This is The Dock – Shrexpanded!

Well!  I am so, so proud of the amazing Dock volunteers, I can hardly put it into words!  (I’m very tired…)

2014-09-12 11.14.40They’ve taken  what could’ve been a disaster and turned it into a fantastic opportunity for a whole new chapter of the Dock story – and they’ve put in an incredible week of back-breaking work racing against the clock to get Dock Cafe open to the public again today.  Much, much love to them all.

The story so far: as Life in the Titanic Quarter continues to blossom and grow, our wonderful next-door neighbours in the Mace need to expand – Bw9OhjaIUAACaqQ.jpg-largeso The Dock needs to become a wee bit more – well – wee.  (not exactly tiny – we’re still 4/5 of our original size and surely one of the biggest cafe spaces in Belfast!)

At our fantastic Sunday night service with Mairtin O’Muilleoir (more on which another time!) we cleared the tables and chairs out of that final fifth for the last time, having celebrated and given thanks for all the conversations, meetings, cuppas, laughs, friendships and blessings to take place  in that section over the years:

And then the work began…

Furniture moved, floor painted, new walls built, pictures moved, layout changed, coffee bar revolutionised…  A complete transformation, and the place now looks a million gajillion times (approx) better than it ever has.  (despite the fact that we ran against the deadline a bit and still have a good few pictures to put up!)

Here are just a few of the new cosy corners and lovely little nooks and crannies where you can just imagine kicking back with a cup of tea and letting all your worries slip away…

But! you say – How will you cope with being smaller, given that during busy lunchtimes (i.e. every lunchtime) the place was always bunged to the rafters before this shrinkage took place?

Well, that’s the ‘shrexpansion’ side of the whole equation – because as well as creating an earthly paradise in Dock Cafe, the amazing team also moved a good few of our tables and chairs, some retro furniture, and a coffee-making setup (complete with plumbing-in the water supply) just down the road to Dock Market.
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2014-09-12 12.37.02While the market will still be used on alternate Saturdays (like TOMORROW!) as our funky, eclectic Dock Market, full of local crafts and food and creative wonders, it will also now be open from 12-2 each lunchtime.

Ladeees and gentlemen… (dramatic drum roll)… introducing The Dock’s Pop-Up Picnic!

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The pop-up picnic is just a big space for community – a bit rough around the edges at this stage, but it really reminds me of what Dock Cafe looked like in the early days!

We opened for the first time today and these brave pathfinders made history by being the very first customers of the Pop-Up Picnic:
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– but I’m sure there will be plenty more as time goes on – especially judging by the woebegone faces of people eating their sandwiches on the cold stone steps outside the cafe on the days we were closed!
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So – an incredible week, and a very exciting new chapter for the Dock cafe/market/picnic/church ever-expanding story.  Massive, massive thanks to the people who made it happen, for being part of another unforgettable week of Life in the Titanic Quarter.