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John L Murphy
- Publié sur Amazon.com
When spot-checking Irish guidebooks, I consult a few places, large and small, that I know well. I want to see if the details jibe with my own knowledge, and how detailed the data are for a small country with such a range of choices on where to stay, what to see, and what to do.
Smaller places, such as Glencolmcille in Donegal, are slightly out of date as to a few details, but overall, as this is Mar. 2014 copyright, it seems reliable. Cushendall in Antrim proved to have more coverage than I'd expected, a good sign, with a hostel, a note about a pub's kitchen's erratic hours, and a historical context via Thackeray. A tourist attraction such as the tidy-town of Adare in Limerick covered its sights and eateries efficiently, and the nearby city has a map easy to navigate and a respectable tally of the region's highlights separately mapped.
This pattern, of a main city or market town, surrounding villages, and a county (or few) with their best sights arrayed, is followed from Dublin, south to Waterford, over to Cork, up past Kerry to Clare and Limerick, then to Galway, Mayo, Donegal, over to Derry and Belfast and that province, and then into the Midlands. A handsome presentation of the Aran Islands and Brú na Bóinne, for instance, enhance these sections.
Photos, where to eat and sleep, how to get where (driving is expected as a pre-requisite; the maps are detailed enough for the main sights, but any traveler to Ireland knows that side roads and odd junctions abound to tempt or bewilder the unwary trusting in only a guidebook). The trad and top ten rock music playlists, and the reading lists, revealed some surprising choices, showing insight from contributors. Culturally, the historical and literary sections appended should appeal to those needing a quick rundown on the contexts for this very storied island.
Maps in these newer Lonely Planet Guidebooks (I've also checked out the 9th ed. 2014 London and the newest Discover Europe and Great Britain ones) are certainly more colorful than the older editions, which tended towards muted two-tone illustrations and highlights. A sewn-in Dublin map is large enough to easily cover the city grid, with attractions in red print. I never knew a Leprechaun Museum is on its Northside, I admit. Part of the fun of armchair travel is finding out such quirks, whether or not you seek them out when making a real visit back to Ireland.