Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Travel: Titanic Belfast

My day in Belfast started at Titanic Belfast - a museum dedicated to the ship that was built in the city. Despite being familiar with the tale of the Titanic, I'd never given and thought to where and how it was built -  we may all know the ending but the beginning of Titanic is just as important and fascinating.

titanic belfast review
The Titanic Quarter 
titanic belfast review
The external detail on the building 
titanic belfast review
The famous Harland and Wolff crane in the shipyard.
Located in the Titanic Quarter, the museum opened in 2012 - one hundred years after the ship's maiden (and sole) voyage and is shaped like a ship's bow. The ultra-modern structure fits perfectly in an area of the city which is redefining itself whilst also commemorating its past.

titanic belfast review
The fascinating political history of Ireland
 The museum is divided by floor and explores the history of Belfast, the building of the Titanic, it's fitting out and it's tragic sinking. Ireland's turbulent political past and history of immigration sets the backdrop to which Harland and Wolff became the biggest shipbuilder in Ireland, employing 3000 men to build the Titanic.

Even now the ship creates a morbid fascination for people from all over the world but in Belfast it's so much more than that - the ship was the pride and joy of the city and it's fate must have been felt by everyone who worked on it, who waved it off on its launch and who knew someone with even the smallest connection to it. Titanic Belfast is a respectful tribute to those who built and perished on the ship and even though today's disasters happen on much bigger scales the personal objects and testimonies mean that over 100 years on the loss of life is still felt. The details of first class dining menus, mock-ups of the ships cabins for each class and a 3D digital tour of the ship remind us how much travel has changed and how lucky we now are to be able to hop across to New York in less than a day. The museum even features a ride through the H&W docklands and makes you feel like one of the thousands of workers who helped build Titanic without most of the technology that we are so reliant on today.

titanic belfast review
...send these, the homeless, the tempest-tossed to me...
titanic belfast review
First class dining, 1912 style seems like rather simple fare these days
The fate of Titanic's maiden voyage has been seared into popular culture, in films, books and even in our speech the memories of the ship and it's victims live on (despite me not having seen that particular film). Titanic Belfast cements the relationship between the city and the ship and it should be high on your to-see list as a visitor.


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2 comments

  1. The Titanic sailed from Southampton (where I live) so I always feel a special connection to it. Such a tragedy. Very cool you got to find out a bit more about it.

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