Belfast, Northern Ireland’s captivating capital city, boasts an enduring link to the ill-fated passenger liner RMS Titanic. Belfast is home to the world’s largest Titanic visitor centre, the Titanic Belfast, which is built on the site the ship was constructed.
A brief history
RMS Titanic was the second of three Olympic-class ocean liners built at Belfast’s famous Harland & Wolff shipyard on Queen’s Island (the first was RMS Olympic and the third HMHS Britannic). Work began on the Titanic in March 1909 and was completed 26 months later, in 1911.
Titanic began her doomed Atlantic crossing on April 11th. Three days later, she struck an iceberg near Newfoundland and began to sink.
The ship went down a few hours later on April 15th 1912, killing 1,503 of her 2,208 passengers.
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Father Browne’s last picture of Titanic. Taken shortly after weighing anchor at 1-55 p.m. on 11th April 1912 Frank Browne disembarked at Queenstown. During the voyage from Southampton he was befriended by an American couple who offered to pay his passage on to New York and return. After sending off a wireless message to his superiors, seeking permission, he received the response ‘GET OFF THAT SHIP.’ See this and many other rare images of taken by the extraordinary Father Browne at Titanic Belfast’s Life on Board gallery. #fatherbrowne #fatherbrownexhibition #titanicbelfast #titanic #belfast #discovernorthernireland #discoverni #visitbelfast #discoverireland
In 2001, Queen’s Island was renamed ‘Titanic Quarter’ and earmarked for extensive redevelopment, which included the Titanic Belfast.
Many of the structures were demolished to may way for the redevelopment, but not the docks used to build the Titanic.
Work began on Titanic Belfast in 2009, with the development intended as a focus for the city’s regeneration, much like Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum, which was designed by Frank Gehry.
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When Titanic Belfast opened its doors in 2012, almost one hundred years to the day after the Titanic sunk, it became the world’s largest Titanic visitor centre.
The hugely popular attraction features nine interpretative and interactive galleries, covering areas including life in early 20th-century Belfast, the construction of the Titanic, and the legacy of the disaster.
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The Titanic’s legacy
Northern Ireland, and in particular Belfast, has always had a proud maritime heritage, with the city thriving as a port from the 17th century.
Despite her tragic maiden voyage, the Titanic remains one of Belfast’s proudest exports. Up to 12,000 local workers helped build what was, at the time, the largest ship in the world. It was an engineering feat the likes of which had never been seen before, and the after effects of the tragedy were felt particularly strongly in Belfast.
The story of the Titanic continues to fascinate people from all over the world. Whilst there are many museums dedicated to the Titanic, only in Belfast can you discover the story in the city of the ship’s birth.
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