The Titanic was built at the port in Belfast at the beginning of the 1900’s by Harland and Wolff, at the Arrol Gantry. Today, a museum dedicated to the Titanic is located at that site.
Opened in 2012, it is a beautiful building that represents the size of the Titanic and how it looked from the city at the turn of the previous century. Inside, multiple floors take you through the construction of the Titanic. They have tons of interactive displays that show you every phase of building such a large ocean liner.
As you go up through the building of the ship, you also go up to the top floor of the museum. There you find a cable car ride that takes you through a day in the life of building the Titanic. We booked our arrival time for the worst time of the day, 10:30 am, and it was packed full of tour groups and cruise ship passengers. We opted to skip the ride rather than wait in the almost hour-long line.
Pro tip: book the first entry time of the day to avoid the crowds
The next area shows you examples of rooms from the Titanic, with holograms of people within, showing you what it would be like to be a passenger.
The last area represents the time from hitting the iceberg to getting the survivors to NYC. The final SOS messages sent by the ship are on display, and reading them was so emotional. I could imagine the fear, the urgency, felt by the crew, as I stood there, crying. Only Pearl Harbor and 9/11 memorial have invoked such deep despair. As you keep moving through, you see artifacts from people who didn’t survive, while hearing stories overhead read by actual survivors. I obviously expected it to be sad, but holy shit, it was devastating.
They also showed all the things that went wrong to result in hitting an iceberg when there was no one around to help, and how maritime law has changed since.
At the end, you see the process of oceanographer Robert Ballard finding the wreckage, and a video of the celebratory then immediately somber moment when they found it.
The museum ends with a list of the names of who survived, and lives who were lost.
The Titanic Museum is a must-do in Belfast. If you’re fascinated by the Titanic, it needs to be at the top of your bucket list.
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