Almost everyone has heard of the Titanic, and I don’t know anyone that hasn’t seen Leo do his thing in the movie, but I had NO idea the ship was built in Belfast. It was, and there’s a whole load of interesting Titanic related things to go visit.
We hit up the Dry Dock first, which is where the ship was built. It was HUGE. Ridiculously huge, and only standing at the bottom of it did I get an inkling of the immense scale of the Titanic. It was also pretty interesting to check out the old school tech that pumped water in and out and opened the 1000 tonne door. It was pretty innovative (for it’s time).
Eventually we wandered over to the Museum, which was this ridiculously shaped silver building. You can’t miss it.
There was a lot of good stuff to be learnt, especially around how it was made in relation to the existing technology of the time (one bit I stuck with me was the teams of rivet men, who worked in teams of five to hammer by hand each individual rivet). It was incredibly impressive, actually.
After it’s launch the information get’s a bit sketchy. There is no real information about why or how it sank. The exhibit just kind of glosses over it. There was a big enquiry after the Titanic sank which found that there were insufficient lifeboats to save everyone (isn’t that crazy?). Apparently ships were seen as unsinkable and so lifeboats were for ferrying passengers to rescue vessels, not for the survival on a sinking ship. They had 20, but really they needed three times that.
Even worse, the crew were pretty poorly trained in terms of evacuations, and didn’t know how many people could be put safely into a lifeboat (depending on it’s type, between 45-60) and a lot of the boats were launched only half full. Insaaaane.
The enquiry also found that the 3rd class passengers weren’t aware of what was going on and were left to fend for themselves. This meant that most of them got trapped below decks as the ship filled with water. I honestly can’t even imagine it. There were audio recordings of survivors and it’s heartbreaking to listen to.
Another interesting tidbit that I remember was that the Titanic actually had two sister ships: the Olympic and the Britannica. Zee was curious about what happened to them, and it turns out the Britannic for drafted into the war as a hospital ship and hit a mine in the Aegean sea (whomp). The Olympic got drafted to ferry Canadian troops into Europe, and then became a fancy trans-atlantic passenger ship in the 1920s and into the first half of the 1930s, though the Great Depression after 1930 made using her fairly unprofitable and she was scrapped. Sad face. The Olympic was apparently was the first ship to be fitted with a dance floor, which I love the idea of.
So yes. Visited Belfast, got a pretty intense education in all things Titanic.
For scale, this is the Titanic in the dry dock we were standing in…
Insane. I wasn’t expecting anything like this when I found out we were headed to Belfast, but I think part of why I love travelling, and being a tourist. Belfast Titanic Quarter? Well good.