Unless you’ve been hiberating under a rock, you’ll know it’s the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15. The history of the doomed ship, which sank after hitting an iceberg in 1912, has been immortalised in Titanic Belfast, the largest man-made tourist attraction in Northern Ireland’s history and is expected to attract around 400,000 visitors annually. It will open on March 31. Belfast has spent close to £100 million on the project, to capitalise on global interest.
Covered in 3,000 aluminium panels, reflecting water and shimmering light whenever the sun chooses to shine on the city, the building on the site of the city’s old Harland Wolff shipyard will be home to an exhibition on the building and the sinking of the Titanic. The six floors will tell Titanic’s story from its conception through to its construction and launch, to its famous maiden voyage and tragic loss. The story continues to the discovery of Titanic’s wreck and an Ocean Exploration Centre with exclusive access to footage from Titanic’s final resting place, as well as live links to current marine expeditions being undertaken by Dr Robert Ballard who discovered the ship in 1985. The building’s nine interpretative and interactive galleries will use technology never seen before in Ireland, to retell the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Titanic, as well as the City and people which made her.
Cliodhna Craig, CEO of Titanic Foundation Ltd, an independent charitable Trust which owns the building, says: “There are dozens of Titanic museums across the world, but Titanic Belfast’s position at the head of the slipway where the ship was built, combined with new archive material and unrivalled technology, makes this a unique attraction.”
The attraction will also include Northern Ireland’s largest banqueting and conference facility, the 750-seat Astor Suite (pictured above), designed on a theme reminiscent of the grandeur of the Titanic. The glass fronted suite located on the building’s top floor will provide panoramic views across the City and Belfast Lough. Tickets are priced from £6.75 for children and £9.75 for adults. They’re selling fast for the historic month of April.
If you liked this post, read about the Halifax restaurant that is haunted by ghosts from the Titanic here.