Gabriel's Wharf review
Imagine if a load of old art students had set up their own little village on a windswept bit of rock five miles off the Irish coast, pounded with wind and rain everyday, and the only people who visited it were wandering tourists and seagulls looking for somewhere to sit. They'd have shops selling knobbly logs of art, and patio statues whittled out of driftwood from the beach. Another shop would be selling pictures made out of seashells and string. Another one would be fashioning clothes out of flowery curtains and feathers that have blown in off the sea. That's what Gabriel's Wharf seems like to me (in my head).
I don't mind it, though -- it's all right. It has a nice seaside-feeling to it. There are always a few squawking seagulls wheeling around because they get fed by the crumblers (the old ladies with a bread bag full of crumbs). There's a thin stretch of sand outside if you fancy doing some winter sunbathing (but don't touch anything on the beach, for chrissakes, because all the rats have probably got diseases). This is the seaside, London-style: with brown water instead of blue. The waves have a scummy, crusty head on top, like an abandoned pint of bitter in the pub. There's even a short wooden pier where you can watch the muddy water slapping against the bankside.
They do have a couple of modern shops as well, selling baby clothes and handbags, but most of the shops are shacks, selling knick-knacks and bric-a-brac. They look like charity shops to me (brick and mortar jumble sales), but with arty names like Nordic Nic Nac, Henrietta Park and the House of Eunice.
There's an area in the middle full of knobbly objects that are supposed to go on your garden patio. Somebody has obviously spent hours carving them out of logs to flog to the tourists. They've got a hen, a dolphin (I think), maybe a whale, a snail, some dogs, some blobs... all sorts of frozen poses. You can probably bring them back to life if you know the correct spell.
I’ve been here before…
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