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Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Monday, April 01, 2002

Belfast Celebrates Titanic Heritage

The 90th anniversary of Titanic maiden voyage was celebrated in Belfast, Northern Ireland Sunday.


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The 90th anniversary of Titanic maiden voyage was celebrated in Belfast, Northern Ireland Sunday.

"What happened was a disaster. But she wasn't," said Belfast City Council spokesman Mark Ashby as the Northern Ireland capital opened a weeklong Titanic festival, to coincide with ship's maiden voyage on April 2, 1912.

"The Titanic was the greatest thing on the face of the planet in terms of man-made engineering and luxury. The city was very proud of her, and we're trying to recapture that pride," Ashby said.

Saturday's launch of the "Titanic: Made in Belfast" festival began with actors, portraying key figures among the Titanic's doomed crew and passengers, walking about the grounds of Belfast City Hall telling their stories to tourists.

Inside the hall, whose design inspired the Titanic's own interior, Mayor Jim Rodgers unveiled exhibitions and an accompanying book of schoolchildren's stories about the ship. The young contributors came from Belfast, the southwest Irish port of Cobh where Titanic docked for the last time, and the Canadian city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, where many of Titanic's dead were buried.

On Tuesday, the council is unveiling a memorial plaque at the Belfast home of the ship's designer, Thomas Andrews, who was among more than 1,500 dead when the ship crashed into an iceberg and sank in the Atlantic on April 15, 1912.

In the evening Irish, British and American enthusiasts from the Ulster Titanic Society are staging a gala ball in Edwardian costume, with a seven-course replica menu and period waltz, Ragtime and fox-trot dancing.

The Titanic represents the apex of optimism and ambition in Belfast, which in the 19th century grew to become one of the British hubs of the Industrial Revolution. The Harland and Wolff shipyard, whose workers spent five years building the Titanic, once employed 30,000 men in the docks and related businesses.

Tourists visiting Belfast this weekend were getting an unprecedented close look at the dock where Titanic was built, with special boat tours being operated.




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