Although the Titanic is lying in the deep Atlantic seabed for one-hundred and twelve years, she continues to generate interest and money. Some understanding of this floating palace that refuses to rest in peace can be gleaned in the amazing Titanic Centre, Belfast. Among the top Northern Ireland visitor attractions, it was constructed to regenerate the large area left derelict after the shipbuilding ceased.

Opened in 2012 to mark the centenary of the sinking, on the night of 14/15 April, 1912, this iconic facility, in 2019, hosted 800,000 visitors. And the icing on the cake was being named the World’s Leading Tourism Attraction at the 2016 World Travel Awards. It is advisable to book your ticket on-line to avoid long queues.

Nodding to Belfast’s history of shipbuilding, the Centre, covered with silvery, aluminium shards, resembles a ship’s prow and it rises to 126 feet (38 metres) — the height of the ill-fated vessel’s hull. The eight-storey building is laid out in galleries, each portraying aspects of the vessel from conception to launch. Her magnificent staircase, central to the 1997 movie ‘Titanic’, was reproduced for the conference centre on the top floor.

The first Gallery, in visuals and story boards, conveys a snapshot of highly industrialised Belfast at the time Titanic was being constructed. Images of linen production, rope making and shipbuilding, lead to an interactive floor with drawings and models of Titanic. It also conveys the enormous work involved in such a massive construction.

For this visitor, the second Gallery was the most memorable. Starting with an elevator trip to the top of a large gantry, it continues with another trip in a six-seater car, not unlike a fairground dodgem. Surrounded by audio and visual images, the trip goes through a replica of Titanic’s enormous rudder and a background sound of rivetters busy at work. We were told that over one million rivets were used on the vessel.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own