As the country re-opens this week, now is the time to re-discover Ireland with the help of Google Maps and its community of Local Guides. We all know Google Maps can help us find the best directions but the app has more uses than just directions.

With help from Local Guides you can also use the wisdom of local experts to find hidden gems close to home you may never have known existed or to get to know an area before you visit. Local Guides is a passionate community of users who share reviews, photos and local knowledge about places around the world and every day make more than 20 million contributions from reviews to photography of local places on Google Maps.

Dana Singh is a local guide based in Dublin that’s an active member of the Local Guides community who not only uses other Local Guides reviews to help plan her own day trips and holidays but likes to give back to this online community by sharing reviews and images of everywhere she visits. She’s uploaded over 1,000 images to help people plan their own trips and they’ve been viewed millions of times by other users. Her images and first-hand knowledge of everything from beauty spots to local businesses helps other users every day whether its visiting a local business or a trip further afield. Dana is also passionate about helping local businesses and has connected with many businesses in her community to help them update their business listings, making sure Google Maps users can easily find them and plan their visit with up to date business information and images.

Local Guides goes beyond navigation to help people explore the world around them and the hidden gems in our local communities – what better way to discover Ireland than with the help of local knowledge. If you want to get to know a particular area you plan on visiting you can follow a top local guide in the area to see all of their reviews to get to know the area better before you visit or closer to home you might find a Local Guide who regularly reviews restaurants and you can easily follow them to get reviews before your next takeaway or planning ahead with a reservation in June. Local Guides can also prove helpful for those who need accessibility information before a visit , many Local Guides include accessibility information such as parking, terrain and how much walking is involved as part of reviews  to help those for whom this information is crucial for.

In the Explore tab you can easily explore any area in Ireland and find; local cafes, restaurants and bars now doing a take-away service, newly reopened galleries and museums and, if you can face another walk, the best beaches, landmarks or parks to visit. Then in preparation for the summer of staycation-ing ahead keep track of all your favourite places or spots you want to visit using Lists which you can keep to yourself or share with friends.

By Jim O Brien/CEO

CEO and expert in transport and Mobile tech. A fan 20 years, mobile consultant, Nokia Mobile expert, Former Nokia/Microsoft VIP,Multiple forum tech supporter with worldwide top ranking,Working in the background on mobile technology, Weekly radio show, Featured on the RTE consumer show, Cavan TV and on TRT WORLD. Award winning Technology reviewer and blogger. Security and logisitcs Professional.