It was very attractive in the days when Irish players often got great recognition for their exploits, before they had the cheek to start winning majors and getting to World No. 1!
And there was the whole thing about Europe not having won in so long. Some of the battles in the years from when Europe started making a game of it were epic. And you had greats of the game producing everything from heroics to embarrassment in matchplay, I think it's alot more exciting than the strokeplay format. That and the team element.
What would get it really going again would be the Yanks winning. But the era from mid-80s til early 2000s is hard to follow. Some of the personalities in those days, and how much it meant to them is difficult to recreate.