One of the world’s most popular guidebooks has slammed Ireland for being too modern.
The ninth edition of the Lonely Planet Ireland guidebook said that "traditional Ireland of the large family, closely linked to church and community, is quickly disappearing."
It says tourists have to travel to the isolated communities of the west or Cavan and Monaghan to find the "traditional" and "unspoilt corner" of Ireland.
The guide says that Ireland is now "a land if motorways and multiculturalism, planned and developed in between double decaf lattes and time out at the latest spa for a thermal mud treatment."
The guide does note that Irish society has become more sophisticated and cosmopolitan, but feels that Ireland's traditional cultural history is still the "major draw as a tourist destination."
The Lonely Planet Guide also highlights the problems in today’s Irish society , such as a "fractious" relationship with alcohol, which "remains the country's most popular social pastime, with no sign of letting up."
The guidebook also tells us that the Irish "wallow in false modesty like a sport" and like "putting on the poor mouth."
It is no surprise that Ireland is fond of begrudgery, the guide tells us. "It’s kind of amusing, though, to note that someone like Bono is subject to more intense criticism in Ireland than anywhere else in the world.”
The guide has highlighted, in detail, the best and worse places to visit in Ireland.
Dublin is described as a youthful and hip city. The guide tells us that the "bling has been toned down" but it will take "more than a global financial crisis and the unparalleled crash of the construction industry to knock this city out of stride."
However it does rename Temple Bar as "Temple Barf" and tells us that the "characterless bars...crappy tourist shop . . . bland, overpriced food . . .pools of vomit and urine" conjure up the image of a binge nation.
The guide also tells us that Gardiner Street, Mountjoy Square and O'Connell Street are ridden with "gangs of disaffected youths and drug addicts on the make."
County Meath is worth a look, but Slane, Navan and Kells are "blighted with soulless housing estates" and "hellish traffic.”
Blarney Castle is "inexplicably" one of Ireland's biggest attractions.
Belfast is a hot spot and is known for its "hip hotels and hedonism party town". The Titanic’s 100th anniversary is next year and it advises would be travelers to get to Belfast "early and enjoy it before the rest of the world arrives."
The Lonely Planet still highlights Cork as "happily traditional" and Galway as a fun and vibrant city.
Derry offers a "determined air of can-do optimism" and is the “powerhouse of the North's cultural revival."
Clare is "one of Ireland's sweetest spots" and combines the stunning natural beauty of its long and meandering coastline with unique windswept landscapes and a year's worth of dollops of Irish culture."
Also worth mentioning is the "honest vibrancy" of Limerick city and Westport in County Mayo, which is "as photogenic as Ireland gets."