You have to assume that if the Irish Tourist Board (Bord F´ilte) published a guidebook it would be loaded with up-to-the minute information and written in a succinct, authoritative voice. Correct on both assumptions. Their Ireland Guide
is an engrossing read--it doesn't list hotels or restaurants but more than makes up for it with its in-depth look at the 32 counties that comprise this Celtic country (yes, Northern Ireland is included). Neatly divided into seven regions (color coded for easy access), the book covers the major tourist centers (Dublin, Galway, Connemara, Killarney, Cliffs of Moher) but devotes just as much space to lesser-known counties such as Roscommon, with its excellent Famine Museum; Mayo, home of sacred Crough Patrick mountain; and Kilkenny, known for the Jerpoint Abbey, which dates from the 12th century. Readers will find the detailed maps handy as well as the sidebars on what to do when it rains (and in Ireland that's a lot). Also of interest are the features pertaining to a specific topic, such as medieval Ireland or the Irish language. If you plan on seeing even a sliver of what this country has to offer, take this guidebook with you. --Jill Fergus
About the Author
The Bord Failte is the Irish Tourist Board.