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Traditional 'Ireland hard to find'

Modern Ireland has swapped peat bogs and hot stews for motorways and double lattes, a newly-updated guidebook claimed.

Visitors must trek to the farthest-flung corners of the country to experience the authentic Emerald Isle, according to the ninth edition of Lonely Planet's Ireland best-seller.

"Contemporary Ireland is not altogether different from any other European country," the book's authors warn.

"Ireland's other personality, however, is a little more traditional and, if the regular polls of departing tourists are to be believed, still holds the key to Ireland's draw as a tourist destination."

Among the places singled out for praise are Co Cavan and Co Monaghan for their unspoilt scenery, and Galway city for its thriving traditional music scene.

North of the border, Belfast is recommended for its Victorian pubs and Titanic Quarter.

Other destinations fare less well, with Blarney Castle in Co Cork dismissed as one of the most inexplicably popular tourist stops in the country.

Meanwhile Dublin's Temple Bar, with its lively pub and club scene, is re-christened "Temple Barf".

"By 3am, the only culture on display is in the pools of vomit and urine that give the whole area the aroma of a sewer," the book says.

Martin Harte, manager of the Temple Bar traders' association TASCQ, said the guide book's claims were unfair. "There is a huge cluster of cultural activities down here, it can't have more so I'm not really sure what the criticism refers to," he said.

© PA