DoChara.com is primarily an Unofficial Guide to Ireland, providing unbiased information, advice and tips for anyone who plans to visit Ireland.
The aim is to give visitors to Ireland the sort of information a friend would, about the good, the bad and the indifferent, the hidden places and the tourist traps, where to find value and how to avoid being ripped off.
There are also quite a few general articles about Ireland and the Irish which are not directly related to travel but which may help visitors to get a feel for Ireland outside the tourist brochures. There’s some history and some culture, a few recipes, a bit about Irish names and place names. It’s a mixed bag – so dip in and out!
How it Began
There was no great plan – the site kind of happened by accident.
I met lots of people from America, Canada, South Africa, Australia and other far flung places while participating in various Internet forums (this was back in the dark ages, before social media!). Of course I didn’t actually ‘meet’ any of them, in the face-to-face sense, at first.
Some of these people planned trips to Ireland, or their friends did. So I gave them some tips before they visited. They found the tips useful and other people, friends of these friends, started to get in touch.
It began to get out of hand!
So back in 2004 I decided to put all the stuff together, add to it regularly and make it available to anyone who happened by as DoChara.com. I update it as often as time allows – which is sometimes a lot and sometimes not at all for weeks or months at at time, sadly.
Below are answers to some questions I’ve been asked about the site itself.
Stuff People Ask About
What does “DoChara” mean?
The name was chosen because “Do Chara” means “your friend” in Irish. It’s pronounced duh-kahr-ah.
Is this a tourist board site?
No, nothing to do with the tourist board. It’s personal advice, tips and information from an ordinary Irish person, basically the sort of stuff a friend would tell you.
- I do NOT belong to any tourism body
and am therefore in a position to be critical when criticism is warranted. Yeah!
- I do NOT sell any tourism product
and I can’t be bought, so I can remain entirely objective about those who do have something to sell
On tourist board sites for any country, not just Ireland, everywhere is wonderful, everyone is nice, everything is great value . We all know that in reality everything isn’t perfect – many places are wonderful, some are so-so, a fair few are a good deal less than even that. Because my only loyalty is to users of the site I am happily free to write what I believe to be true.
How do you decide what to include/leave out?
Mostly I call on my own knowledge of Ireland or on suggestions from other people. I visit a lot of places myself before writing about them. Then I research a bit more to be sure I get the full picture – and this is where many, many other people from all around Ireland and beyond help enormously by generously sharing their expertise in specific subjects and their invaluable local knowledge.
These are either people I know and whose opinions I trust, or people others suggest as having particular knowledge about something. Often I’ve just called someone up or emailed them out of the blue looking to pick their brain – invariably they have been generous with their extensive knowledge and I am grateful to them all.
I also listen very carefully to what users of the site have to say and take heed of feedback from lots of people who have visited Ireland in the past.
Why don’t you write about [insert name of something]?
I’ve no interest in articles that are a copy and paste from marketing material. To write good informative articles takes time – it means checking facts, visiting places or attending events, talking to people in the locality or who have knowledge that I don’t. Then it takes time to keep those articles up to date over the following months and years.
Bear in mind that this is a hobby and the time I can devote to this site is limited by the need to do mundane things like, you know, earn a living!
So while I’d love to include every single aspect of Ireland that any visitor might enjoy, it’s not possible. For now I am trying to get all the places, events and information I think are really worthwhile in. So while the number of articles keeps increasing – and there are now more than 600 articles on this site – it’s not a fast process.
Can I submit an article?
Yes. Will it be published? Maybe. Will you be paid? No, sorry, but there really is no money available – whatever this is, it is not a profitable enterprise!
If you know something about any place, event, activity or anything else that would be of interest to someone visiting Ireland, you can submit an article. If it’s used, you’ll be fully credited and we’ll happily link to your website if you have one.
Articles that are little more than marketing speak or are puff pieces for a place you own or are connected with won’t be published. Don’t even bother to submit them.
You can find out more and submit an article here.