So here it is… the Tall Ships are here!
You’ve seen the adverts, you’ve heard the figures… fifty ships, half-a-million visitors, four days of glorious manic busy excitement in Belfast
And in the middle of it all – thanks to the utter wondrousness of our amazing team and volunteers – both Dock Cafe and Dock Market will be open for food, sanctuary, a friendly face and a nice refreshing cup of coffee
The DOCK Cafe
Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd : 11am – 7pm
Saturday 4th : 10am – 7pm
Sunday 5th : 10am – 4pm
The DOCK Market
Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th : 12 noon – late
Also the Wee Tram will be running a slightly different route this weekend to avoid the traffic jams – but still offering a fantastic way to see around the shipyard (at special discounted Tall Ships prices!):
And then when it’s all nearly over – Sunday night is the first Sunday of the month – so we’ll be gathering for Sunday Nights at the Dock at 6pm for worship, good news stories and a chance to give thanks together – and this week we’re welcoming Councillor Nichola Mallon as our special guest, to tell us all about the excitements of her year as Lord Mayor of Belfast.
See you there!
All my working worlds collided rather beautifully on Sunday morning – I got to simultaneously be a Dock Cafe barista, a Dock Chaplain and a Wee Tram conductor!
The event was the very moving launch of Lagan Search and Rescue, a brand-new purpose-built emergency response group for the Belfast Harbour area. We’ve had informal links with these guys ever since Dock Cafe (in its very, very early state) provided a base for an emergency response operation back in early 2012 – but it was a huge privilege for the Dock Chaplaincy team to be asked to be the on-call Chaplains to the Lagan Search and Rescue team as they now become an official entity.
Speaking at the launch ceremony on the beautiful Titanic slipways on Sunday morning, Dock Chaplain Wes told of how his own Father was saved from drowning – and offered the support and time of the Dock Chaplains not just for those high-intensity situations when the Search and Rescue team would be called out, but also the quieter (but also possibly more difficult) days in between when the team need to process and talk about some of the things they’ve seen.
As the service finished the rain started to pour – so it really was perfect that we’d planned for the whole gathering to be transported to Dock Cafe by Wee Tram! Everyone piled on board and we tootled off own the Queens Road to a waiting cuppa at The Dock.
And so to our wonderful shabby-chic sanctuary of a cafe, where the coffee and the conversation flowed. Amongst many others I got to share a cuppa with Belfast’s Lord Lieutenant Finnouala Jay O’Boyle, meet some Lagan Dragons and meet some of the guys running the new Urban Sports park beside T13.
Another fantastic day, another link in the chain of the ever-growing but also ever-connecting world of the Titanic Quarter. Another opportunity for the Dock Chaplains to play their part in this new community – in its darker days as well as its joyful ones.
Dock Cafe has been getting some truly amazing, beautiful reviews on Trip Advisor recently (check them all out here) – these are just a few highlights:
It’s all about the atmosphere that is somehow generated by this place… In a frenetic world, it is a great antidote and I couldn’t help thinking what a brilliant image it presents of Belfast not only to visitors from elsewhere (e.g. cruise liners) but also to ourselves – one based on tolerance and trust!
…an airy, open space full of mismatched but heartwarmingly comfortable tables & chairs, with extremely friendly staff (volunteers), great coffee, great cakes, a view of the docks / Titanic centre and an honesty box. This refreshing venue of urban defrost & detox is highly recommended and in our humble opinion brings a much needed element of 21st century je ne sais quoi to our newly adopted home town!
Unlike most cafes, the emphasis at The Dock, which is staffed by friendly volunteers, is about creating an environment for people to meet, interact and relax.
I love it when the reviewers get the Dock – don’t just review it as yet another cafe but seem to imbibe and appreciate the whole ethos and love of the place.
One little thing that made me smile in one of the most recent reviews was that the writer wasn’t sure if we had a toilet yet – obviously remembering those early days in the cafe when ‘checking in to the Premier Inn’ had a whole new meaning! – so I thought I’d dig out this little video telling the story of the most unexpectedly wonderful toilet in all the world: