Lonely Planet’s new guide credits Irish resilience

Ireland’s economic crisis hasn’t dampened the spirits of its resilient population according to the 10th edition of Lonely Planet’s Ireland guidebook.

The newly updated guide, which is published today, states; “While the old cliché that Ireland is too well used to hard times to let them knock it out of its stride is ridiculously crude and simplistic, there is some truth in it. The Irish – fatalistic and pessimistic to the core – will shrug their shoulders and just get on with their lives.” (page 693)

The book continues, “While Ireland’s economic woes may be depressingly familiar to the older generation and forced many of the country’s younger people to try their luck elsewhere, this is not the Ireland of yesteryear. The two decades since 1990 have transformed the country immeasurably, with prosperity, modernity and multiculturalism helping shift traditional attitudes and social mores.” (page 709)

The guide also identified a newfound confidence in the population; “For the first time, the Irish, particularly the under-30s, have no problem relaying their achievements and successes, in contrast to the older generation who were brought up in the belief that telling anyone they were doing well was unseemly and boastful.” (page 708)

Away from the pressures of work, the love of a good drink, “remains the country’s most popular social pastime, with no sign of letting up” (page 709).

In fact, the guide’s authors rated the pub as the greatest experience in Ireland, heading the list of the 21 top things to see and do in the country. Dublin, Connemara, traditional music, Glendalough, Dingle, Galway City, hiking, Brú na Bóinne and the Rock of Cashel also make the top 10.

Coordinating Author Fionn Davenport said; “Times are tough but the Irish are adaptable people and cope well with whatever comes their way. The new guide shows just how much the nation has going for it in terms of fantastic scenery and buzzing towns and villages. The reputation of the warm and friendly people also draws in visitors from across the world.”

The 10th edition of Lonely Planet’s Ireland guide is written by Coordinating Author Fionn Davenport and a team of writers who personally visited thousands of hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, galleries, museums and more. They take pride in getting all the details right and telling it how it is. Lonely Planet authors do not take freebies.

WHAT LONELY PLANET’S IRELAND GUIDE SAYS ABOUT…

ARMAGH CITY: Despite having a number of attractive Georgian buildings, the town has a bit of a dreary, rundown feel to it, with gap sites, wasteland and boarded-up windows spoiling the streetscape, but it’s still worth a visit for the fascinating Armagh Public Library and nearby Navan Fort. (page 629)

ATHLONE: one of Ireland’s most vibrant towns, (p524)

BELFAST has pulled off a remarkable transformation from bombs-and-bullets pariah to a hip hotels–and-hedonism party town. (p568)

COUNTY CORK: Everything good about Ireland can be found in County Cork (p221)

CORK: chock full of great restaurants fed by arguably the best foodie scene in the country. (p223)

DERRY Northern Ireland’s second city comes as a pleasant surprise to many visitors. Derry may not be the prettiest of cities, and it certainly lags behind Belfast in terms of investment and redevelopment, but it has a great riverside setting, several fascinating historical sights and a determined air of can-do optimism that has made it the powerhouse of the North’s cultural revival. (p635)

DUBLIN has always known how to have fun and does it with deadly seriousness. As you’ll soon find out. There are world-class museums, superb restaurants and the best collection of entertainment in the country. (p54)

GALWAY CITY is a swirl of enticing old pubs that hum with trad music sessions throughout the year. More importantly, it has an overlaying vibe of fun and frolic that’s addictive. (p382)

KILKEE’S wide beach has the kind of white, powdery sand that’s made the Caribbean, well, the Caribbean. (p362)

KILKENNY is the Ireland of many visitors’ imaginations (p203)

LARNE: poor old Larne is a little lacking in the charm department. (p667)

LETTERKENNY: Ruined by the excesses of the Celtic Tiger era, Letterkenny is a market town run amok. Mindless development has resulted in numerous faceless retail parks lining the roads, traffic problems and a complete lack of soul. However, as Donegal’s largest town, it’s buzzing with students and young professionals, and there’s a good choice of restaurants and accommodation. (p486)

LIMERICK has an intriguing castle, a lively art museum and contemporary cafe culture to go with its uncompromised pubs, as well as locals who go out of their way to welcome you. (p322)

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