As someone who is, in a sense, in the guide business, I was excited to discover Pearlshare. It’s a new travel app based on the simple but very compelling notion that we all want advice when travelling, and ideally that advice comes from friends, trusted sources, locals, experts in their field.

The idea is that you find “pearls” in the form of recommendations, make lists and add your own comments. A whole network of advice, inside track information, is thus created, updated and shared. The great thing is that Pearlshare is personal.



My guide to restaurants, mainly in Dublin and Cork, is designed to be both informative and very personal; I don’t like “guides” that look as if they have been written by a committee or, worse still, by a bad PR agency.

When I’m looking for advice in terms of where to go, what to see, where to eat in a city that I don’t know well, I want to hear something from the heart, from people I trust, whose enthusiasms I share.

That’s what excites me about Pearlshare. In their own words “Pearlshare is designed to build and share personalised local guides... Users save their favourite Pearls – restaurants, bars, hotels and attractions – along with photos, comments and tips, creating as many Guides, based on different themes or locations, as they want. They decide whether Pearls and Collections should be kept private, shared with friends or published to the Pearlshare community.”

So, using Pearlshare is essentially plugging in to a whole community of people who local knowledge is available to you, free of charge and with the greatest of ease.

I am, I must confess, a Pearlshare novice but I’ve already been trawling it, very fruitfully, for inside track information on eating in Rome and Venice. And, in compensation for this great service, I’ve made my own contribution, concentrating on the places I know best.

My first collection of Pearls was built upon the theme of cheap, or perhaps I should say inexpensive, places in Dublin in which to eat and can be viewed here.

The next one was hard to put a title on; I wanted to list all the restaurants that are currently red hot with Dublin’s exceptionally food conscious folk, so I decided to use the phrase “foodistas”. They eat in these places and this can make it hard to get a table. In the nature of things,  I’m going to have to update these Pearls regularly – and that’s the beauty of Pearlshare, you can do just that.

On a somewhat more democratic note, I decided to list all of my favourite burger producers in the city, an interesting exercise in that it encouraged me to explore the Dublin hamburger scene in delicious detail. Well, somebody has to do it. The fruits of my labours are here.

My next collection of Pearls was based on the idea, not so much of hidden gems but places that are not immediately obvious; in other words, restaurants that are easily overlooked and which would be a shame to miss. This is what I decided on.

My final guide, for the time being (I have a guide to proper, or as they are sometimes called, Oul Fellas’ Dublin pubs in the pipeline) is something for which I’m constantly asked: advice on where to eat in Cork. There are fewer great restaurants in the Real Capital than you might expect (it may be a city with a great food tradition but it’s small and quite conservative). However, I’ve listed a dozen places where the food is exceptional.

Anyway, in the heel of the hunt, the point is that Pearlshare is a very special app. And it’s one that is already enriching my experience of visiting places, both familiar and unfamiliar.