As a native of Northern Ireland, Belfast is always close to my heart somehow, and this week the entire world seems to be looking on my home city as we mark the centenary of the Titanic disaster. Isn’t it amazing how this ship sinking has captured the imaginations of the globe?
The sinking of the Titanic was a watershed moment (mind the pun!) for the Edwardian age. The end of innocence and the beginning of what proved to be the turbulent years of the twentieth century. Before the great disaster there was an optimism about society and the direction of all things, and after disaster the realization that mankind may not be reaching the heights of civilization after all. This picture was also true for Ireland, and for Belfast. Within months of the sinking, Irish society began to convulse and change which would lead to the splitting of the island into two countries and a path of change that continues to this day.
This photograph is an amazing shot to me (click to see it a bit bigger!) as we view the scene of thousands and thousands of workers leaving Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland after a days work on the Titanic – which is clearly visible in the background looming large above the city of Belfast. What a sight that must have been!
Belfast in 1912 was a highly motivated, wealthy and industrious city on the cutting edge of technology and advancement. The status of the city was reflected in the many elegant Edwardian building projects that were springing up around the town, which make it such an interesting place to visit today, giving it an aire of elegance. The twentieth century though would prove to be tough on this Edwardian jewel of a city but after one hundred years it really has found it’s place in the sun again.
So, in many ways the story of the Titanic is the story of Belfast, and of Northern Ireland. A piece and place of wonder in early times that went into a period of decline, but is emerging today as a major world attraction!
Today massive cruise ships pull into Belfast harbour every week, full of curious tourists who want to see this famous city, the birthplace of Titanic and of so any stories and culture, and all of this makes me so proud.
To mark the centenary I’m going to post three blogs – this one which looks to Belfast of the past. A second post where I will share an authentic and wonderful recipe that I recreated from the first class menu of the final day of the Titanic’s voyage, and a final post giving you a glimpse into the breathtaking elegance of Belfast as it is today. So, there it is!…and if you would like to visit Belfast yourself this year, remember that I am leading a ‘Culture and Culinary Tour’ to Ireland this summer, created and facilitated by ‘Specialized Tours’ of New York, and we still have a few spots open so check out the link below:
So, check in with me later in the week for another fascinating installment and a free Titanic recipe!
Judie the Irish Foodie.