Ireland Travel Guide

At almost 800 pages, this 2012 Ireland travel guide from Lonely Planet can’t be accused of being lightweight. It would be rather like travelling with a brick in your baggage, but it would be worth it as it’s a comprehensive look at this fascinating and always enjoyable country. Lonely Planet has been publishing an Ireland guide since 1994, and the country’s popularity with travellers ensures the guide is updated regularly, this one coming out in January 2012.

For each edition the authors re-visit every place and check every listing, unlike some guidebooks where authors are only paid to do the updating from their desk, using the phone and the internet. We know of guidebooks where no author has set foot in the destination for anything up to twenty years, after the first visit. That’s not the case with Lonely Planet guides, and they are all the better for it. So who are the authors who have worked together on this, the 10th edition of Lonely Planet: Ireland?

Ireland Travel Guide: Authors

The guide has no fewer than five main authors, some of who seem to have been chosen for the Irishness of their names:

  • Fionn Davenport’s home town is Dublin so he naturally writes the Dublin chapter as well as Wicklow and Cork.
  • Catherine Le Nevez has Irish ancestry and has contributed to several previous editions of this guide.
  • Etain O’Carroll has also worked on earlier editions of this guidebook, and writes the chapter on the Irish midlands, where she was born.
  • Ryan Ver Berkmoes has been visiting Galway since 1985 and writes the sections on Claire, Galway and Wexford.
  • Neil Wilson lives in Edinburgh but has been visiting Northern Ireland since 1994, and covers that section of the book.

Comprehensive Coverage?

How detailed is the coverage of some of the main places you would want to see? Well, Dublin and the popular places on its outskirts (Dalkey, Howth, Malahide) get 82 pages of the book, which is plenty of coverage, while Belfast gets about 36 pages, which is probably a fair reflection of the things to do in each place.

There are also 11 pages on Cork, Ireland’s second city, which includes a dozen or so eating recommendations, and a similar number for accommodation. These range from expensive hotels to inexpensive hostels, though most suggestions are in the middle and lower ends of the price range.

Ireland Travel Guide: Maps

There are 88 maps throughout the book, with a fold-out city map of Dublin next to the inside back cover. It’s a useful little map covering the whole city, with a street index, and separate maps detailing Trinity College and Phoenix Park, with a map of Greater Dublin and a plan of the DART Commuter Rail Network too. There are several more maps of the city inside the book as well.

The many maps and city plans throughout the book are in colour, with a crisp, clean look about them, and marking the highlights for the sights, hotels, restaurants, pubs and other entertainment options. All the major cities have city centre maps, there are regional maps too, and some of smaller places, such as Glendalough. There are also a few 3D maps of places including Trinity College and the National Museum of Ireland, which help you find your way around. They seem to be an attempt to emulate the well-known 3D style of the Eyewitness series of guides, though without being nearly as good.

Ireland Travel Guide: The Verdict

Each guidebook series has its virtues and its fans, but for thorough coverage of the countries of the UK, we really like both the Rough Guide and Lonely Planet books. They’re always very comprehensive, and are written by people who know - and love - their subjects. This Ireland guide also has plenty of lively colour photos that give a real flavour of the country, and in addition there’s a huge section of practical travel planning help, and helpful background essays on subjects such as literature, music and Ireland’s complex history. It’s a guide we can heartily recommend, and would have no hesitation in using it ourselves.

Buying this Ireland Travel Guide
Lonely Planet’s 2012 Ireland Guide costs $24.99 in the USA and £16.99 in the UK. It's available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK


Since this book was published and we reviewed it, a more up-to-date edition has come out:

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

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