Books and maps and online resources
I've rarely met a book that I didn't like, so I have a tendency to buy about forty-seven books for any trip -- each one has some tidbit that doesn't show up anywhere else. I tend to go a little berserk on the books (especially now that I buy a ton of them on ebay). They show up in drbs and drabs from all over the place, and I spend my evenings paging through the travel guides, historical references, and other reference books that show up .
Not only did I pick up the castle books from Mike Salter at Folly Publications (the best reference I've ever found, to be honest), I pertty much bought everything else I could find.
I have most of the travel guides, but my favorites are the Rough Guide and Footprint Guide. Chock full of information and packed with maps, suggestions for hotels, and detailed information about the sites and architecture. I have Frommers, AAA, Routard, and various other books, but I did primarily stick with the Rough Guide as our basic reference - it was amazingly accurate for times and prices.
Some links and useful stuff:
Travel Guide Sites
Books and Magazines
Tilley Endurables's • TravelSmith • Walkabout Travel gear • Changes In Latitude
lost in ireland 2005 travelogue and photos © rfingerson