Thai Cave Rescue was the most important news story of June and July according to Core’s Cultural Index

Ireland’s on-going heatwave ranked in second place followed by Ryanair pilot strikes

Warning from Children’s Ombudsman about ‘invisible’ homeless children had lowest level of awareness

The Thai Cave Rescue was the most important news story in Ireland in June and July 2018 according to the monthly Cultural Index from Core, Ireland’s largest marketing communications company.

The Cultural Index, generated by the research practice of Core, examines awareness amongst the general public of the top news stories making headlines, and the importance of such stories in the context of Irish society and culture. Surveying 1,000 people, two scores – awareness and importance – are combined to give a 100 point Cultural Index scale which shows how engaged people are with various news stories.

When 12 members of a Thai soccer team and their 25-year-old coach became trapped in a cave north of Chiang Rai, their battle for survival captured the attention of a global audience. Over 4.4 million stories featured online about their rescue and the story rankest highest amongst those surveyed, with an awareness of 92%. When the importance of the story was factored in, this gave a Cultural Index scoring of 74.5, taking the top spot on the leader board.

Ireland’s longest heatwave in over forty years was the second most important story, generating 90% of overall awareness amongst respondents. When the importance of the story was factored in, this gave a Cultural Index scoring of 69.8.

Ryanair was the third story featured on the Cultural Index as the company was forced to cancel and postpone a large number of flights due to industrial action by their pilots. Awareness of this story ranked highly amongst the public, with 91% of the Irish public aware of the strikes. When the importance of the story was factored in, this gave a Cultural Index scoring of 63.4.

As a result of the good weather, some stories, which may have ranked higher at another time, appear to have been overlooked by the public. The story which had the lowest level of awareness – just 31% of all adults – was the Children’s Ombudsman sounding a warning about ‘invisible’ homeless children and family hubs. However, among those who were aware, this story scored the highest level of importance, with 85% claiming it as important or very important.

Other stories overlooked were former Anglo-Irish executive David Drumm’s suspended sentence and that Dublin house prices are now €150,000 higher than in 2013. People were more aware of Love Island, The World Cup and the Pope’s visit.

The full top ten stories to feature on the Core Research Culture Index for June / July 2018 were:

  1. Boys football team rescued from Thai cave                                            74.5
  2. Ireland has the longest heatwave since 1976                                         69.8
  3. Ryanair cancel flights due to strikes                                                        63.4
  4. US policy separates immigrant parents and children                          62.5
  5. US president Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un meet              59.4
  6. Prime Minister Theresa May forces through proposed Brexit plan  55.2
  7. World Cup takes place in Russia                                                              54.9
  8. Three men injured in a shooting in Bray Boxing Club                         52.4
  9. Trump attends NATO and is met by protestors in the U.K.                49.8
  10. Prince Harry and Meghan visit Dublin                                                    42.5



To view the full findings of the Core Research Cultural Index June – July 2018, please click here:

Dance Around Your Handbag Once Again, with music with words for your dancing pleasure –

Strictly Handbag is Back for One Night Only!

Saturday 22nd September 2018 – The Sugar Club, Leeson street, Dublin 2.

Doors: 7:30 to 3am

  • Strictly Handbag takes the spotlight for one night on the 22nd September 2018
  • Originals Handbag DJ’s Mick Heaney, Conor Ferguson, Dave Haslam, Dandelion, Fergus Murphy, Mark Kelly, Aidan Kelly and more will provide music with words for your dancing pleasure.
  • Live Musical acts including The Strictly Handbag Band, Mike Hanrahan, Leslie Dowdall and Paul Harrington
  • All funds will go towards The 3 Amigos & The Martin Thomas Trust in association with Jigsaw, in support of Youth Mental Health

Legendary club night, Strictly Handbag, returns to the Dublin nightlife scene for one night only to take you on a nostalgic trip back to the 80’s & 90’s, to Celebrate 25 years of ‘Music with words for your dancing pleasure’, and the man that made it all happen – Martin Thomas, at The Sugar Club on Saturday the 22nd September 2018 at 7:30pm till bedtime...

Relive your youth, meet old friends and make new memories, to the soundtrack of the 80’s and 90’s with plenty of prizes and surprises throughout the night. Music on the night is brought to you by the original handbags DJ’s including, Mick Heaney, Conor Ferguson, Fergus Murphy, and Dandelion, who will be joined by Dave Haslam [ Yellow Manchester] and John Locke. Set across 3 rooms, the lounge will feature live acts such as Paul Harrington, Mike Hanrahan and Leslie Dowdall.

Under one large glitter ball, join The Strictly Handbag Band, and all the DJs as we dance around our handbags and celebrate Martin Thomas, the ‘Prince of Clubland’ and the man who brought you legendary nights such as the infamous Strictly Fish, Songs of Praise, and Ultra Lounge.

Tickets are €20 and available on the Sugar club website—celebrating-25-years or at All proceeds are in aid of The 3 Amigos & The Martin Thomas Trust in association with Jigsaw, in support of Youth Mental Health.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it, you can simply donate HERE . A little help goes a long way.  

Jigsaw Chief Executive Officer Joseph Duffy commented;

 “Without the commitment of our supporters in the community, we simply cannot support all our young people that deserve our help. In order to drive the change we see as essential in youth mental health, we see this innovative schools programme as one that can inform, support, educate and empower a wide section of our educators, enabling a better understanding of our collective responsibility in supporting young people’s mental health. Fundraising events like these enable us to put these plans into action.”

Revive those memories that have lasted you a quarter of a life time. Whether you are reliving the good old days or scouting out what you missed, Strictly Handbag can’t wait to dance until dawn to celebrate the best of Dublin and the people who made it happen.

‘Like’ Strictly Handbag on Facebook here  follow us on Twitter @strictlyhandbag and RSVP to the event

Smurfit Kappa Ireland joins Guaranteed Irish

Guaranteed Irish is the not-for-profit organisation championing homegrown and international businesses operating in Ireland

Spark Foundry appoints Helen O’Rourke as Deputy Managing Director

Spark Foundry, the media communications agency, has appointed Helen O’Rourke as Deputy Managing Director.

Helen joined Spark Foundry, previously known as Mediavest, 12 years ago and was appointed to the board of the company in 2014. During this time, Helen has worked with some of Spark Foundry’s largest clients and has contributed to many new business wins. As Deputy Managing Director, Helen will work closely with the management team to drive the strategic direction of the agency, while also continuing to lead a portfolio of clients.

Helen is the IAPI representative on both the Research and the Technical Committees of the JLNR and she also teaches a number of courses in Core Learning, the practice within Core which provides training for media, marketing and advertising professionals.

Spark Foundry has been operating in the Irish market since 1999 and is part of Core, Ireland’s largest marketing communications company. Spark Foundry provides a range of services including media and investment, analytics, technology, insights and content. Since 2013, the company has been the No. 1 qualitatively ranked media agency in Ireland, according to independent assessment agency RECMA. The agency works with a range of indigenous and international clients including Aviva, BWG, ESB Group, Mars Ireland Ltd, P&G, Three, Road Safety Authority and Ulster Bank. The company recently won the Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard account.

Sandra Alvarez, Managing Director of Spark Foundry, says: “Helen is undoubtedly one of the most talented practitioners in our market. Her commitment to making our industry better is remarkable and she constantly raises the bar for the standard of the work we do. Helen is an integral part of the Spark Foundry team and I’m really looking forward to working alongside her to bring the agency to even higher levels.” 

Core, formerly known as Core Media, is made up of nine distinct practices – Creative, Data, Investment, Learning, Media (comprising of Mediaworks, Spark Foundry, Starcom and Zenith), Recruitment, Research, Sponsorship and Strategy.


For further details, please check out