Susan Byron's Where to Eat Sleep & Play or Rick Steves' Ireland?
I'm not familiar with Susan Byron or her guides, and Rick Steves doesn't cover EVERY part of EVERY place in Europe (so we've used Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, Fodor's, Frommer's and others, in addition to Rick's books), but for the places he does cover, Rick Steves guidebooks are always our first resource. Rick appreciates art and history, along with opportunities to experience a location on a more "local, backdoor" level than just hitting tourist traps and checking off a list of sights. Especially for a first-time visit, in order to read Rick's suggested itineraries that prioritize sights and locations to make the most of your time and get the best experience for your visit, Rick's guidebooks can't be beat! If Susan's Ireland guide happens to be superior, then it must really be something extra-special.
We used Rick's book on our Western Ireland bike trip in 2011 and his lodging and public transportation information was helpful and thorough (although we also found a home to rent for a week in Dingle that wasn't mentioned in Rick's book), and he also referred us to a private guide who showed us around Galway one day. Rick also includes practical information like understanding how to get food and drink at a pub, tips on Gaelic regions of Ireland, and tips on packing and other ways to make your trip go smoothly.
Never heard of Susan Byron, but I like the Michelin Green Guides.
If its your first time in Ireland and you are not doing an exhaustive coverage of the country. Rick's guidebook would be a good option. Although it doesn't cover everything, if you don't have unlimited time, you wouldn't have time to cover everything anyway. Get a good idea of what you want to see and do, then get a guidebook that covers more of what you need. Rick's guidebooks will have tons of recommendations for first timers. I hope this helps some.
Why not get them both? It's only a few bucks which is insignificant compared to the cost of your trip. I've looked at Susan Byron's on line info. and some of it looks pretty good but Rick's books IMHO are a proven product and are my first choice. No, they do not cover every detail of a country but you won't have the time for every detail. The are well written, well organized and provide a great starting point for a first trip. They also cover a lot of the the information that someone needs when traveling from the U.S. From what I saw on line, the Susan Byron books are only available in E format. Call me old fashioned but I like a paper book fr two reasons: 1) It is easy to flip through to find things. 2) You can read it in bright sunlight.
Thanks everyone for your advice. I just ordered Rick's book. Now I need a few suggestions as to where to stay. We will only be there two nights.
Two nights where? That's all the time you have for Ireland?
Just stopping before we go on a cruise.
Rick's book will be a good investment. With just 2 days, you probably won't want to tie up much of your time in transportation, so sticking to a central, convenient place might be the best use of your time. Rick's book will list some lodging suggestions and even break them down by approximate cost (less expensive, moderately expensive, pricey), and give an idea about what the place is like to see if it might meet what you're looking for.
Thanks all. Waiting for Rick's book to arrive tomorrow.