My First Trip Abroad of the Year

4 years ago today I was on my way to Paris from London. Now, it’s Manchester to Dublin.

Work was a slow one yesterday, hours spent staring at the clock, five minutes in real time feeling like a whole hour. Finally, my friend Rachel and I met at the train station, ready for what would turn out to be the dullest drag of a journey imaginable. If you’re heading for a relaxing week in the sun, you might bring a book or your tablet or some other means of entertainment. For a weekend sightseeing in a city 45 minutes on a plane away, it seems unecessary, so naturally, as we gazed out at the blackness of the winter evening, we soon got bored, sleepy, agitated.

The positive: Waiting at the other end of the journey was my younger brother, who now lives away and who I don’t see very often. Our foolproof guide to Manchester – and Dublin for that matter as he has visited before.

There are so many bars in Manchester compared to what we’re used to so we left ourselves at his mercy in deciding where to go for a few drinks and a good catch up. We ended up in a funky little place called Common – and for anyone wondering where to go in Manchester for some chilled vibes, I would recommend making it one of your stops. The vodka and lemonade was just heavenly!

After a few hours hanging out, and quick stop at Burger King as we’d had no tea, we retired to our hotel for the night, eagerly awaiting our flight today. We had a nice slow start, complete with a naughty little fried breakfast at the Piccadilly Tavern, which was lovely, by the way (and you can build your own breakfast with just the elements you want, which is great for limiting waste, and the price was very reasonable too). Then it was a case of returning to the train station, trying to figure out what ticket we needed, and heading for the airport.

Our flight was delayed, but finally, at 3.35pm we were on a bus leaving the airport in Ireland. After what seemed like an age considering how close the small island actually is to our own, we’d made it.

We’re staying at the Temple Bar Inn, right in the heart of a beautiful array of bars and pubs. The hotel itself is stunning, classy yet quirky, complete with twinkly lights and just about every amenity you could expect. We made check in a flying visit so we could get out and get our bearings – and scope out the cool bars for later on.

The Temple Bar area is easy to find your way around, as it is very gridlike. And there is plenty going on, at least on a Saturday. In short, I couldn’t wait to get out and get on it.

After tea of course.

We came across a cool-looking place along the river called The Merchants Arch. A server lead us inside the grand old building and up some winding wooden stairs into a pub that is the perfect balance between quaint and common. So many pictures (many referencing Guinness) lined the high walls, and a large model plane hung from the ceiling. The room was lit by low lighting and candles, and, like everyone we’ve met so far, the staff were all absolutely lovely. My traditional cottage pie wasn’t anything to frown about either! #divine!

As I write this post I’m finally getting ready to tidy myself up a bit and head out for a few more bevvies, hence posting now and not later. Wish me luck, and share in a pint of guinness with me!

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