'Tis the season to celebrate all things Irish!
That's right my friends, Paddy's Day is upon us once again and that has to given us the opportunity to do what we do best: wax lyrical about this little green island of ours.
That's why we've teamed up with the folks at BIC®, who've just released a new range of pocket lighters designed by Irish illustrator Fatti Burke which shine a light on some of the best bits of Ireland.
I asked the members of our team to reveal what they think are the very best bits of Ireland and, after a tiny bit of persuasion, here's what they told me...
Quaint little villages
Roundstone, Galway — Sarah Clayton-Lea
Just 15 mins from Clifden is an even prettier seaside spot.
Smack bang at the start of the village is a busy harbour where local fishermen prepare and return with the day’s catch, featuring a mix of lobster, crab, shrimp, mackerel, cod and a wide variety of other fish.
The town itself boasts a good selection of bars and seafood restaurants crammed full of locally caught seafood and the pubs provide deadly craic until all hours of the night.
Plus, from here you can hop in the car and in five minutes you could be roaming Connemara like a Roundstone cowboy (I'm so sorry).
Traditional pubs — Darragh Berry
Matt Molloy's Pub in Westport, County Mayo one of the last truly Irish pubs left in Ireland. There's always a trad session in the back, and by always, I mean every night of the week.
Even when the town itself is absolutely dead, Molloy's will always have a full house and you'll find yourself talking to people from all over the world who always have a story or two to tell.
Nobody's musical talents are questioned in here and if you sing a song or play an instrument — even if you don't match the levels of the musicians that played before you — you could find yourself with a free pint in your hand. One of the best pubs in Ireland.
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The scenery — James Fenton
Waterford Greenway may have only opened in 2017, but this cycle route which runs from Waterford City to Dungarvan already occupies a very special place in my heart.
With the area boasting a rich historical heritage, lush green surroundings and dramatic coastal scenery, a weekend on the greenway is always well spent.
Cycling its length is the best way to view one of the most beautiful parts of the country. After all, bikes are important to us as a nation because they've long been the first big present that every Irish child receives — a moment that The Snapper so perfectly captured...
The sense of humour — Seán Kenehan
Now I'm not saying that we're the funniest nation in the world — though we'd certainly give the other jokers a run for their money — but we do have a unique sense of humour that really sets us apart.
When you move abroad, you start to notice the difference very quickly. You find you have to go through life with a bit more seriousness, suspend your sarcasm and reign in the desire to constantly take the piss out of those around you. It can be exhausting — Paddies just wanna have fun!
We love to mock, especially towards those dearest to us, but it's grand because, at the end of the day, it's all just a bit of craic.
Now, thanks to BIC and Fatti Burke, you can carry a piece of Ireland with you everywhere you go. The up-and-coming Irish illustrator has designed seven new BIC pocket lighters that feature some of the beautiful details of our special isle and capture the very spirit of Ireland just in time for Paddy’s Day — take a look at these little works of art below.