Thursday, June 18, 2015

Day 11: "We trust you will have an enjoyable trip..."

 After having a rather restless night in the Generator Hostel, we made the 2 hour long journey to the Titanic experience in Belfast, Ireland. The Titanic experience we visited is the largest exhibition in the world. It was opened in 2012 for the 100 year anniversary of the Titanic. Belfast was the site, in which the Titanic was built. There were four levels within the museum and each level focused on a different part of the Titanic's history.

A few exhibits from the museum including a scale model of the ship and an example of the lifeboats used. 
The first level focused on the building of the ship in Belfast. Belfast was a growing city for the linen industry and many women traveled there to get jobs. Belfast also had the largest rope works company in the world at its time. Although there was a lot of history, the exhibits were so interactive and engaging that I could've stayed there all day! There were so many interactive exhibits and so much to read. It was overwhelming the amount of exhibits and information that the museum contained. We then went up to the fourth floor to learn about the actual building of the ship. There was even a ride that took us through the different work that went into each part of the Titanic. We rode a cable car inside the museum that narrated the jobs of several workers involved in a small part of the construction of the ship. It was crazy how many different people and how much work went into a ship that is now at the bottom of the ocean. Eight people even died during the construction of the ship. The Titanic was the pride and joy of Belfast at the time and over 100, 000 people came to watch the launch on May 31, 1911 at 12:13pm.

Exploring the different features and layout of the Titanic was the next part of the experience. I can say for sure I would not have wanted to be a 3rd class passenger.  Around $18,000 dollars today for a one way ticket, which included only 2 toilets for all of 3rd class and a room with barely enough room to fit two people. The average 3rd class passenger was between the ages of 17-25. On the other hand, the 1st class rooms provided plenty of room and a personal bathroom with each room.

Outside the museum: poles represent the size of the ship 
We then moved to a part that contained information about the sinking of the Titanic. It was very interesting to hear survivors talk about the sinking.We even got to see (and practice) the morse code signals that were sent out to other ships in an attempt to get help for survivors. The Titanic actually traveled from Belfast to Southampton to Cherbourg to Queenstown and then on to attempt the journey to America. The final leg of the museum contained an exploration of the remains of the Titanic on the bottom of the ocean. As an elementary education major, I was more than pleased with all the different types of learning experiences within the museum. It was a highlight of my trip so far!

As for sustainability within the museum, I did find some interesting information about the more current state of the builders of the Titanic. They have moved on from ship building to the assembly of offshore wind turbines for wind farms. They even installed the SeaGen, which is the world's first commercial tidal stream turbine. This just goes to prove that everyone can do something to help the sustainability efforts, even if they build a giant ship that sinks in the beginning of their career. The wind turbines were something we saw a lot of in Wales a couple days ago.

Here are some fun facts about the Titanic:

  • The Titanic only had 2 engines
  • There was no laundry on the Titanic, so there were 45,000 napkins and 18,000 bed sheets on board
  • It was a British ship that was financed by Americans
  • The Titanic sunk in 2 pieces when it sunk
  • James Cameron, director of the famous movie, didn't discover there was a J. Dawson on the ship until after the filming
  • The ship almost collided with another ship during its departure from Southampton
  • The boilers never exploded, like the dramatic scene on the movie
  • The band continued to play as the ship sank and all the men in the band drowned

After our Titanic experience, we traveled close to two hours to the Causeway Coast Rope Bridge. There was a lot of apprehension about this rope bridge that crosses over the ocean; however the sights were beautiful and overpowered the mixed emotions. We had a great view of the ocean and were also able to avoid the rain completely! There were a few who were a wee bit scared about crossing the tall bridge over shark-filled waters, however it turned out to be a breeze...No, really, it was cold and windy..but for all you parents out there, we all made it across to the island AND back!
A few of us walking across the rope bridge.
The view from the island the bridge leads to.
We are finishing up our day at the Sheep's Island View Hostel and having some dinner at a local pub. I'm pleased to be back in the beautiful countryside with the sheep and away from the seagulls for a bit :)

As the motto of the makers of the Titanic said..."We trust you will have an enjoyable trip". Here's to our enjoyable trip ending better than the Titanic!

Bri Towers
Junior, Biology