Have you heard the Buzz about Belfast? There is a renewed swagger in the walk and talk emanating from Northern Ireland’s capital city. Travel experts pick Belfast as one of the “Top” vacation destinations in the world and boast of Belfast’s offerings. On the tip of everyone’s tongue is the grand opening of Titanic Belfast, a ‘must do’ interactive visitor experience that has opened its’ door just in time for the 100th anniversary of the birth of the world’s most famous ship. Travel journalist Paul Clements extolled, “The New York editor of Fodor’s Ireland 2012 believes the Belfast commemorations of the centenary of the Titanic will be the biggest tourism story in the world in 2012..,” National Geographic Traveler Magazine agreed and added that Belfast is “a capital city of Titanic ambition that is redefining itself in the eyes of the world.”
Located beside the very place where Titanic was designed, built and launched in 1912, the Titanic Belfast is an iconic six-floor building covered brilliantly in 3,000 individual aluminum panels. The RMS Titanic, the biggest and most luxurious ship of it’s time, must have been viewed with the same magnificence as it stood there one hundred years ago.
Just as the Titanic was an amazing achievement in its’ day, Titanic Belfast was designed and built with innovation and breath-taking technology to bring Titanic’s story alive. Nine interactive galleries focus on a unique part of the Titanic story, offering factual information brought to life through scale replicas, multimedia displays, computer interactives, moving images, soundscapes, artifacts and records. Visitors will explore by foot and by rides the interactive galleries, exhibits and amenities, all the while engaged in the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Titanic and the people who made her in 20th Century, Belfast.
One of the highlights of the visitor experience is the Shipyard Ride that uses special effects, animations and full-scale reconstructions to recreate the reality of shipbuilding in the early 1900s. The ride allows you to gain an insight into the scale of the construction, the amount of men, materials and hours required. As you exit the Shipyard Ride, you’ll be faced with an impressive sight: a large window looking straight down the actual slipways on which the Titanic once rested. The window is fitted with state-of-the-art glass containing electrodes that switch from the normal view to a superimposed image of the Titanic on the slipways. This extraordinary recreation offers a unique vision of how the ship would have appeared sitting on the slipway and gives you an intense and authentic perspective that is unique to Titanic Belfast.
As your interactive journey continues through the galleries you will learn about the skill and craftsmanship that went into the completion of Titanic, from the fitting of the enormous boilers and engines to the fine joinery and upholstery work. You can experience the reality of the ship’s interiors through the magic of a 3D cave that allows visitors to ‘walk’ the corridors of the ship. Onward through time, the galleries allow you to experience life on board and learn about Titanic’s maiden voyage, her tragic sinking, the many stories of human endeavor and myths and legends surrounding that fateful night in 1912.
In 1985, a team led by American oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard and French diving engineer Jean-Louis Michel made the incredible discovery of Titanic’s final resting place, nearly two and a half miles below sea level. A multi-level gallery, ‘Titanic Beneath’ will give you special access to Dr. Ballard’s high-definition footage from the wreckage. Additionally, interactive learning pods are available to explore the details of his discovery. In the “Ocean Exploration Centre” section of the gallery you will find footage and live links from Ballard’s ongoing exploration of our seas and oceans shown alongside more local endeavors, as Irish universities explore the marine environment around Ireland. Dr Robert Ballard, offered his enthusiasm and support for Titanic Belfast:
“Titanic belongs to Belfast. I’m very pleased that the city which gave Titanic to the world will now be able to welcome the world to Titanic Belfast. Titanic’s story is infused with romance, pathos and glory, and there’s no better place to tell it than Belfast. It’s a real thrill to be standing in the very spot where she was designed, built and fitted out. It’s also a great thrill to see the amazing new Titanic Belfast visitor attraction…”
Titanic Belfast is just one of a smorgasbord of activities planed for you by Northern Ireland 2012. Go to discoverireland.com/ni2012 for concerts, special events and happenings from Belfast to Londonderry. Northern Ireland 2012 is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation you won’t want to miss!