We´re doing a little time- & place jump – it was August, I needed a break from the heat in Vienna and went back up north – but this time to Northern Ireland and started in Belfast. Even so, I´ve been to Ireland several times, I´ve never been in the North.
By now you might have noticed if there is a boat tour I´m gonna find and do it. (Sometimes even twice a day)
The Titantic Boat Tour started near the Albert Memorial Clock and the Big Fish – a lovely old fisher boat waited for us on the River Lagan.
Accompanied by the commentary of the captain we made our way to the Titanic Quarter. A fairly new built and reactivated area, with apartment buildings and shops, but also huge film studios, the Titanic Experience (museum), regeneration on the waterfront, entertainment and historic maritime landmarks.
The SS Nomadic and the Titanic Experience on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard, where the RMS Titanic was built. In the historic Hamilton Dock the last remaining White Star Line ship in the world: The SS Nomadic was launched in April 1911 and was built to transfer passengers and mail to and from RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic.
The Titanic Experience (seen from the other side), located on the Queen´s Island at the entrance to Belfast Lough, is a visitor centre and a monument to Belfast´s maritime heritage.
The building’s design is intended to reflect Belfast’s history of shipmaking and the industrial legacy bequeathed by Harland & Wolff. Its angular form recalls the shape of ships’ prows, with its main “prow” angled down the middle of the Titanic and Olympic slipways towards the River Lagan. Alternatively, it has been suggested that the building looks like an iceberg, and locals have already nicknamed it “The Iceberg”. Most of the building’s façade is clad in 3,000 individual silver anodised aluminium shards. It stands 126 feet (38 m) high, the same height as Titanic‘s hull. (Titanic Belfast)
The poles represent the massive steel gantry in which Titanic and Olympic were built and light bands show the outlines of the ships.
Right next to the Titanic Experience are the huge Titanic Studios were at the moment “Game of Thrones” is filmed. Drones above the area are forbidden and all the fences around the studio area are opaque. An armada of caravans was parked on the side of the studios….
The HMS Caroline served from 1914 until her decommissioning in 2011 as the second oldest ship in the Royal Navy. Now she is Belfast newest visitor attraction and anchors in the Alexandra Graving Dock. “…a graving dock refers to an enclosed basin into which a ship is taken for underwater cleaning or repair” (Titanic Belfast).
In the mid 1870ies, the docks became too small for increased sizes and numbers of ships and a new one was commissioned on the northeastern edge of Queen´s Island.
Seals seem to like Musgrave Channel – here lives Belfast’s large breeding seal colony – around 40 were counted in 2016. This was also the point when our boat turned around and made its way back through the harbour.
And we were back on the River Lagan and at Donegall Quay – the Albert Memorial Clock on the left and the Big Fish in the middle.