Dad’s hometown gets media attention

As the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking takes place this month, I want to dedicate some blog posts in April to the Titanic’s history. As I’ve mentioned before, dad was a Titanic fanatic, on the same level as he was obsessed with the Kennedy family. He used to relay stories about the Titanic to us at the dinner table, and his knowledge of the ship’s fascinating and tragic history was impressive.

The Titanic leaves Southampton, England on her maiden voyage to New York City, April 10, 1912. File photo.

Dad had good reason to be interested in the Titanic. The ship was built in his hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland. The city has opened their own homage to the ship, called Titanic Belfast. Shipbuilding was one of Belfast’s major industries at the time the Titanic was built. The famous shipbuilding company Harland and Wolff built the Titanic, beginning in 1909. The company is still in existence today, with a new focus on renewable energy. The ship was considered a technological marvel at the time and was designed to be the most luxurious ocean liner in the world.

Of course we all know what happened ultimately to the Titanic. The legacy of the Titanic in Belfast is met with mixed emotions. The shipbuilders felt shame at the massive disaster their ship endured, though many place most of the blame on the ship’s captain for not doing more to avoid the icebergs. But the people of Belfast are a proud lot, and they also reflect with pride on their ancestor’s contributions to a piece of history recognized around the world. I believe the latter is what my Dad felt as he immersed himself in Titanic history and lore.

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