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