Eyewitness Travel Guide Ireland is one of a series of Eye Witness Travel Guides from DK Inc., better known as Dorling Kindersley. If you are at all familiar with the high quality of Dorling Kindersley books for children and adults, particularly the image-rich Eye Witness Guides, you’ll know what to expect from this slim travel handbook. It’s roughly the size of a typical field guide, loaded with under over 900 pictures and succinct information in the form of text capsules, captions and sidebars. The design standards are high, from the typesetting, to the color-coded organization, and the French flaps, and naturally, the carefully chosen images.
The primary organization is via geographic area, with specific sections on Dublin, Southeast Ireland, Cork and Derry, the Lower Shannon, the West of Ireland, Northwest Ireland, the Midlands, and Northern Ireland. Each section has it’s own color, neatly printed on the top right edge of the pages, with a key on the inside flap, so it’s very to turn to exactly the section you want. There are additional sections on where to stay, restaurants cafes and pubs, shopping in Ireland, and entertainment. Last but certainly not least, are brief for information packed sections in a “Survival Guide” regarding the practical necessities of travel, from visas to banks, transportation and cultural expectations and courtesies.
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The text is accurate, easy to read, in part because while it’s small type it’s well set, and very
easy to browse, and well-organized. The true quality of this book and the others in the series lies in the exceedingly well-curated and presented photographs, even those that are roughly the size of a commemorative postage stamp. Where appropriate, the information is presented in a chart or table, for instance, in the hotel guide, where you can tell immediately whether or not a particular hotel takes credit cards, or traveler’s checks. There are, in addition to detailed area maps in the appendix, many smaller local maps of towns, walking guides, cutaway views of buildings and specific sites, and a very thorough index. It’s the perfect kind of guide to take with you not only in the car or train to peruse as you plan your day. Where it’s less than ideal in terms of guide to take with you is in the specific details of ticket prices, opening hours, etc. but that’s not surprising in a book that’s typically written as much as a year before it’s printed. I note that the publisher is promising an ebook edition in addition to the paperback for the 2016 edition.
I’ve bought the last two editions of the Eyewitness Travel Guide Ireland, and I look forward to seeing what the ebook is like.
(Dorling Kindersley 2014)