They say a picture paints a thousand words and we received so many gorgeous photo submissions for this year’s Fisherman’s Friend Ireland’s Greatest Friendship competition, which aimed to celebrate the strength of friendship through the art of photography.

The pandemic has certainly taken a toll on us all, but you could say friendship is what has gotten us through the last year. The stories accompanying the submissions for the competition were heartwarming and give us lots of hope for a brighter year ahead.

As a family business, Fisherman’s Friend knows the importance of strong friendship, and that friendship is at the heart of every Irish community.

We are so pleased to share the winning entry, as well as our two runners-up. The winner will receive a €750 voucher from Ireland’s Blue Book and the runners-up will each receive a €250 voucher, also for Ireland’s Blue Book. We hope they enjoy a friendship-filled staycation when it is safe to travel again.

The winner:

Bill Harrington, Co Cork

The black-and-white image of a son and his mother, two best friends, lying in the grass was beautiful on its own. The accompanying story made the image come to life and we are proud to be able to share it as our winning submission.

Bill took this shot with his drone and explains it was taken in his grandmother’s backyard a week after she passed away. His mother, Anna Cronin, is a frontline worker.

She and Bill are the best of friends, as he put it in the submission. She tells us he has an eye for detail, a passion for photography and a creative soul.

“He does a lot of landscape and nature photography,” she says. “I’m hoping he will pursue it as a career, but he’s 14 and he has his own ideas at the moment!

“We’re home-schooling at the moment; Bill has dyslexia and dyspraxia and he’s very creative and that’s where his strengths lie. I hope he will keep going with the photography.”

As a nurse, Anna is looking forward to spending more time with Bill when restrictions are lifted and they can avail of their prize.

“I’m a single parent and he’s my only child – we really are the best of friends and have a great relationship.”

The runners-up:

Tanya Gaine, Co Kilkenny

Tanya Gaine shared this photo of her son and his Grandad, who share both a name and a special friendship.

Time spent with grandparents was largely taken for granted until the pandemic hit in 2020. Since then, the few moments spent with older relatives have all been moments to treasure. Tanya caught this magic with her submission; sharing a fun moment between her son and his grandad, both named Michael Gaine.

“There was so much excitement here to see [the photo] printed in Irish Country Living,” Tanya says. “I checked with [my father in law] before we submitted the photo, just to make sure he was happy. He and my mother in law were so excited. My little boy was delighted [to see his photo in ICL], he thinks he’s famous. He doesn’t really know what famous is but his brothers have been explaining it to him!”

Marc Ahearne, Co Tipperary

Marc Ahearne submitted this beautiful photo of daughters Aiya and Aoibhe.

Marc turned what has been an everyday situation for many parents during lockdown into something truly beautiful with his submission.

Daughters Aiya and Aoibhe were having a quiet moment; playing games on their tablet, when he caught them on camera.

The glow from the screen illuminates their faces; showing them sharing a laugh. They obviously have a very close friendship.

“They are best friends; they’re upstairs giggling away now, sure,” Marc says of his daughters. “We got a great reaction from everyone [since the photo was printed last week]. Photography is a hobby; I got a camera there for Christmas and I’m just learning all about it.”