Our four judges have different views on what makes a great place to holiday.
STEVE McPHILEMY, tour guide and co-owner of Paddy's Palace hostel in Derry. Steve McPhilemy is looking forward to reading pitches about places "inside the doughnut" as he describes it. "I have 15 years experience as a tour guide and people always ask me what's in the middle of the country. One big thing I hope comes out of the competition is that people will let us know what's special about holidaying in the midlands."
For McPhilemy, "Scenery is not enough. There are hundreds of places in Ireland that have great scenery. The other one I don't think should be a deciding factor is how friendly the people are there. The welcome you get is across the board in this country. It's not the deciding factor. "For me, one of the biggest criteria will be things to do in a place. There should be activities for all ages," says McPhilemy. "Ease of access is also important … Finally, I'll be looking for affordability."
MARGARET JEFFARES, founder of the Good Food Ireland initiative. "The core thing for me is food when I holiday," says Margaret Jeffares. "It's very, very important to me that I can have a high-quality food experience. I also want to engage with the authenticity of the area and the uniqueness of the place.
"I'll be looking for a rounded experience. Does the place tick all the boxes, like food, image, and accommodation? Does it have everything a family will need? "The place that wins will have to be a very clean place, and have a feel-good image. I'd hope that it would have some level of environmental awareness. The people living there would be very important, and that they would have pride in their place," says Jeffares.
EAMON RYAN, leader of the Green Party, former minister and tourism entrepreneur. When Eamon Ryan goes on holiday, what attracts him to a place is "the level of welcome. If you're made to feel genuinely welcome, it has a profound impact. A welcome can be the smallest and subtlest of things, but if you start with that welcome, you can't go far wrong.
"What I look for is a connection with nature. I don't need to see a motorway, or an out-of-town retail centre. I like a place with things to do, including safe and easy things for kids.
"What I'll be looking for as a judge is a sense of community in the best place to holiday," says Ryan.
"There will have to be a real sense of place. It doesn't matter where that place is. It's about making the most of what you have, wherever you are are, and revealing what's special about that place."
ROSITA BOLAND, Irish Times journalist and author of A Secret Map of Ireland. For me, a great place to holiday in Ireland is the one I want to return to again and again. I've travelled to all seven continents, and my philosophy has always been that the more you travel, the bigger the world becomes. But when it comes to the country where I live, I treasure the familiarity of returning to holiday in places I love.
I love remote places with ocean views, and places that have a special, almost indefinable, quality that I can only describe as charm. One thing this competition is not about though is the panel seeking to replicate their favourite places to holiday. We want to discover yours.
Judging will be chaired by Conor Goodman, Irish Times Features Editor, who will have a casting vote in the event of a tie.
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