? Well with an economy that was particularly badly hurt by bubbles in banking and property, many Irish were convinced that they needed to EU to be saved (given Ireland uses the Euro).
Of course, there needs to be another referendum next year doesn't there?