by John and Sally McKenna
Amazon.com (Released on September 1st, 2018)
B&N (Released on September 1st, 2018)
Genre: Travel, Reference, Guidebooks, Travel guides
Publication date: March 22, 2018
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Type: Travel guide
*A special thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.*
Ireland the Best is a fully comprehensive and independent guide to Ireland which gives you only the very best recommendations, whatever your budget.
Brought to you by the McKennas, who have over 30 years’ experience writing and talking about Ireland’s amazing food, drink and hospitality. Following the format of Scotland the Best, Scotland’s bestselling guide for 25 years.
Local experts John and Sally McKenna are your personal guides to the very best of Ireland, from the streets of Belfast to the hills of Galway. They have visited, rated and remarked on every entry to help you get the most out of the Emerald Isle.
This book is the companion to the series originator Peter Irvine’s bestselling Scotland the Best, and utilises the same design template.
Ireland, O Ireland… You’re calling me.
I remember reading my first Irish author along with the country’s history when I was fourteen years old. I can also tell you I fell in love with the people’s accent, its landscapes and simply put: Ireland itself.
Hence there was no refusing picking up this guide about Ireland. I hoped to learn more about this country and explore it through gorgeous images and sceneries.
Whilst I liked the information, I was also disappointed. How could a guide about Ireland let me down?
The Positive Sides:
I always prefer to lay the positive points of a book first, which gives a better and kinder “image” of the work. I found this guide, Ireland the Best, to be quite informative. In the places and activities’ descriptions (often lengthy and detailed), they give us snippets of these places’ history and explanations as to why it came to be or how it was named the way it is. Moreover, the guide presents awesome, diverse and funny categories such as historical, ethnic restaurants, amusing pubs, libraries, and more of the sorts! This feature is what I loved best about this book because it dared go beyond the traditional formula for guides.
The authors wrote all the addresses, phone numbers and web links. Maps are also present and although the image referencing system is somewhat good, it’s a bit messy too. You need to do a lot of coming and going from the number associated to a certain map to the actual image in the last pages of the book.
The research put into this guide is undeniable! A wealth of information is in there for whoever’s willing to dig to find gold.
The Negative Sides:
Most of the times, I try to focus on the positive of a book, but the huge lack of pictures made this read almost impossible – or at least, unattractive and uninteresting. There are no visual references nor is it pleasant to gaze at despite how thoroughly researched and organised it is. It’s plain-looking, though practical without a doubt. Take your pick! One thing’s for sure: reading it all from cover to end is out of the question! This guide makes it way too boring; I know, I’ve tried and gave up when I noticed how awfully redundant this book was with no pictures.
Overall, good for quick info on locations, history bits and fun things to do when in Ireland, but the lack in visuals is extremely annoying and disappointing. So I give it a rating of 2.5 out of 5 stars. I don’t see how a guide about a country, which contains such great and varied information, doesn’t have pictures here and there to make itself easy and pleasant on the eye. I’m not asking for a picture with every location or fact, but at least one for major attractions.
Although I don’t recommend this book, if you want a great source of reliable information and just need to look up locations and fun tidbits sometimes, then please, do have a go at it! I’m sure it will be useful to you. But as a discovery guide out of curiosity or even a guide you plan on actually guiding you through Ireland, it’s not doing the job it set out to do.
If you want to learn more about the authors, the McKennas, you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @McKennasGuides. Their book is featured on the publisher’s Web site. You can also add Ireland the Best to your bookshelves on Goodreads and LibraryThing.