City prepares to honour Titanic Built in Belfast
28 February 2008
The City of Belfast once again is preparing to commemorate and celebrate the world`s most famous ocean liner, the RMS Titanic.
The seventh annual `Titanic Made in Belfast` festival, organized by Belfast City Council in partnership with the Belfast Titanic Society, begins on Saturday 22 March and continues until Saturday 29 March.
This year`s festival is centred around a major new exhibition, in W5, on Belfast`s golden age of shipbuilding, with a collection of memories that have been key to the ship`s eternal appeal for generations.
Special Titanic themed tours, on both land and water, will give visitors an opportunity to learn more about the Titanic story.
The Titanic story is probably one of the most fascinating, amazing, poignant, thought provoking and absorbing tales from the last century, if not the last millennium, commented the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Jim Rodgers.
However, it must be remembered that what happened to Titanic was a disaster she was not. She sailed proudly from Belfast on a glorious day, carrying the hopes and pride of the growing city of Belfast a city which, in the latter part of the 19th Century and early part of the 20th Century, could rightly claim to be the commercial and industrial capital of Ireland, continued Councillor Rodgers.
For too long, Belfast`s part in the Titanic story, and the role of the people of Belfast in bringing Titanic to life, has been neglected.
"Over the past few years, the city that gave birth to the ship, and many others, finally and rightfully acknowledged her part in the tale, and Belfast City Council once again is proud to celebrate the achievement, commemorate the tragedy and educate the world about our city`s role in the Titanic story, concluded the Lord Mayor.
The centrepiece of the festival is a new exhibition at W5, telling the story of `Titanic: Designed and Built in Belfast`, which runs for the entire month of March.
This new exhibition takes visitors on a journey into the past through the photography of R.J. Welch, the official photographer of Harland and Wolff.
Through his camera lens, we get an amazing glimpse of the scale of the shipyard, the environment in which men worked and the variety of different crafts that led to the design and build of ships prior to Olympic 400 and Titanic 401.
The exhibition also looks at the ambition of Lord Pirrie and his management team to produce the largest ships in the world.
`Titanic: Designed and Built in Belfast` opens at W5 on Saturday 1 March and continues until Sunday 30 March, during normal W5 opening hours.
A wealth of other activities have been organised by Belfast City Council throughout the month of March, and specifically during the week of 22 29 March.
An undoubted highlight will be the second annual Belfast Titanic Convention, also taking place at W5 over the final weekend.
Guest speaker at this year`s convention will be G Michael Harris, who has spent the last 25 years cultivating his research, knowledge and exploration of Titanic and who has made no fewer than eight dives to the Titanic wreck site, including the largest to date, in August 2000.
There will be daily boat tours from Donegall Quay to the Thompson Dry Dock, bus tours of Queen`s Island and walking tours of the Belfast known by Thomas Andrews, designer of Titanic and her sister ships and a chance to try out the award-winning interactive `Titanic Trail`, using the latest handheld GPS technology.
There also will be an opportunity to sample life as it might have been for the passengers of Titanic. The SS Nomadic, the last of the once mighty White Star line, was built to carry first and second class passengers out to Titanic, and has returned to Belfast to undergo a full restoration.
It is hoped that visitors to the festival will be able to step onboard this exceptional vessel and see many of the fine features which once adorned Titanic and her sister ships, Britannic and Olympic.
On Tuesday 15 April the 96th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic Belfast City Council and the Belfast Titanic Society will hold the annual ceremony commemorating everyone, and especially the local people, who lost their lives that fateful night.
Full details of all the events being staged to celebrate `Titanic Made in Belfast` are available in the March edition of `Whatabout`, available from outlets throughout the city.
Further information, booking details and tickets can be obtained from the Belfast Welcome Centre, by calling +44 (0) 28 9024 6609, by e mail from firstname.lastname@example.org, or online at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/titanicfestival
Further information on the exhibition, `Titanic: Designed and Built in Belfast`, at W5 can be obtained from visiting www.w5online.co.uk or calling +44 (0) 28 9046 7700.
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