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Behind the Scenes of Titanic - Travel Blog from CIE Tours

Behind the Scenes of Titanic

CIE TOURS - July 23, 2018

Behind The Scenes of Titanic

You may think you know the story of the award-winning 1997 film, but did you know that Belfast, Ireland, is where the mighty ship was built? Read on to get a glimpse at the Titanic Belfast museum and discover more of the history behind the world-famous doomed transatlantic ocean liner.

About one hundred years ago, the sound coming from Belfast’s Harland and Wolff Shipyard would’ve been the continuous clanging of workers hammering away to create the biggest ship of its time: the RMS Titanic. Today, the area along the Victoria Channel is relatively quiet, but Belfast certainly has not forgotten where one of the world’s most famous ships was born. In 2012, the Titanic Belfast Museum opened, and we had the opportunity to visit during our Wild Atlantic Way journey.

 

The Titanic Belfast Museum stands out with its shiny silver façade.
The Titanic Belfast Museum stands out with its shiny silver façade.

Built to be the same height as the Titanic, the building itself is just as impressive as the information inside it. Behind the museum are the dockyards where the ship was actually built. Posts mark where Titanic sat while being built.

Posts mark the place in the shipyard where Titanic would have sat while being built

Inside, there were three exhibitions that detailed the background information on life in Belfast at the turn of the century and the prominence of shipbuilding there, the shipbuilding process itself and finally, the sinking of Titanic and the aftermath. This museum layout teaches visitors that Titanic was more than just a sad story. It’s also part of the larger stories of Belfast, immigration and industrialization.

 

[caption id="attachment_12900" align="aligncenter" width="469"]The museum gives extensive details about everything that went into the building of the ship. The museum gives extensive details about everything that went into the building of the ship.

The museum emphasized the grueling manual labor that went into building Titanic which I (and I’m sure many others) might forget because of our reliance on machines today. Photographs of builders hard at work humanized the hundreds of workers, even if we don’t know their names or stories. The men who built Titanic often worked from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and eight workers even died while building it. Not only was the building of Titanic a feat of engineering, but also of human perseverance.

First-class rooms were nicer than many hotels at the time.
First-class rooms were nicer than many hotels at the time.

Like you, I think of the 1997 film when I hear the word “Titanic.” There is much more to the story. What stood out most to me at the museum was how closely Titanic’s real interior was recreated. I couldn’t believe how similar they looked! I felt like I already knew my way around the ship during the virtual tour at the museum. See below – it’s just one of the many films about the disaster.

 

 

A timeline display of movies made about Titanic over the years.
A timeline display of movies made about Titanic over the years.

Titanic movies started being made the same year it sank. The first one, called “Saved from the Titanic” starred Dorothy Gibson, an American actress who had actually survived the sinking. Since 1912, many movies have been made about Titanic. Sadly, tragedy makes a great story.

Although the story of Jack and Rose from the 1997 is fictional, there could have been people with similar stories. The museum highlights stories of some of the 2,200 passengers and crew on board. It also includes an electronic database of all passengers and crew. The database contains their name, age, nationality, occupation and whether or not they survived. We may never know all of their stories. The museum serves as memorial for them and honors Belfast’s rich history of shipbuilding.

By Caroline Bartholomew

Caroline was one of our 2018 Social Media Concierges. 

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