Belfast marks weekend Titanic sank

Published Saturday, 14 April 2012
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As events to mark the centenary of the Titanic's sinking get underway, the man who discovered its final resting place says the eyes of the world will be on Belfast this weekend as those who died are remembered.

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American oceanographer Robert Ballard was part of the team that found the wreckage of the famous steamship in the Atlantic Ocean in 1985.

He spoke to UTV at the new Titanic Belfast building, ahead of a delivering a memorial lecture in the city on Saturday evening.

"This is an ongoing tribute to what was done here and I'm glad Belfast is embracing it because they should," Mr Ballard said.

This isn't just happening in Northern Ireland, the world knows about this place and it is because of the human story.

Robert Ballard

"Yes it is an amazing piece of machinery but what I have always found captivating is the story...

"Titanic didn't sink right away. It was a beautiful night, the sky was clear, the sea was calm, the band was playing and the deck of the Titanic became a morality play.

"I think everyone is fascinated by all the different things that took place in that three hours and everyone wonders what they would do."

RMS Titanic hit an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean at 11.40pm on 14 April 1912 during her maiden voyage and began to sink, before disappearing underwater at 2.20am on 15 April.

Events on Saturday evening to mark the centenary include a Requiem for the Lost Souls at St Anne's Cathedral and a commemoration in music and film at the Waterfront Hall, featuring well-known performers including singer Katie Melua.

Meanwhile the new Titanic Memorial Garden on the east side of City Hall has been completed ahead of its opening on Sunday morning.

The names of more than 1,500 victims of the tragedy are engraved on five bronze plaques on a plinth nine metres wide - making it the first monument to record all those who died.

Many existing memorials have failed to include the Titanic crew or musicians. On this one there is no distinction between first-class passengers and others, with names in alphabetical order.

The garden will be unveiled after a commemorative service takes place to mark the time the Belfast-built liner sank.

Landscape architect Joy Hutchinson said: "We've gone for a colour scheme built around blue, white, silver and green, reflecting water and ice.

"It is to try to encourage a sense of peace and contemplation."

The garden will be opened to the public after the service takes place.

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7 Comments
Iseult in NI wrote (738 days ago):
It was hitting an iceberg that sank the Titanic, and that wasn't the fault of the ship. Also it was never officially declared unsinkable - even today no one could claim a ship to be completely unsinkable. Nature can often have the upper hand, as we see in many parts of the world where weather patterns cause unmanageable havoc both on land and at sea. The really sad thing about the Titanic was that many more, maybe even all, of those on board would have been saved if she'd been carrying enough lifeboats. A change in the law to ensure sufficient lifeboats for everyone on board a ship, plus other recommendations about such things as ships' radios and speed, meant that lessons were learnt from the tragedy, lessons that have contributed to safety at sea for others.
Brian in Belfast wrote (738 days ago):
I am sick of hearing about this piece of scrap at the bottom of the sea. Building an "unsinkable" ship that sank is nothing to be proud of. I sat in a bar last night watching the Martin Rogan fight and even the commentators were saying "Titanic this" and "Titanic that" The fight had nothing to do with the Titanic.
George in Traveling wrote (739 days ago):
The carry on about this boat and it being the greatest of all time is getting a bit to much at the end of the day it sank,what's great about that any fool can build a boat that sinks. Time to get over it and maybe build one that sails.
Andrew Kennedy in Saskatoon,SK Canada originally from Antrim Northern Ireland wrote (739 days ago):
Well said jimmy mac, my great great granda helped build her i heard that after the anniversary the wreck of the Titanic is to come under the protection of the United Nations cultural agency Unesco
andrew in Saskatoon,SK Canada originally from Antrim Northern Ireland wrote (739 days ago):
Well said jimmy mac, my great great granda helped build her i heard that after the anniversary the wreck of the Titanic is to come under the protection of the United Nations cultural agency Unesco
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