By Ryan Gilbert
“The Irish built it, the English sank it”.
Belfast in the early 1900’s was much louder than it is today. The constant pounding of hammers and clanging of steel could be heard for miles surrounding the White Star shipyard where the most famous ship in history was being built. Men as young as 14 years of age worked 54 hours each week on the floating palace known as Titanic. The museum in Belfast celebrates their work, and remembers the lives lost on that night.
The winding floors of the museum tells a completely different side of the Titanic story than the classic “Jack and Rose” version many people have come to love. No the museum instead portrays the “Unsinkable Ship” as the pride of Belfast, employing hundreds of workers and showing off Irelands ability to accomplish anything. Every story, from the steel workers to the ships designer, is told equally to show that everyone’s effort was vital to completing the record breaking ship.
The second half of the museum had a very different feel entirely. While the first half showed the years of hard work it took to build the ship, the second half showed the mere hours it took to take it down. The dark halls were lined with pictures of both survivors, and the others who didn’t make it to New York that night. The last messages sent from the ship for help were on the walls, until suddenly they ended. Then there was just a video of the beautiful yellow lights of the ship disappearing into the cold Atlantic water.
The Titanic was a treasure of the world. Belfast still celebrates the people who built it and the people who sailed it, but they also honor the people who lost their lives on it. As long as the beautiful building still lasts on the shore of the Belfast dockyards, so will the history of the mighty Titanic.