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100 years on, The Titanic is bigger than ever in Belfast | Travel

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Category: Travel
Published on Tuesday, 10 April 2012 Written by Super User
Titanic House Vistor Centre in the Titanic Quarter, Belfast

Titanic House Vistor Centre in the Titanic Quarter, Belfast. Photograph: Peter Morrison/AP

Titanic Centre

Titanic Belfast (titanicbelfast.com, adults £13.50, children £6.75, families £34), housed in a new £97m building in the Titanic Quarter, tells the story of how the ship was built and launched in Belfast. The exhibition has nine interactive galleries – visitors can walk through the original Harland & Wolff shipyard gates, take a six-minute Shipyard Ride through different parts of the ship, with the sounds of riveting and smells of metal burning, and see replicas of the first-, second- and third-class cabins. There's also a glass floor with video footage of the Titanic on the seabed.

Next door, the Titanic Slipways, where the ship and her sister ship Olympic were built, have been landscaped with lights, grass and decking to show the outlines of the actual ships. A few minutes away is Titanic's Dock and Pump-House (titanicsdock.com, tickets from £5 adults, £3 children, £12 families), where you can peer down into the 880ft graving dock where Titanic sat for her final fit out. The best way to explore the Titanic Quarter is to take a tour – a two-hour walking tour includes access to the Dock and Pump-House and also to the Harland and Wolff drawing offices (0754 648 9874, titanicwalk.com, adults £12, children £5-£8, families £30). 

Meanwhile, at the Titanica exhibition at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Cultra, east of the city, you can also hear audio recordings of stories told by the survivors, and there is an exhibition of some original artefacts that were recovered from the ship, including a porthole and soup tureen (nmni.com.from £6.50 per adult and £4 per child, £13-£18.50 families).

The MAC

titanic scenes from the british wreck commissioners enquiry

On 22 April the MAC arts centre will open with a new play by Belfast-born playwright Owen McCafferty about the Titanic Inquiry. The script of the play, Titanic: Scenes From The British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry 1912, is based on survivors' testimony given at the inquiry in London. The hearing took 36 days and involved nearly 100 witnesses; this courtroom drama retells some of the human stories of bravery and frailty from the disaster. The Mac is in the buzzy St Anne's Square behind St Anne's Cathedral (see below).
• 10 Exchange Street West, St Anne's Square, themaclive.com. Tickets available from 22, 23 and 24 April from £9.50

Titanic themed pubs and restaurants

As well as official events, the city's pubs and restaurants have also jumped on the Titanic bandwagon – with varying degrees of, er, taste. The Merchant Hotel (028-9023 4888, themerchanthotel.com) has been transformed into a "ship", the RMS Merchant, for the month of April. The five-star hotel has nautical bunting and RMS Merchant flags and staff are dressed in nautical uniforms. Guests checking in for the Titanic Experience package will receive a boarding pass with their key card and can have a Gin and Titonic cocktail (oh, yes!) in the "A-Deck bar". There's also a nine-course tasting menu based on the flavours of 1912, including dishes such as cold asparagus truffle vinaigrette, poached oysters, champagne and orange sorbet, and turbot and lamb à la Francaise (£85 with recommended wines, £65 without).

Over at the five-star Culloden Hotel in Holywood, there's a special – wait for it – Sips Ahoy! Titanic Afternoon Tea similar to that served onboard to first-class passengers, with sandwiches, pastries, Harlequin biscuits and Titanic cupcakes (£22 per head, 028-9042 1066, hastingshotels.com). Also in Holywood, Rayanne House is offering a Titanic banquet of nine courses, with everything from champagne-laced asparagus to foie gras and truffle and cream of barley soup finished with Bushmills whiskey and cream (£69 per head, various dates, rayannehouse.com).

The Linen Hall Library

(FILE PHOTO) 100 Years Since The Sinking Of The RMS Titanic The Titanic leaving Belfast to start her trials, pulled by tugs. Photograph: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Founded in 1788, the Linen Hall, formerly a linen warehouse, is Belfast's oldest library. Entry is free and the cafe is currently running an exhibition of work by Belfast-born artist Terry Bradley, which features striking paintings of the faces of men who worked in the dockyards in Belfast and Dublin 100 years ago. The library also has a small exhibition of Titanic memorabilia and posters on show until 30 April.

On 19 April, Dr John Welshman, who wrote Titanic: The Last Night of a Small Town (published last month), will give a talk about the stories of passengers and crew who survived (including the second officer, a first-class governess and a mother in third class) and what happened to them in the years afterwards.
• 17 Donegall Square North, free, linenhall.com 

Land Of Giants at the Titanic Slipways

Rehearsals are under way for this outdoor summer event which will tell the story of the many giants of Belfast and Northern Ireland – from Finn McCool (the legendary warrior who built the Giant's Causeway) and Jonathan Swift's Gulliver (said to have been inspired by Cavehill which overlooks the city) to the Titanic and Olympic ships and the landmark Harland and Wolff shipyard cranes, also known as Samson and Goliath. The locations have been landscaped and lit to mirror the shape of the two ships that were built there, and a special stage made of shipping containers will be constructed. The audience will stand, divided between the two slipways, and at each end a crane will lift aerial performances into the air. During the 45-minute show, which starts at dusk, there will also be a specially commissioned animated film projected onto the Titanic Belfast building behind the slipways, as well as circus, music and pyrotechnics. 
• 30 June 2012, doors open 9.30pm, £10 adults, £6 concessions, £28 families, Titanic Slipways Saturday 30th June 2012. landofgiants.info; tickets from gotobelfast.com

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