April 1, 2002
Belfast is nuts about Titanic. The Northern Ireland capital, which more commonly garners headlines about its internal wars between Catholics and Protestants, is holding a celebration this week that commemorates the 90th anniversary of the “unsinkable” ship’s maiden voyage, which was built at a Belfast shipyard. Titanic departed on that first -- and only -- cruise on April 2, 1912. Throughout the week of “Titanic: Made in Belfast” festivities, actors trained in telling stories of the ship will wander around the downtown city hall area, sharing anecdotes with tourists and passers-by. City Hall itself features a museum-style exhibition. Special boat tours are providing enthusiasts with an up-close-and-personal look at the actual dock where the ship was build. There will be a gala ball -- period style, attendees will dress in the Edwardian fashions of the Titanic era. And a memorial plaque will be hung at the Belfast house of Thomas Andrews, the ship’s designer, who was among the 1,500-passengers who died when the ship hit that iceberg. Speaking of icebergs, perhaps Belfast is going a step too far in its embrace of all things Titanic. The city is trying to find a way to tow an actual iceberg into Belfast Lough.