Ireland’s Greatest Friendship

There are so many different way in which we can find Cairdeas in our lives, and sometimes it’s the unexpected friendships that mean the most to us when we are reminiscing about days gone by.

There are even instances that you find yourself hanging out, talking through your problems and enjoying one another’s companies for years before you realise that you are no longer just brother and sister, or work colleagues, but in fact firm friends.

Last year Fisherman’s Friends and Irish Country Living ran a competition to find "Ireland’s Greatest Friendship”, asking people to send in photos of the friendships that they most value in life. The response was amazing, with so many different interpretations of what it means to be a friend – and looking through the entries is a truly heart-warming experience.

Below I’ve shared a few of my favourites, along with my own personal interpretations of what Cairdeas means to me, and I do so hope that you enjoy.

My Mom and Me

 

Let’s start with the winner; this touching photo of Bill Harrington and his mother was taken by a drone as the two lay laughing in his grandmother’s garden.

The snap was deservedly crowned as “Ireland’s Greatest Friendship” and has captured a moment of joy amongst a period of sadness. Taken just a week after Bill’s grandmother had passed, her daughter and grandson were still mourning the loss but also celebrating her life, as they found a pocket of happiness to share amongst the sorrow.

 

Picture Credit - Bill Harrington

Bill has beautifully dubbed his mother as his best friend, and their strong bond is clear to anyone who happens to glance at this photo. Once I heard the story behind it, I thought of so many of my dear friends, who have been with me in some of the darkest moments of my life and shone just a little bit of light – letting me know that brighter times were always ahead.

Sisters

For all you parents out there – I’m sure this photo fills your heart with the same serene bliss as mine, when you picture those perfect moments of peace as your children seem to be finally getting along.

 

Picture Credit - Marc Aheame

When all of the squabbling, taunting and fights ebb away, and what’s left is two (or more) siblings enjoying each other’s company, you can almost see the relationship that they will have in the future (when they stop breaking each other’s toys and stealing shoes that is). Having a sibling that doubles up as a friend is one of life’s most precious gifts; they know you inside and out, they will always be there to either take the fall or stand up to your nonsense, and deep down they will love you no matter what happens.

 

I’m sure Marc Aheame from Tipperary can’t wait to see Aiya and Aoibhe go through life together as sisters and the very best of friends.

 

Freezbury

Louisa Johnson and her friends plunged into adventure in February – taking on the Freezbury challenge which saw them dip into the Atlantic for one minute on the 1st, two on the 2nd and so on and so forth. Now that’s a bonding experience if I ever heard one, not that this lovely crew from Co. Cork seems to need it!

 

Sometimes it takes a group to make a friendship work; everyone brings their own traits and roles to the table to create a wonderful chemistry that just couldn’t be replicated in a duo. Whether you all met at school, at work, or even have a Frankenstein origin which picked people up from all different stages of life to throw them together into one wonderful body – these groups are like their own little families – and life just wouldn’t be the same without them.

 

Picture Credit - Louisa johnson

 

In It Together

 

Picture Credit - Shannon Booth

This photo is of Sharon Booth from County Longford, and it shows her and her fiancée crossing the finish line of a 5K Tough Mudder. Sometimes our best friends are those special people that we choose to spend our lives with – and any quest you undertake you do so as a team.

We all need friends that push us to reach our goals, and are willing to undergo the craziest of adventures by our side – whether this takes the form of moving country, starting a family, or even just participating in a challenging (and extremely muddy!) assault course!

 

Best Friends Together Again

 

I have to say, this really was one of my favourite entries in the competition. The photo from Kilkenny has just so beautifully captured how friendship can transcend generational gaps, language barriers, long distance and more.

True cairdeas bonds us for life, and the connection shared between this child and his grandfather is just so enlightening to see. I have no idea what they both found so funny, but seeing them throw their heads back and roar with laughter fills me with so much joy that I feel I could almost be in on the joke.

I love to see my children laugh and play with my parents, as I can simultaneously see my own childhood and my life as an adult unfold in front of my eyes, and it truly is a special moment.

 

Picture Credit - Tanya Gaine

Walking Through a Lifetime Friendship

 

When Majella and Stephanie sat next to each other as strangers in primary school, they simply could not have known that they were on the precipice of the life-long adventure that they would call friendship.

 

Picture Credit - Majella Asple

While one stayed in Wexford and the other moved to Melbourne, these school day chums have remained close in ways that can’t be measured in miles. This photo was taken as the two hiked to Everest Basecamp together on one of their many meet-ups across the world.

COVID has made us all miss those friends who live further afield, and we’re all impatiently waiting for those precious reunions that were already too short and far between. However, when Cairdeas is strong it doesn’t matter the time or distance between you – because when you see each other again it will be like you never left each other’s sides.

 

Home Schooling with my Buddy

 

It’s true what they say – dogs truly are man’s best friend. That’s certainly the case for young Shane from Cork, who’s waggy tailed pal Buddy was on hand to help out with the home-schooling during lockdown.

Even though they can’t communicate with us in the normal way, sometimes it feels like our pets understand us better than anyone else ever possibly could. They never judge us on a bad day and are always there to cheer us up when we feel down. All they ask for in return is our love and affection, and the occasional treat of course!

 

Picture Credit - Catharina Ward

Unfortunately, a dog can never be around for our whole lives, but they do make those lives whole while they are here; and when they’re gone they leave pawprints on our heart – of a friendship never to be forgotten and always to be cherished.

My Girl Gang

 

So technically these next two weren’t entries into the Fisherman’s Friend photo competition, but of course all this chatting of friendships has me wanting to share memories of my own nearest and dearest.

I have lived in Glasgow for a number of years now, and love it as I do, Ireland will always be home to me. This snap was taken at the Dublin Ivy with once childhood friends who have travelled with me through all stages through life – whether it be by my side, on the phone, or via various emojis on the group chat.

 

Since I have been 17 we have had an annual Christmas lunch in Dublin, where we all get together and reminisce about old times, and look forward to new memories. This was taken in 2019, our last before Covid began, and I’m so looking forward to reuniting with them all once again in the near future.

Friends Hidden in Plain Sight

 

Last but certainly not least – my family. My husband Stephen is my best friend and partner in all that I do, and without him this wonderful Irish gift box subscription that we know as “Irish at Heart” would be but a perpetual wish for the future. He makes me laugh every single day, and even when he’s winding me up (which is his preferred hobby) I couldn’t ever imagine life without him by my side.

 

This photo was taken before a family communion a good few years ago and I just love it so much because, although we’re all dressed up and respectable, I can see each individual personality of my children shining through behind the poses. I’m always so thankful that I have been able to watch them grow over the years into the amazing people that they are today.

Of course, that’s not to say we don’t all argue, and that our family life isn’t as chaotic as everyone else’s – but it’s also wonderful, and I feel a strong bond of Cairdeas with each of them, each with its own unique traits and expressions.

 

Did any of the above photos make you think of your own special relationships? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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