Have you been yet? Have you found the hidden wee gem, admired the amazing view, met the super-friendly stall holders, imbibed the lovely atmosphere, bought some gorgeous gifts, sampled the wide variety of stalls, found it to be quaint, chilled and charming?
Not my words, I hasten to add, but quotes from the rave reviews that Dock Market has started to attract on its Trip Advisor page… So our handmade pop-up market is now apparently the no.3 best place to shop in Belfast, and our handmade pop-up cafe is the no.3 best place to grab a cuppa!
Hats off (preferably handmade knitted bobble hats with funky buttons) to the Dock Market stallholders, who have run with this idea and made such an incredible success of it over these past months. They faithfully built up a following throughout the winter months when passers-by were few; they fed and watered the pop-up cinema crowds; they provided many many pressies that went under all our Christmas trees (and they provided the Christmas trees as well!)
From the very start, they stayed true to their ethos and their mission statement: If you make it, you can sell it. They have provided countless opportunities for local creative people to start or grow their businesses, and the quality of the things they produce, make, cook and create never ceases to amaze me: none of this stuff would look out of place in Covent Garden or Notting Hill.
And, into the bargain, they have turned another empty space in the Titanic Quarter into another haven of life, fun, friendship and community – not least amongst the traders themselves, who always remark on the family atmosphere and warm welcome they receive when setting up their stalls for the first time. They deserve every word of the glowing reviews, every step of increased footfall, every bit of the buzz that has increasingly started to grow around the Market over recent weeks.
So if you haven’t already experienced what a chilled-out Saturday feels like in the docks (or The Docks – Dock Cafe and Dock Market), put some dates in your diary now. This is what the new Belfast feels like on a sunny summer Saturday – quirky, friendly, creative, inspiring and unique. And you might even get to see a little red tram run past – but more on that later…!