For the millions of RMS Titanic lovers around the world April 15, 2012, is a significant date. On that day it will be exactly 100 years since the tragic sinking of the famed ship that changed so many lives and sparked one of the most captivating stories in human history.
The city of Belfast built the Titanic, launched her, slowly came to terms with her loss and is now installed at the forefront of the worldwide celebrations of her historic anniversary.
Tourism IrelandOn March 31, the world’s largest Titanic visitor attraction – Titanic Belfast – will officially open its doors, thrusting the ship’s physical and spiritual home firmly into the global spotlight.
The striking $160 million piece of modern architecture stands majestically at the head of the very slipways where the Titanic first glided into the waters of Belfast Lough. Inside, nine walk- and ride-through exhibition galleries equipped with the latest 3D CGI and video technologies uncover the true Belfast story of the Titanic – from her conception and build in the Harland & Wolff Shipyard to her famous maiden voyage and subsequent place in history.
A host of experiences include a thrilling ride through the shipyard with the Titanic under construction, or an exploration of the sumptuous luxury and superb craftsmanship of her interiors. Immerse yourself into the stories of the passengers, crew and the heroes of the day or re-live the drama of her tragic end and visit her resting place in the North Atlantic – in a unique Ocean Exploration Centre with live links to contemporary undersea exploration.
The whole city is pulling together with pride, ready to welcome the world. And there is much to share.
The liner’s mighty footprint is still very much in evidence in Titanic Town – the slipways, the re-developed shipyard, the Titanic Quarter, the original Titanic Pumphouse and Thompson Dry Dock where craftsmen fitted her out, the Drawing Offices where she was designed and the SS Nomadic, which is docked in Queens Quay (the last White Star Line ship in the world) – are all there to see, feel and touch. Other Titanic attractions include:
• The Titanic wall murals – superb photo opportunities in the now famous Belfast tradition.
• The Titanic Walking Tour provides access to all of the areas and buildings important to the story.
• Titanic Boat Tours provide a riverside view of Titanic Belfast. You can also take black cab or open-top city bus tour that takes in the key Titanic sites.
• TITANICa at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum features never before seen artifacts from the ship.
Last Port of Call
Cobh, on Ireland’s southwest coast, was the last port of call for the Titanic, which, before heading into the Atlantic on her fateful maiden voyage, stopped at the small harbour town to pick up 123 people heading for New York and a new life.
Located in the original Cobh offices of the White Star Line, the owners of the Titanic Experience invite visitors to retrace the footsteps of the ship’s passengers through cinematic shows, scene sets, holographic imagery and touch screen technology. The exhibition highlights the excitement of boarding the most luxurious liner of her time and explains the almost impossible sequence of events that caused Titanic to sink. The fate of the 123 passengers who embarked at Cobh (then named Queenstown) is also revealed – only four survived.