Visit to Belfast Titanic Quarter : The Legendary Ship

08 Aug. Had a great day visiting Titanic Quarter. It is the birthplace of the legendary Titanic ship, which sank on 15 April 1912, sinking with it 1500 passengers. That’s besides the 917 people who survived! The photograph below is the Titanic Quarter – exhibition centre, the huge tourist attraction. There must have been at least 500 people at a particular time, I entered! (The Centre gives slots to a limited number of people, every 20 minutes)

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The emblem outside the Centre – those who have watched the film Titanic, would remember the significance!

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More than the exhibition itself, the mercantile is a huge draw at the centre! I could not buy anything, too costly for my pockets! But remembered all my friends at one stretch!

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Anglo-Irish enmity through the posters can be found in many museums, walls and in public spaces. Probably Indians can better appreciate this colonial experience of Ireland. Though it was more along the religious (denominational) line, the ulterior motive was definitely political. Some Irish say, Ireland was a ‘colonial laboratory’ for England to test their agenda in India, a much great stake!

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Photograph above speaks for itself: the Titanic Store! Here every service, every goods, every material is named after Titanic, whereas many are in the shape of that doomed ship.

Below is the skeleton of the Titanic ship, made out of sticks, the miniature is kept on the ground floor:

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This is a show piece of the base of the ship, on the second or third floor; but is not the actual base plate that sank with the ship!

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The pictures above say too that too clearly!

The Shipyard Ride is a unique experience of going through the flying saucers up-and-down the shipyard, as the thousands of workers keep building the ship! Re-enacted on film and exhibition at various levels. Physically something like our torra-torra or giant-wheel, but keeps moving very flexibly, as if you are travelling from one floor to another, from one room to another inspecting the giant ship construction! Your saucers -containing 8-10 people each- are carried by giant-steel-galvanised wires, and computer-controlled  movement, audio commentary accompanying you all the time, sometimes in the dark, other times in light, constantly on the move; the experience lasts for about 10 minutes? More or less.

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Can you see the second image above – a group of tourists being carried by those cosy trolly. The  movement of both the camera person and subjects has caused a good shake of the image!

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These (both above and below) are giant-size photographs of the actual ship under construction by Harland and Wollf for White Star Line

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The register of the ships made by the W & H company. Second page entry no. 400 says Olympic was launched on 20 October 1910, whereas entry no. 401 records “Titanic” launched on 31 May 1911, both for White Star Line.

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Titanic had three classes of passengers: First class which matched any five-star luxury hotel today (with two specially decorated pianos!), second class (obviously second! a piano, for sure), and a third class for simpler folk! The photo below shows a third class toilet on the Titanic!

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This is the man responsible for the final photographs of the ship and its passengers, before it crashed: a Jesuit scholastic, nephew of a cardinal in London, who gave his nephew Frank Browne a ticket to Belfast, to travel by Titanic on its maiden journey. Frank Browne was a photographer -once again, thanks to his uncle’s gift of camera- endeared himself to passengers, so much so, one of them offered a ticket to him a New York ticket from Belfast. When the Scholastic asked his Provincial superior for permission to travel, his superior said, ‘Get off that ship!’ Obedience! Frank Browne got off the ship, and not only was saved, but also created history and records for the unfortunate victims of the iceberg!

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The sinking ship! Though there was another American ship in the close vicinity,  and Titanic sent distress signals, the American ship did not care to come to the rescue of Titanic! (the picture below is a captured image of an animation)

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This is another brilliant part of the exhibition – towards the end of my three-hour Titanic “tour”. Finally you come to a theater to watch a little film on the post-disaster. And then go down to the “ground” level. There is a beautifully designed animation; not computer animation, but created out of actual photographs – some 700 real photographs of the recovery of the Titanic debris. Efforts to recover the ship and its parts. The titanic parts keep moving back and forth begging our sympathy. You see marine life at the bottom of the ocean. The various parts of the ship, etc!

We see the “ocean bed” through some thick, hard glasses/fiber, on which scores of tourists keep moving, and a guide stands to explain, even as we keep watching the debris, being completely mesmerised!

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The pictures below are the dockyard in front of the Titanic Quarter – where you see today’s ships and boats moving in the Atlantic.

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The security personnel sailing on mechanised boats:

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From the sea-shore:

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There is an international triathlon for police taking place in Belfast these days:

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The  writing on the wall! Only if you can read it!

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SS Nomadic, another ship on the dry-dock and Pump House:

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-> It’s in the dock

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