In 1912, RMS Titanic sailed out of Belfast Lough to embark on her maiden voyage. Only in Belfast can you trace the Titanic story to its source, discover the passion and pride of those who designed and built her and relive the excitement of the Titanic era when the city was at the height of its powers.
In the early 1900s Belfast led the world in rope making and the production of linen and tobacco. It was also home to the world’s greatest shipbuilders Harland & Wolff, which, with a workforce of 15,000 were central to bustling daily life in the city. In 1907, Harland & Wolff’s charismatic chairman Lord Pirrie revealed his dream; to build the largest and most luxurious ships the world had ever seen for shipping giant White Star Line’s trans-Atlantic route. From dawn to dusk, six days a week, his workforce laboured in their thousands.
Imagine the sight they beheld this wonder took shape before them. At 882 feet and six inches in length, it was longer than the height of the world’s tallest building. And weighing 46,328 tonnes, Titanic was to be the largest manmade moveable object the world had seen. This floating palace was the first ship with steam baths, a heated swimming pool, electric escalators and hot and cold water in every cabin. It also had a state-of-the-art gym, squash courts and a lounge and ballrooms inspired by Versailles. On 2 April 1912 over 100,000 people lined Belfast Dock to cheer her off.
At 11.40pm on Sunday 14 April, while steaming south of Newfoundland, Canada at a speed of 20 knots, Titanic struck a huge iceberg, fatally wounding its hull. The berg scraped along the starboard or right side of the hull below the waterline, slicing open the hull between five of the adjacent watertight compartments. If only one or two of the compartments had been opened, Titanic might have stayed afloat, but when so many were sliced open, the watertight integrity of the entire forward section of the hull was fatally breached.
Less than three hours later from hitting the iceberg, the survivors watched helplessly from lonely lifeboats as the last of the great liner slipped beneath the waves. Within hours they would be rescued by RMS Carpathia and taken onwards to New York. But they left behind over 1500 crew and passengers, who had perished beneath the waves. The world mourned but nowhere was the grief more keenly felt than in Belfast. Of the 2,240 passengers and crew on board, more than 1,500 lost their lives in the disaster.
On 1 September 1985, her wreck was finally discovered by Dr Robert Ballard and his team. They confirmed that the brilliant designers and workers who gave their labour, energy and, in some cases, even their lives to the building of Titanic were not to blame. The cause of the sinking lay elsewhere. Titanic’s demise was a collision with an iceberg that caused the ocean liner to sink on April 14–15, 1912.
Today, the incomparable aura of Titanic and her story continues to captivate the imagination of people of all ages. But, while there are hundreds of Titanic exhibitions and museums around the world, only in Belfast can you trace her remarkable story in the city of her birth.
Discover the Titanic Story
Delve into the legacy of Titanic in the very shipyard where she was built. From Titanic Belfast’s award-winning visitor experience to the slipways where she stood before launch, experience the story of the world’s most famous ship.
Titanic Belfast is the world's largest Titanic visitor experience and a must-see on any visit to Belfast and Northern Ireland.
The Discovery Tour at Titanic Belfast
The Discovery Tour is a one hour walking tour including a walk around the Titanic Slipways and inside the Titanic Belfast building.
Behind Titanic Belfast you can walk along the historic slipways where Titanic and Olympic were built and launched over 100 years ago.
The free, self-guided Titanic Trail is available to download on your mobile device.
Titanic Memorial Garden
The Titanic Memorial Garden commemorates the 1,512 people who perished on RMS Titanic in 1912.
RMS Titanic's tender ship and the last remaining White Star Line vessel has been restored to her original glory.
Since opening in 2012, Titanic Belfast has welcomed more than six million visitors from over 145 countries. Titanic Belfast is the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience and a must-see on any visit to Belfast and Northern Ireland. Take a look at Titanic Belfast’s latest events and offers.