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Book Review - Ireland for Dummies by Liz Albertson

Category Book Reviews
I was given the opportunity to speak at a user group meeting in Dublin this upcoming June, and I decided I didn't want to be completely ignorant about the country.  While it won't be a touring vacation, I'd still like to know a bit more about where I'll be visiting.  To that end, I received a review copy of Ireland for Dummies by Liz Albertson.  It's a fun and easy read, and at least I won't be a *completely* stupid American tourist now.

Part 1 - Introducing Ireland: Discovering the Best of Ireland; Digging Deeper into Ireland; Deciding When and Where to Go; Following an Itinerary - Four Great Options
Part 2 - Planning Your Trip to Ireland: Managing Your Money; Getting to Ireland; Getting around Ireland; Booking Your Accommodations; Catering to Special Travel Needs and Interests; Taking Care of the Remaining Details
Part 3 - Dublin and the East Coast: Dublin; Easy Trips North of Dublin - Counties Meath and Louth; Easy Trips South of Dublin - Counties Wicklow and Kildare; The Southeast - Counties Wexford, Waterford, Tipperary, and Kilkenny
Part 4 - Counties Cork and Kerry: County Cork; County Kerry
Part 5 - The West and the Northwest: Counties Limerick and Clare; County Galway - Galway City, The Aran Islands, and Connemara; Counties Mayo and Sligo; County Donegal
Part 6 - Northern Ireland: Counties Derry, Fermanagh, and Tyrone; Belfast and County Antrim; Counties Down and Armagh
Part 7 - The Part of Tens: Top Ten Traditional Irish Dishes and Drinks; The Top Ten Items to Buy in Ireland
Appendix: Quick Concierge

For what I was looking for, this book was perfect.  I'm not moving over there, nor was I looking for an in-depth discussion and critical analysis of Irish history and culture.  I needed something that would give me an overall understanding of the country and the different areas.  For instance, not having spent much time going beyond the nightly news, I didn't understand the relationship between Northern Ireland and the rest of the country.  At least now I have a basic feel for the forces at play.  I was also fascinated by the colorful history of the island over the centuries.  It's amazing to think there are buildings and institutions there that are approaching a thousand years of existence.  Makes the history of the United States look rather insignificant.  If I were going to be headed off on my own for a week or so, the travel and sightseeing information here would be incredibly useful.  Not only is there good information about what to see (and what possibly to avoid), the author also gives suggested amounts of time you might want to allocate towards a site.  If you're thinking you might like to spend half a day somewhere and she suggests an hour, you might want to give your plans a second thought.  I also liked a feature of this book that I haven't seen in others...  They include a page of Dummies Post-It flags that you can use to tag important (to you) pages for further reference as you're traveling.  A simple thing, but it makes the book even more valuable to take along and use on your trip.

My wife would like to visit Ireland and England one day, but not on the whirlwind schedule that this speaking trip will entail.  When we *do* head back over there (and I'm sure we will), this book will be an essential part of our planning...


Gravatar Image1 - @Paul - I'm pretty sure that was tried on the Brits as well. Wonder why it didn't work? Hmmmmmm....


Gravatar Image2 - In terms of invasion, the running joke is that .. they have ended up becoming more Irish than the Irish thenselves. Everyone wants to be Irish .. go figure. In all fairness, the Craic ( hope you learnt that !) is good and some of us know how to enjoy life ..

Gravatar Image3 - And you know the 'expression to pop out for a ....' ( related to smoking) also .. you may need to study in detail about the round system. its highly complicated and involves great memory feats. In its basics .. if someone offers to buy you a pint , and you accepct .. that person will be morally offended .. if you do not buy him / her one back at some stage .. abit be it in five years time....

Gravatar Image4 - I also really want to see this book Please bring it with you, BUT if you want the other version , try reading 'The Popes Children' by David McWilliams. A brilliant parody on Modern Irish life.

Regarding the ' buildings and institutions there that are approaching a thousand years of existence ' .. Yup there are loads, some of the people working there have been there since the start up and they still follow the same management practices

Gravatar Image5 - Yes, the book is coming over with me. It's the opening prop in my session.

And now I won't get my bonnet and boot mixed up, I won't get offended if someone says "failte" to me, I won't go into the mna room instead of the fir room, and I won't do something stupid if you all hold up your Guiness and say Slainte!

I also will not be completely offended if someone calls me a "cute hor" nor will I ask a woman for a "ride" somewhere...

Gravatar Image6 - Also, I didn't realize that Ireland had been invaded so many times during its long history.

Sorta like the French... only you fight back.

Gravatar Image7 - Yes, I know that the term "fag" is not *anything* close to what it means over here. And Paul and Declan already educated me on how much milder "twat" is over there than over here.

And I'll have to make sure to tally up any pint purchases for either immediate recompense or potential Lotusphere payback.

Gravatar Image8 - With the exception of the British, we used a counter invasion method called "get them pissed and laid" and eventally bred them into submission, as they became irish themselves.

Gravatar Image9 - "Ireland for Dummies???"
ROFL... ah god...
While you are over here, can you explain to us the Northern Ireland/Southern Ireland situation to us?
List the Dublin things that you would like to see and drop them in an email to me. I shall plan the days Of course, you do know beer comes into play on a regular basis.
Also... bring the book. I need to see this!!
Talk soon mate

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Thomas "Duffbert" Duff

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