Most of us are familiar with the story of the Titanic; a British passenger ship unparalleled in its size and décor, it sank on its maiden voyage in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912, killing more than 1,500 passengers and crew. But here are some things you might not have known:
The RMS Titanic was built in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was the second the three Olympic class ocean liners built by the White Star Line.
The Titanic Museum in Belfast was built in the shape of a white star.
The Titanic Museum covers much more than the building of the Titanic; it begins with the history of Belfast. Belfast linen, for example, has been sought after the world over, and was just one of the exports that needed ships departing for Europe and America. As industry expanded in Belfast, so did the population, bringing scores of people who worked not only in the textile industry but in metals, iron works, furniture and buildings. All of these industries played an integral part in the building and outfitting of the Titanic.
Workers on the Titanic were often divided into very small groups overseen by a foreman. Because of animosity between the Catholics (Unionists) and Protestants (Loyalists), there was a time in which workers entered the shipyard through the entrance bearing the name of their faith. They were kept separated while they worked.
The Museum is built in what is known today as the Titanic Quarter, and it is the best known attraction in Belfast. http://www.titanicbelfast.com/The-Experience.aspx It is built at the original site, and from the windows shown below, the visitor can view the location where the Titanic was built:
There are so many things to do and see at the Titanic Museum that the visitor should plan on at least one full day there. You can tour the multi-level museum, take part in a Titanic walking tour, take one of the Boat Tours, take the Wee Tram around the shipyard, and tour the Nomadic, one of the three Olympic class ocean liners and the last remaining White Star Line ship in the world.
Hours of operation: 9 am to 7 pm during the summer tourist season (June, July, August). Purchase the tickets online at www.titanicbelfast.com to save 5% and avoid the queues.
The shipyard is still in operation today. In addition to shipbuilding, repairs are made here on oil rigs. Belfast is very close to some of the richest off-shore oil operations in the world.