Pauline Frommer’s Ireland Book Review and Giveaway

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Pauline Frommer’s Ireland: spend less see more Book Review - Giveaway OVER





Pauline Frommer's Ireland: spend less see more


Paging through the first edition of Pauline Frommer’s Ireland: spend less see more, I was on the hunt for clues to what might make this guidebook and its promise of “spend less, see more” different from the rest of the books on the shelf.

On page 17, I found the answer. There at the top of the page, highlighted in a standout blue box, an article outlining five reasons NOT to buy the Dublin Pass, a membership card that offers “free” admission to sites and the chance to cut to the front of the line.

I’ve never been sold on the pass as a serious money-saver (sorry Dublin Tourism), so seeing it dismissed point-by-point by the Frommer’s crew let me know they meant business... especially since other budget-focused guidebooks have been giving the card their blessings for years.

That direct tone continues throughout the book. The focus is on value, so the authors are keen to point out which destinations are worth the splurge, which are overpriced and when to choose an alternative in favor of experience over price tag.

They reveal many of the tips I had to discover on my own. Such as, how to park for free at the Cliffs of Moher, where to find the best views in Killarney (I swear, they took their list right from my notes) and what festivals are on throughout the year (five pages worth!) . The guide also makes a special effort to provide specific information for parents touring with children, gay and lesbian travelers and youthful backpackers.

The strength of the guide comes from its' selection of sites, accommodations, dining and shopping options. Descriptions are accurate and often entertaining... “Just about everyone in Dingle Town has a room or house for rent...” “There’s eccentricity — and often no electricity — at David Corbett’s rambling family manse...” 

Continuing a Frommer’s tradition, the “star” ratings are spot-on. If Pauline Frommer gives it three stars, you really should include it in your itinerary. In addition, the “Attention, Shoppers!” sections do a good job of pointing out local merchants, regional specialties and the occasional budget-gouging warning.

Unfortunately, the accommodations price index starts at “up to $100” and makes its way to “over $175.” Since the focus is on saving money, I’d like to see the cheapest places broken out a bit more (there are still many B&Bs and hostels that come in at $80 and under). I’m pleased with the coverage of the major towns and cities in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, lesser-visited areas, especially inland counties, don’t make the cut.

Like most guidebooks, each section includes orientation information like a brief history and transportation details. In this book, these descriptions are pretty typical, with the exception of the “Don’t Leave...Without...” segments which give colorful summaries of each region’s most notable attractions.

The layout is improved over the “Frommer’s Ireland from $90 a Day,” which this guide likely replaces. However, it still hasn’t mastered the at-a-glance techniques found in other guidebooks. The maps are decent, but like most guidebooks generally lack the detail to use them exclusively when maneuvering Irish towns and cities. I appreciate that all maps and their corresponding keys are on the same page... no flipping back and forth between pages.

Pauline Frommer’s Ireland is definitely geared toward “regular-folk” travelers, especially couples, who need to stick to a budget. The book steers readers to experiences rather than a list of must-sees, which will hopefully help them recognize the need to slow down (but this group of travelers is notorious for wanting to see-it-all in seven days).

This Frommer's Guide is Very Good.






Corey Taratuta/irishfireside is the Ireland Editor for Wandering Educators - and the publisher of Irish Fireside.

Comments (8)

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    14 years 11 months ago

    thanks so much for this great review, Corey! It sounds like a book I'd like - especially emphasizing experiences, rather than sights. i like that they put in about traveling with kids, too!


    Jessie Voigts, PhD


  • Alexandra Korey

    14 years 11 months ago

    Sounds like a useful guide for my eventual return trip to Ireland. We went about 8 years ago and loved it. I cannot for the life of me recall what guide we used.

  • Lesley Fan

    14 years 11 months ago

    Thank you for the review; it is so hard to find the right guidebook for one's purpose. I have generally found Frommer's guides very useful, though, so I would love to check this one out!

  • Gisela Snyder

    14 years 11 months ago

    My son and I really, really, REALLY want to get to Ireland within the next couple of years.  But with finances tight we've had to really get some serious planning started if we are going to pull this off.

    Echo what Jessie said about "experiences" being a key. They are what make memories priceless...and this book sounds like a "swiss army knife of a tool" for us break out for working out the details of the adventure.

  • Tom Berger

    14 years 11 months ago

    Thanks for the great review. I'm heading to Ireland in two months, so this is immediately relevant as well as interesting. If I don't win the book, I might just have to buy it.

  • AKNickerson

    14 years 11 months ago

    Don't enter me in the contest.  I already own a copy and traveled Ireland with it last month.  I'll be blogging about it soon, but I agree with your review -- it is a good guidebook, especially for those on a budget.  Thanks for the review!


    Angela K. Nickerson, travel writer and Italy Editor
    italy [at]
    A Journey into Michelangelo's Rome (Roaring Forties Press, 2008)

    Visit me:

  • Kerry Dexter

    14 years 11 months ago

    Always interested to see how different guidebook writers treat places in Ireland I know really well, and to learn about places I've not spent much time. Good for the emphasis on experiences, agree with you about the lodging listings -- I tend to use Let's Go for a guide for that. Though nothing really beats being there and looking around.


    Kerry Dexter

    Music Editor,

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    14 years 10 months ago

    Thanks to all who entered with a comment on this article! Our randomly drawn winner is Gisela! I'll be emailing you for your address.


    Thank you, Frommer's!


    Jessie Voigts, PhD


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