Published Monday, 16 April 2012
I am a self-confessed Titanorak. I grew up with stories about the ship. I can still remember the name of the primary school teacher who first told us about Titanic. His name was Jack McClure...
Marking the centenary has been a labour of love for me. I have always been proud of Titanic. Belfast was the master shipbuilder to the world.
Not only had Harland & Wolff produced a piece of engineering excellence, it was also a work of art. The craftsmen of the shipyard were real artists.
But, we remember Titanic because of what happened on her maiden voyage. It was a real tragedy and hindsight allows us to look at what happened from the perspective of so much accumulated knowledge.
We must not judge the wisdom of the time too harshly!
Did Harland & Wolff say Titanic was "unsinkable"? I do find that hard to believe!
Would the world famous shipyard, with such experience, really tempt fate? I suspect the God fearing employers would have thought long and hard before making any such claim.
Titanic was "state of the art" in her day. She was the largest and most luxurious vessel afloat.
Others may have viewed her as unsinkable. But, anything made of metal will sink.
The sinking of Titanic has resulted in so many changes to sea travel - not least the imperative to carry enough lifeboats for every passenger.
So, I view Titanic with a mixture of pride and sadness. The centenary has been a time to celebrate, and commemorate.
And, how did I spend the night of April 14th 2012? I went to the cinema, to see James Cameron's "Titanic" in 3D. It is a poor second to William MacQuitty's "A Night to Remember."
As I watched "Titanic" I could hear people around me crying, but not for Jack and Rose. The enormity of the tragedy which was unfolding on screen was not lost on any of us that night.
I went home, and could not sleep. Between 11.40pm on April 14th and 2.20am on April 15th I remained awake, and on Twitter.
I was unable to let go of the thought of the lives which were ebbing away in the North Atlantic, a hundred years ago.