23.05.2012 - 23.05.2012 70 °F
May 23rd, 2012
It's time for history class. Do you know where the famous Titanic was conceived and built? Yes you guessed it, Belfast, Northern Ireland! I think somewhere in the recess of our minds, Nicole and I both knew this, but when we saw the brochure we were both surprised. I learned that Nicole has a passion for the history of the Titanic, and no, not just the movie. We had grabbed a brochure for the Titanic exhibit two days ago and were both excited to head out there today. We had to catch the bus from our B&B to the city center, and then walked out 15 minutes to the Titanic Quarter.
The building itself is like this huge prismatic four sided spike, all shiny and silver. We went in and purchased our tickets. The first room we walked in to was slam packed full of information and history. This center must have been completed very recently because it was very modern and high tech. There are several touch screen panels in most of the exhibit rooms that give you a lot of concise interactive content. We learned the history of Belfast. How it started to grow as they were able to produce linen and ship it worldwide. Belfast linen was a huge industry for the area. Also, ship building was huge employer. The company that built the Titanic employed 65,000 people at one time. The working conditions to build the Titanic, as well as the linen work was terrible. People would die in accidents at the ship yard, or get tuberculosis from the dust when separating the flax. On the Titanic, they showed how rivets were put in. It was done by a crew of five. Three on one side and two on the other. The heat boy would heat the rivet and toss it to the catch boy, who would insert it in the pre punched hole. Then a man would hold that end of the rivet with a tool while two others pounded on it from the other side. The best crews had a left and right handed man to pound more effectively. The Titanic had over 3 million rivets! Something I didn't know, is that another ship was built right alongside the Titanic at the same time. It was the Olympic. These ships were sister ships. The Olympic actually had a long life, serving in WWI as a medical ship and was scrapped eventually. The Titanic however... The exhibit had all sorts of facts telling about the all the ships that were built in the area, how the canal was widened for growth, how the ships were built, how the Titanic took a year to be outfitted with all its luxury, and a ton more. It was a very very interesting exhibit. It would recommend it as a must see if you are in Belfast.
Nicole and I have really enjoyed the time that we spend window shopping and walking around new cities. Belfast is extremely modern. It actually bothers me how modern it is. I know that is horribly narrow sighted of me to wish cultures to stay in the past, but it's what I love so much about Ireland. I have decided to call Northern Ireland, not real Ireland. We shopped around a bit and had some lunch. From here, not finding anything we wanted to buy, we headed back home for a little nap. We decided that we would see what the not real Ireland had to offer in the way for night life and headed out, after a grocery dinner, to down town Belfast. Talk about a ghost town! Are you kidding me! It's 9pm and the streets of Belfast are empty! This would never happen in real Ireland to the south. We couldn't believe it. We had planned to catch some music in a pub, but all the pubs we found were closed. What kind of place is this? Not real Ireland, that's what. We decided to head back. Down a street my ear caught the sound of a fiddle. Music! We walked into the pub and ordered some cider to sit an enjoy actual music! However, over the course of the next 2 hours, the band played only 3 more songs taking really long breaks. Not real Ireland. We left to catch our bus. Unfortunately, the busses were done at 11:30. Fabulous. Even better, I forgot my phone, so we didn't know exactly where we were. We decided to start walking. My memory of the area was good and we were in the right direction soon enough with a 45 minute walk ahead of us. The bad news? A pint of liquid can hit you hard and fast. Poor Nicole thought she was going to die. I think by the time we made it home, Nicole was 5 minutes from a containment breach! I tried distracting her the whole walk home, but I don't think it helped. That was probably the longest walk of her life!