Ireland (The AA Leisure Guide) is a helpful--and perhaps essential--book to have in your car as you drive around Ireland. This book is lavishly illustrated with color photos, and includes many helpful maps.
This guidebook begins with a series of articles covering the history, landscape, and culture of Ireland. But, where it really shines is its gazetteer. The bulk of this book is an alphabetical list of the major towns and cities of Ireland, with great historical notes and trivia to make your tour more interesting.
In addition, you can choose among their ten different scenic driving tours, from "A Spectacular Sea Drive," to "Into Joyce's Country," to "Burren Landscapes." There's a fun self-guided tour for everyone, in every part of Ireland.
If you'd rather see the Irish landscape up close, this book also offers 15 different walking tours. Follow a twisty little lane and enjoy magnificent sea views in Donegal, or hike along a forest track to enjoy the lakes and cascading waterfalls of Glendalough. These tours range from 1 1/2 hours to 4 hours for the average person, and are wonderful for enjoying the real Ireland.
Doing my usual spot-check for important sites, this guidebook correctly describes Kylemore Abbey as being "in an enchanted setting," and includes historical sites in Limerick. This book also mentions the over 20 stone circles at Lough Gur, and describes Bunratty Castle as "meticulously restored and wonderfully furnished." I agree with all of these points; the editors did an excellent job.
Although this book won't tell you where to eat or sleep, or advise you about hours and admission fees to major attractions, it's a perfect book to consult as you drive and see areas of Ireland that the tour buses miss. The gazetteer covers both Ireland and Northern Ireland, so it's useful no matter where you are in the Emerald Isle. This guidebook is a very smart purchase when you're planning your vacation, and you'll be glad to have it with you as you tour Ireland by car. It's the kind of book that makes every day more interesting, as you discover Ireland's back roads and hidden treasures.
--reviewed by Eibhlin Morey, editor, "All Info About Ireland"