Book Review: Ireland Travel 101

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Recently we shared an excellent resource about travel to Ireland - Pat Preston's Ireland Expert. Pat is fantastic - she knows Ireland!  I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of Pat's latest book, Ireland Travel 101. I've read a plethora of travel guides to Ireland - THIS ONE is the best I've read. It is chock full of information about traveling to Ireland (well, you knew that, though). Starting with a chapter on Planning, Pat covers the basics, from when to go, climate and weather, holidays, what to pack, electricity, and more. THIS is the chapter you should definitely start with if you're heading to Ireland for the first time. I appreciate it! There's a great section on saving money, travel passes, and discount cards. Pat has written 15 travel books  - she's an Expert!

The book then delves - in great detail - according to geographic location. Whether you're headed to Dublin or the rural southwest coast (as we are), you've got a fantastic resource. Each geographic chapter shares the history of the place, visitor information and websites, time and tactics, top attractions, extra places to see if you have more time, places to stay and shop, markets and events, and BEST of all, places to eat!!

Since we're headed to the area around Kenmare and the Ring of Kerry, I dug into that chapter first. I learned more from this chapter than from researching online for weeks. Pat recommends great websites now to explore about the area, as well as a site for printable maps for driving.  I also learned of some things we shouldn't miss - as well as discarded a few I had previously planned to see, as not being as accessible for me or with a kid. Although we already have a place to stay, the hotel and B&B recommendations are fantastic. But most of all, I am REALLY Excited about all of the fantastic food recommendations, since we Definitely Love to Eat - and shop at local markets!  I loved the tidbits and trivia about the area - and we talked about them over several dinners! What a great way to learn about a place.

The only drawback about this book is the lack of maps - I love to see where things are, and the book could definitely use maps! However, the book is already so packed with information, I'm not sure they would have fit.

I have often read guidebooks to Ireland and then thought I could copy out a few pages to take. THIS BOOK? I will take the WHOLE book with us - it's worth its weight in gold. I keep re-reading Ireland Travel 101, and we're not even THERE YET!

We were lucky enough to sit down and chat with Pat, author of Ireland Travel 101, about the book and her extensive research.  Here's what she had to say...



WE: Please tell us about your book, Ireland Travel 101...

PP: It has just won the 1st Place Award in the travel guide category from the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA).  For more on the book, click here:



WE: Your tips are based on 40+ years of traveling to Ireland - what is your top travel tip for beginners?

PP: Remember that "less is more" in Ireland. Don't over-plan and cram in too much. Avoid 1-night hotel stays (always aim for 2 or 3 nights in each place), and, if you are driving, limit yourself to around 125 miles per day. Get out of the car, relax and enjoy the towns and villages, meet the people.  Otherwise, all you do is see Ireland from a car window and it becomes a "green blur."



WE: Your book is packed with great information - was it fun to research? Are there places you return to, again and again?

PP: The research is based on 40 years and over 200 trips, so it is the result of a lot of work. Yes, it is always fun to visit Ireland, but it also means I am always working, always looking for new things to see and do, always checking/inspecting hotels, restaurants, shops, pubs and more. I take copious notes, walk every street, drive down byways and highways.  We return to all the main places of visitor interest every year - to keep up to date not only with what is new, but what is closed or changed.  Dublin, Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Kinsale, West Cork, Killarney, Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula, Shannon Region, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, and The North, as well as inland destinations - the farmlands and lakelands. After our tours, my husband John and I rent a car and get to all the places as often as we can.



WE: How can visitors best prepare for intercultural experiences in Ireland?

PP: Recognize that Ireland has changed dramatically in the past 10 years. It is now a melting pot like the USA - there are over 100 languages and nationalities in Ireland now.  And all of the immigrants - be they from Eastern Europe, Africa, India, China or elsewhere, all consider themselves to be Irish.



WE: What areas are most friendly for families?

PP: The countryside, particular the West Coast and especially Killarney.



WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

PP: I am also the Travel Expert, and write a weekly (sometimes bi-weekly) travel column for Here's the latest one:



WE: Thanks so very much, Pat, for sharing your extraordinary book with us! I highly recommend it to our readers - both first time travelers to Ireland needing help, and returning visitors who are exploring both new and beloved places.

For more information, please see: