Tales from Titanic Cities: Titanic Belfast & Liverpool

Original Image: Eric Constantineau

Tales of Titanic Belfast & Liverpool

After our last excursion exploring Legoland and the world of Harry Potter I was tickled by this Lego Titanic scene.  Of course it’s topical right now, exactly 100 years after the luxury liner launched and sank. And being a bandwagon sort of family, of course we’re jumping on it. Well obviously not on IT. But we are off for a post Easter week of Titanic related (hopefully iceberg free) action. 

Next week we’re emigrating to Ireland (but only for a week) to see where the doomed ship was built to review the brand new Titanic Belfast Visitor attraction and to get a family take on what it must have been like to face the unthinkable in something ‘unsinkable’. And of course we’re going by sea.

Pass a tissue someone

There’s only one place you can begin a Titanic journey. In your local Vue cinema, with 3D specs on, eating  chocolate bunny, watching Kate fall for Leo all over again and reaching for that tissue in your pocket. So we’re off to the movies on Easter Sunday to show the kids the Hollywood version of this famous story.

When the tears are dry we’ll be heading to Liverpool, to explore the city’s connections with the liner at a new exhibition at the Merseyside Maritime Museum before Stena Line take us across the Irish Sea to Belfast, the place Titanic was built.

We’re  visiting both these cities on our mission to learn a little more of the Titanic story and figure out just why it has such a hold on our collective imaginations. It seems particularly relevant given the recent Costa Concordia disaster and as a travelling family the story grips me given how often we travel by ferry and my ambitions to retire on a cruise ship.

If you’re like me you probably never give a second thought to the seaworthiness of ships and ferries. Perhaps that’s just human nature – to assume invincibility and avoid facing the reality of how vulnerable we are to fate, fortune or metaphorical icebergs. And I think that’s what I want to explore.

But the Titanic story is about many things. It’s about class, family, technology, politics, economics and humanity. And icebergs. Which makes for a rich curriculum for the week.

While the story is familiar to me, for the kids it’s all new and they have many questions.

“How long did it take to sink? How far down is it? Can you dive to it? What happens when your lungs fill with water – do they explode?”

And as members of the male sex, Matthew and Cameron have a particular beef to express, “How come it was just the women and children that got to go in the lifeboats? That’s SO not fair!”

The world’s biggest Titanic experience

Image: Titanic Belfast

The focal point of the trip is a visit to the brand new multi million pound Titanic Belfast visitor attraction. We’ll enter the world of the Harland and Wolff engineers and shipworkers, and feel what it was like to be starting a new life with all the hopes and dreams that entails, and to face the possibility of it ending prematurely. The kids are looking forward to the shipyard ride in the dark, and a chance to see the slipways where the mighty ship once rested.

But it’s not all about Titanic, we’re going be exploring Belfast. We’ll visit the rapidly developing Titanic Quarter and explore the city by boat, bus and on a Belfast City Bike Tour.

A first class festival

We plan to catch some of the highlights of the Titanic Belfast Festival including two brand new and quite unusual plays. Titans is a promenade show, performed around the docks, a walk through Irish myth, history and maritime events, encountering ghosts, lost souls, heaven and hell, and absorbing ourselves in the triumph and tragedy of the ill-fated ship.

Then The Wireless Room is audio theatre, hearing the Titanic story unfold through the radio signals that went out that night from Titanic, from other ships in the area, and those back on land. Through the original wireless messages mixed with a live band the On The Air theatre company shows in a unique way the bravery of the radio operators on a night the world will never forget.

High teas for high seas

We’ll be staying at the Malone Lodge Apartments, checking out the local cafes, bars and Guinness to toast the anniversary of the ship. Join us throughout the week to see how the mighty ship went down, and explore 100 years of seafaring history in our family Titanic Tour.

RMS Titanic

RMS Titanic. Image: Missouri Division of Tourism

Know anything good to do in Belfast? We’d love to hear your ideas. 

This post is part of our Tales of Titanic Cities Tour.

We’ visited Liverpool and Belfast to find out more about how the two cities are connected to Titanic, joined in the Titanic Festival and tried to  figure out what the story of the Titanic has to teach us one hundred years on.

Read these other posts from our Titanic Season.

 

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Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of the project, the misadventure magnet part of the partnership and a busy mum.

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