According to the latest edition of world travel guide ‘Lonely Planet’, Ireland’s main attraction as a destination is still its unique culture and traditions. Although this may be harder to find among the “cosmopolitanism and sophistication” in today’s Ireland, it is still very much evident in many parts of the country, and it is this reason that visitors keep returning to Ireland.
“Traditional Ireland still holds the key to Ireland’s draw as a tourist destination” (Lonely Planet, 2010)
Ireland needs to draw more on its traditional and cultural qualities if it wants to distinguish itself from other European destinations. This is according to revered travel guide ‘Lonely Planet’ who have just published their Ireland Guide 2010.
In it, they say their readers rate Ireland’s friendliness, charm, warm welcome, traditional values, customs and ‘craic’ as its major attractions. The book highlights that it is these unique traits which makes Ireland different from mainstream Europe and still holds the “key” to Ireland’s success as a top tourist destination. So, forget the “double decaf lattes and time out at the spa for a thermal mud treatment”, tourists are looking for a real traditional Irish experience.
Lonely Planet have, as always, picked out their favourite Irish destinations for 2010. It applauds “the beauty of the lakes of Roscommon and the villages of Waterford, of rarely visited counties like Westmeath…where you can come into contact with a more genuine Ireland”.
Again, the guide singles out Belfast, a city of “hip-hotels and hedonism party town” as a must see and advises readers to “get here early to enjoy it before the rest of the world arrives”.
Dublin is a “hip, multicultural city” and even though the boom times are over, Dublin is still a city that knows how to party!
Cork is “still happily traditional” and it also praises its great restaurants, compact city centre and waterways.
Limerick is “rich with tangible links to the past and a gritty, honest vibrancy”.
In Galway, visitors will “hop aboard for a thrilling ride” It singles out its traditional qualities such as its old world pubs with traditional music sessions and the cities “vibe of fun and frolic” which is contagious!
Derry city also get a good mention in this year’s Lonely Planet. It describes the city as not the prettiest but it does have a fantastic riverside setting ” a fascinating array of historical sights and a determined air of can-do optimism”.
If you’re a lover of the outdoors, then Lonely Planet recommend you head for Counties Cavan and Monaghan an “unspoilt corner of Ireland”. The renowned tourist hot spot of Killarney, in County Kerry is ” a well-oiled tourism machine in the middle of sublime scenery” according to the guide.
Counties Donegal and Clare get glowing reports in this year’s guide. It says that Clare is “one of Ireland’s sweetest spots…combining natural beauty of its long and meandering coastline with unique windswept landscapes… and dollops of Irish culture”
If you’re after a walking or cycling holiday in Ireland, then Donegal is for you. According to Lonely Planet, Donegal is perfect for this due to its rugged and beautiful landscape. Special mention is also given to the town of Bundoran for its “cheery seaside atmosphere”.
We would love to hear what our readers think of ‘Lonely Planets Guide to Ireland 2010′. Do you think Ireland is loosing its traditional appeal? If you are a visitor, what are the qualities that lure you to Ireland? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think…