My first weekend of for many a month and it was away to Dublin we went. We flew from Blackpool airport which was a revelation compared to the hustle and bustle of the usual Manchester. Dead easy! park round the corner stroll across to the single small terminal and ten minutes later walk onto the plane, no escalators, no crowds and no cops walking round with submachine guns. At thirty minutes the flight was the shortest I had ever been on, no sooner had the mainly East European cabin crew done the usual safety lecture and we were touching down at Dublin's huge and busy airport. The bus ride into Dublin took longer than the flight and had me wondering if we had landed in the wrong country. Not a single word of English was heard on the crowded bus, most passengers seemed to be Polish or east Europeans. We stopped at a hotel just off the main street in Dublin's O'Connell St which seems to have every taxi in Ireland ranked on it waiting for trade.
Dublin must surely be a shopping addicts paradise with miles of department stores and designer outlets by the hundred. But every loal corner shop I passed seemed to be exclusively Polish owned and ran. And despite most folk having warned me that things would be expensive over there bargains can be found especially from Penney's which is the Irish version of Primark. Food and drink do seem to be a bit more expensive, but all good quality and a staggering choice from every corner of the world. A good few pints of Guinness were sampled and enjoyed in what after all is it's native city. Being the weekend the famous Temple Bar district was full of stag and hen party's with a surprisingly big age range, all determined to have a good time.
Some would have been caught out by the long forgotten to the English, call of "last orders please" this except for nightclubs comes at 11:30 on weekdays and 12:30 Friday and Saturdays.
What was noticeable away from the city centre was that a good few pubs had been sold and closed and converted into off-licences, they tell me this is a result of the smoking ban which has been in force for a year longer in Ireland, I wonder is this a sign of things to come over here in England? All in all a very enjoyable weekend and well worth it just for the craic.