>>>The last voyage of the Titanic
Photo: Titanic Belfast

The last voyage of the Titanic

The Titanic Experience in booming Belfast, the city where it was built and launched, tells the history of the iconic ship, from its record-breaking launch to its tragic end.
he HMS Titanic will forever be associated with the freezing North Atlantic Ocean, where it sunk to its watery grave during its maiden voyage in 1912. But if you want to really learn about the fascinating and tragic history of this iconic ship, there’s only one place to go: Belfast, the city where it was built and continues to be celebrated to this day.
The Titanic and its sister ship the Olympic were both built between 1909 and 1912 in the former Harland & Wolff shipyard. While the Northern Ireland ship building industry may no longer be thriving, the docklands still are, thanks to a regeneration project completed in 2012, the centenary of the infamous maritime disaster. The new Titanic Quarter, located just a short walk from Belfast city centre on Queen’s Island, is home to shops, hotels, restaurants, bars and a science park. But most visitors come here for one thing: Titanic Belfast, a museum dedicated to telling the story of the most famous ship in history.
The "Boomtown Belfast" exhibition explores the city's ship building past. Credit: Titanic Belfast
Photo: Titanic Belfast

The Titanic's sole surviving sister ship

The Belfast docks may have been transformed significantly over recent years, but the SS Nomadic keeps the past alive. The steamship is the only surviving White Star Line (the Titanic's owners) vessel still afloat. These days, it sits in a dry dock in the Titanic Quarter, delighting history fans and photographers.

Spread over eight floors, the exhibition covers every aspect of the Titanic story, from the ship’s conception, to that fateful night in April of 1912. First, visitors are transported back to early 20th century Belfast, at the height of the ship building boom. Original drawings and models show just how ambitious the construction was, surpassing every ship that existed until then. Every step of the construction process is documented through pictures and audio recordings, including photos taken on the launch day, complete with views of the slipway around which a crowd of 100,000 people gathered to watch the Titanic slide into the sea.
The galleries truly transport visitors back in time and give a sense of what it was like to be a passenger on the doomed ocean liner. All three classes of cabins have been recreated, from the cramped conditions of the cheapest berths to the opulence and comfort on offer for the richest travellers. The famous pictures taken by Father Francis Browne (who only sailed from Belfast to Southampton and was called back to his theological studies before he could carry on to New York) show the doomed passengers and crew at work and play.
Facilities for First Class passengers included steam rooms, Turkish baths and luxury cabins.
Photo: Titanic Belfast
The most dramatic of all is the part of the exhibition dedicated to the sinking of the Titanic. A wall of lifejackets is used to show the size of the iceberg that ripped a fatal scar into the Titanic’s hull. Recordings of survivors’ tales are played on a loop, giving a human touch to the tragedy.
A final gallery is dedicated to the enduring legacy of the Titanic, including the myths and legends surrounding its fate, and the countless films and books it has inspired. As visitors gaze down on a fish-eye view of the wreck as it lies on the ocean floor, it is clear that no work of fiction can be as fascinating or moving as the truth.

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