Remembering the Titanic: An Afternoon at its Belfast Memorial

Karla Ramos explores the Belfast museum dedicated to the memory of the great ship.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of decades, you would already know the hype behind the movie Titanic. Most likely, you would have also watched the DiCaprio-Winslet blockbuster more than once!

Personally, the movie had been one of my most favorite movies while growing up. It became so popular in the Philippines and across the world, and its poignant scenes made a lot of people cry. But just as fascinating as the love between Jack and Rose was the story of the ship’s ill-fated maiden voyage, and it was one that I would get to explore many years later. As I was in Belfast, I explored a museum dedicated to the ship’s memory — a magnificent piece of architecture that was as amazing as the story it tells!

Let me share a few things I learned from this little trip to the facts behind the movie’s fiction.

Belfast is Titanic’s real home.

The Titanic Museum in Belfast had something none of the many other Titanic museums around the world has — the actual docks where the gargantuan ship was built.

To the Northern Irish of the time, building ships were their bread and butter. This was explored at the start of the museum tour. Titanic (and her twin sister Olympic) were the crowning jewels of their trade. As many as 10,000 men worked on building the Titanic, and special docks had to be built to accommodate the sheer size!

I loved how tourists were able to walk on the very spot where the ship once sat before she set off to history.

 

The Titanic is more glorious (and tragic) in person.

And I’m not just talking about the physical glory of the luxury liner, which is faithfully reproduced in the museum’s replica rooms. I’m talking about the intermingling of events that made the ship into the legend it is today.

The Museum had an interactive exhibit that showed everything from the lives of the workers who built the ship, all the way to the events that led to the sinking. Of course, there are real artifacts that were actually recovered and helped cement the mystique of this naval disaster.

 

The Titanic is built on stories.

In the Maiden Voyage section of the museum, one can read the actual testimonies of various people. There were accounts from survivors, notes from the lucky ones who missed the voyage, and even stories from the children who were orphaned by the events. There were also the transcripts of messages the Titanic sent as it sank.

Reading these was a surreal feeling, opening a whole new world of stories better than any movie could possibly envision. At a latter part of the tour, you can even hear the actual voices of the Titanic survivors!

Indeed the Titanic Museum offers an amazing wealth of information about the legendary vessel, so much that you can spend the whole day here and still not read all the information emblazoned across its walls! All that value for just EUR15.50.

At the end of the tour, you’ll surely walk away realizing just what a rich tapestry of tales the Titanic has left us. It’s not just the tragedy of its untimely demise, but also the fascinating inspiration it has stirred in our imaginations more than a hundred years hence.

 

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