How do you mark and memorialize the site of a tragedy that technically sits more than two and a half miles under water?
The tragedy of the Titanic sent pangs of shock and grief through citizens all over the world. Comparable tragedies all have an intensely personal memorial site where people can visit hallowed ground and commune with their emotions about the event - Ground Zero in New York City, Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland, and Hiroshima Park in Japan - but the site of the Titanic is unreachable by the vast majority of humanity.
The organizers of the Titanic Belfast museum in Northern Ireland believe that they have the best possible solution. An elaborate building and museum built next to the slipways where Titanic was built showcases the Titanic story from her early beginnings to her tragic end.
Poignant and moving, standing at the site of the joyous send-off of a doomed ship is an affecting way to pay respect to the tragedy. Looking to the sea on a sunny day, one can imagine the emotions evoked among the engineers and workers who toiled for months to construct her, as they watched famous ship shrink into the horizon, wondering when they might, if ever, see it again.
Anyone with an interest in maritime history or the Titanic story should visit this incredibly special part of Belfast; Queen’s Island has a lot to offer other than the slipways and museum.
The slipways themselves outside of the museum are open to the public without charge, so you can walk in the outline of the great ship and marvel at the memorials in the area without paying a penny.
Know Before You Go
There are a number of activities on offer around the Queen's Island besides the Slipways and the Museum. Not to be missed is the SS Nomadic, (Titanic's Tender ship), and the Thompson Dry Dock and Pump House where Titanic was outfitted. If visiting the Titanic Belfast Exhibition, it is recommended to book tickets online in high season, and move through the self-service ticketing stations to save time getting into the galleries. Early morning visits mean the galleries are less crowded and easier to traverse. Getting to the Titanic Quarter is easy, as following the River Lagan out towards past the Odyssey Pavillion is a 15 minute walk from the city centre. The huge, pointed silver building is prominent on the skyline, as are the Harland and Wolff cranes which share the island. The train stop of Titanic Quarter is a short distance from the building and Slipways, and is accessible from the Central or Grand Victoria stations in Belfast via the Portadown/Bangor train route.