About that Titanic proposal..

The £100million plan for development of a Titanic tourist project in Belfast’s docklands area was heavily publicised in the media yesterday.. and the BBC report is online here. With a nice drawing too. But reading closely, there is no breakdown of the figures for private/public funding and, despite the reported unveiling of the plan by Belfast City Council and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board in the article, it currently only has the backing of Tourism sub-committee – the proposal, and an economic feasibility study, still has to clear the full council on 1 September. Be nice to see more details of the proposals.. somewhere. No mention of that Iceberg though…

  • Bored

    Christ! When are these cretins ever going to realise – the Titanic sank resulting in one of the greatest ever peace-time losses of life at sea. Titanic = disaster. You don’t go to Bhopal in India and expect to find some sort of chemcial poisoning-related theme park. Last time I checked Chernobyl wasn’t home to a radiation-themed fun park. Hiroshima and Nagasaki don’t celebrate their being the centres of nuclear disaster.

    The risible obsession with the Titanic (a) shows the putrid depths to which Belfast has sunk in terms of its aesthetic, cultural and social outlook, (b) the sheer desperation of the ‘city of culture’-type plonkers who seek to promote and develop the city internationally and (c) the deluded twattery of the Unionist political leadership at city level who STILL think that the naked sectarianism of the shipyards was something worth celebrating (witness Michael McGimpsey and his utterly preposterous plan to have ‘Samson and Goliath’ listed as ‘monuments’).

  • G2

    Anything is better than “All aboard Belfast’s terror tour ”


  • Denny Boy

    Gosh, Bored, well done! I wish I’d posted your post.

  • GavBelfast

    Was that talk at the end of March/beginning of APRIL (there’s the clue) about a melting iceberg not a joke, as in April Fool?

    If what is being talked about now materialises and is tasteful and has a sufficient reverence for its memorial aspect, I like the sound of it.

  • Nordie

    I like that picture. A full size neon, glow in the dark sculpture of the titanic down by the waterfront! It’s genuinely impressive.

    Maybe it could even spark a Belfast renaissance, or indeed naissance as Belfast has always been prettty much crap.

    The whole area round the shipyard is a unique opportunity for something wonderful to be done.

    But judging by the crap selection of boring, ugly office blocks that constituted the Laganside development, and the ugly concrete and tarmac and fly-poster enviroment around the odyssey – there is obviously no-one with the talent or the imagination to do anything worthwhile.

    If that titanic sculpture turns out to be just a big version of those boring metal skeleton sculptures that are already all over the place, then the person who came up with the idea and the artist who drew that picture should be shot at dawn.

    Belfast has fuck all shout about, it needs a leg up – Do Something Worthwhile!

  • short

    There’s a great new sculpture at the end of the Queen’s bridge at Oxford Street

    Looks brilliant and i bet it didn’t cost 100 mill.

    More work like ‘The Doll on the Ball’, as locals have named it.

  • Elvis the dog

    Right idea, several years too late. Maybe a ‘slow learner’ themed park would be more fitting for N. Ireland.

  • Conánn

    The drawing and the idea are really nice. But I am unsure if anyone has thought about what a 15 story 950+ foot long scaffold will look like during the day. During the tourism season in Northern Ireland it does not get dark till well after ten, when tourists are either in the pub or in bed.
    Having done some work for an almost ran idea I am delighted to see that the dock will be preserved and the pump house renovated, they are beautiful.
    I am sure the sculpture will be made of the same space age self cleaning alloys used in the Dublin Spire which recently needed a 50,000euro buff.

  • Elvis the dog

    Why not get H&W to build a seaworthy full-sized replica complete with 1912 decor and run it as a luxury cruise liner out of Belfast? It’d attract millions of passengers.

  • peteb

    Actually, EtD… that might cost less…

  • Yoda

    Why not get H&W to build a seaworthy full-sized replica complete with 1912 decor and run it as a luxury cruise liner out of Belfast? It’d attract millions of passengers.

    And and and you could have it hit an iceberg but it would be like a ride so that the ship would sink and then it could float back up to the surface and carry on with its voyage so nobody would die and you’d be able to have the complete interactive Titanic experience in the round over and over again…

    Yoda, aged 3 1/4

  • iluvni

    …or you could invite all the local politicians to go on the maiden voyage..

  • pitt park

    We could have a dramatisation of the shipyard in the old days

    We will have to get stuntmen to re-inact the catholic workers being driven into the water by the loyal workers..

    Even better, film the boys during the uwc strike in 1974.

    What a culture !!!

  • Alan McDonald


    (no, not you, the 3.25 year old)

    Go directly to Hollywood (the California one, not the misspelled Ulster one) via Orlando (the Florida one, not the Tilda Swinton movie) and accept your prize. Remember folks, Americans LOVE this Titanic crap.

    NOTE: I do not include myself even though I am a Yank. I’ve always preferred the Lusitania.

  • The Binlid

    ” the Titanic sank resulting in one of the greatest ever peace-time losses of life at sea.”

    It was themunns that made it. :o)

  • Alan

    We should have had this kind of thing years ago.

    It will draw from across the world because the Titanic is an iconic subject, as much about endurance as loss. Half of its allure is the opulence of its build – and it was built here in Belfast by protestant and catholic shipbuilders, furniture makers, linen weavers, seamstresses etc.

    There is a sideboard in the Harbour office that is a sister-piece to one on the Titanic. We should build a museum around that, starting with the staircase, the ball room and then to the wheel house and the cabins, ending with the engine rooms. Make it an incremental project and build a replica attraction, rather than a light show which, I agree, would look like nothing in the summer months.

  • Big Paul

    It was designed by a bloke from Comber, it was a flawed design, it sank, what a suprise…..

  • Hallion 24-7

    I am so glad bored set the tone on this thread right away. The proposal is an example of one of those meetings when marketers sit around and think up ways to drum up tourist money. They ask, what is NI most famous for?
    1. Violence 2. High rates of cardiovascular disease from high fat food 3. Sectarian murals 4. Amatuer version of FIFA football 5. Liam Neeson 6. High suicide rates 7. Titanic was built here 8. Van Morrison.
    After review, they decide on the titanic.

    I have never understood this hollywood glamour and glitz with this incident. Do you remember the headlines in 1997 “Titanic Musical sets Sail on Broadway!” Thats right, a friggin broadway musical about this ship.

    It was a horrific death in ice water for 1000s of people, and now we are doing musicals and laser light shows? Anything for a few notes from a tourist. A small, and appropriate memorial would suffice.

    Amazing what a little time can do in the “entertainment” industry. Imagine the outcry if they proposed “Sep 11th – The Broadway Musical”? Just give it some time. Pathetic, sad world.

  • looking in

    The risible obsession with the Titanic (a) shows the putrid depths to which Belfast has sunk in terms of its aesthetic, cultural and social outlook, (b) the sheer desperation of the ‘city of culture’-type plonkers who seek to promote and develop the city internationally and (c) the deluded twattery of the Unionist political leadership at city level who STILL think that the naked sectarianism of the shipyards was something worth celebrating


    I sometimes wonder at Scots obsession with tragi-history, but the titanic thing and Belfast just cracks me up….

  • Alan McDonald


    I think you’re getting the point about American tourists. “Titanic” was a big success on Broadway, winning the Tony award for best musical of 1997. A friend of mine played 2nd Officer Charles Lightoller in the original cast (he’s now in “Spamalot”).

    The one thing we don’t have on this side of the pond is “Jerry Springer: the Opera.”

  • Hallion 24-7

    Alan McD – I appreciate the American tourist attraction bit; I’m not sure from your answer that you appreciate my point about the so-called entertainment industry? Musicals, singing, dancing, T-shirts, hats, balloons, pens and stickers surrounding human disaster??

    Will your amigo be starring in Kobe: The Earthquake Show, and Bopal: The Union Carbide Dance anytime soon?

  • Alan McDonald

    I appreciate your point that the entertainment industry is pathetic, and I am reinforcing it with real life examples from both sides of the Atlantic.

    My amigo will be happy, I’m sure, to star in any vehicle that “puts bums in seats.”

  • Boris

    [Let’s keep that link away from this site – ed Mod]

    Hallion -24-7 – these people are friends of yours????

  • Alan McDonald


    [Let’s keep that link away from this site – ed Mod]

    I have tried to get Belfast Gonzo to remove it from the More news from the Bible Belt… thread with no success. Can you please remove it?

  • Alan McDonald



  • levee

    I hate to have to say it, but there are a lot of naysayers here who are condemning this initiative. With the notable exception of Conann (nice site, by the way), no-one has come up with much by way of an alternative!

    The Titanic represents a massive Belfast export from the days when our local industries were the envy of the world. For others, it’s a symbol of how man can still be beaten by nature. Remember, “God himself could not sink this ship”?

    You are all running down Belfast and Northern Ireland. The City is regenerating itself and that’s a good thing – try and be a bit supportive!

    All the outside world ever hear about is the bad side of Northern Ireland. I suggest you some of you get out and rediscover what’s good about the place. Otherwise, stop complaining!

  • Bored

    levee – “some of what’s good about the place”.

    Perhaps you’d be good enough to tell us what YOU consider to be so good about Belfast. I’m not being sarcastic here, I’m genuinely interested.

  • Hallion 24-7

    Boris – I am not sure who you are referring to with the “these people” question…given that the mod has been doing some removing and I have no idea what you were talking about, I suspect it is Och Aye spreading his manure again.

    Levee – It is one thing to promote art, the folk museum, the Antrim Coast Road, the castles and all that good stuff…we are talking about the issue of promoting a maritime disaster as a tourist trap. Think about it for a minute and maybe you can see the point bored was making. It is OBSCENE and shows desperation.

  • pacart

    I can’t think of many “tourist attractions” worldwide that actually attract tourists, short of Disneyworld scale operations. Can anyone? People have a vague interest in the Titanic, mainly due to Leonardo de Caprio,they are not obsessed with the damn thing the way people here are. The idea that they will come to Belfast in their droves to look at a “light sculpture” of the same, and what will inevitably be a small scale museum is no more than wishful thinking. What was it Keats said about the Giant’s Causeway? Worth seeing, but not worth going to see. And that’s one of the world’s natural wonders.

  • levee


    I love walking around Queens University and Botanic area, especially in the autumn when crisp leaves are littering the streets. When I have time, my kids and I go to the Ulster Museum which is always a treat.

    Shoping in Belfast is excellent (as it is in Lisburn and now Antrim with the opening of Junction One), and Belfast’s architecture is fascinating if you bother to look any higher than the shop signage.

    Further afield, there’s the Glens of Antrim, many beautiful and tranquil sites there. I’ve been over in Sperrin country recently and found that breathtaking too. If you start to look, you’ll find plenty to like about NI, maybe stop being Bored (ha ha)!

    In response to Hallion – what about proposed memorials on the site of the Twin Towers? Should tourists avoid those? There are plenty of markers of disasters that serve as tourist attractions. As Alan McDonald has said, the yanks are interested in the Titanic. Dare I say mostly because of the human tragedy.

    A tour of chemical and biological warfare in Iraq would be obscene. You’re overreacting.

  • levee

    By the way, Hallion, what was your opinion of the movie a few years back?

    On one hand, it grossed megabucks (and inflicted Celine Dion on us), but it vividly brought home the human tragedy and depicted the highs and lows of human behaviour during a crisis.

    I liked the movie, despite the soundtrack.

  • peteb

    A minor correction to pacart’s post –

    It was not Keats.. rather, according to Boswell’s biography of him, Life of Johnson, it was Samuel Johnson who said – of the Giant’s Causeway – “Worth seeing, yes; but not worth going to see.”

  • Alan McDonald

    Pete B,

    Thanks so much. You have renewed my faith in Yeats, and in Johnson, for that matter.

  • Hallion 24-7

    Levee – I appreciate your comments, and certainly support memorials such as that planned in NYC and those in Japan (Hiroshima and Nagasaki). They are of course appropriate. I am offended when disasters, natural or otherwise, are turned into money making schemes to draw people. I am also turned off by musicals, singing and dancing over disaster and selling T-shirts, people wanting to have their picture taken in front of, or near, these tragic places etc. It has never made sense to me.
    As for the latest of a dozen movies (Cameron), it was well directed and he desrved an academy award for his efforts. Maybe it did raise the level of awareness of the suffering of those that died.
    Pacart may be right in terms of what transpires with this, we will wait and see…

  • peteb

    I assume Keats’ reputation remains intact, Alan. 😉

  • levee

    Hallion – There’s the thing – I’m a bit of a song and dance man, myself!

  • groucho

    I agree with Elvis but i wonder if there are any of the skilled artisans left who could build a replica ship? I can understand some people having qualms about us celebrating the building of a ship that sank, but isn’t it really about the magnitude of the tragedy, the bravery and stoicism of the many who died and the end of an era of glamour and excess? Come on, tourists who come here do express surprise that there is pretty much nothing in Belfast to mark its links with the Titanic.

  • idunnomeself

    well I have gone to France to see the sitrs of teh Normandy landings and the WW1 battlefields, and when in Asia I went to see the killing fields in Cambodia. I didn’t buy a ‘welcome to Cambodia, beware of the mines’ t-shirt, but they were doing a roaring trade in them. I have also been in NYC and the 9/11 site has loads of tourists

    Basically it’s about going to places where important global/ historic events took place. The sinking of the Titanic was one such, not just another ‘maritime disaster’.

    Hallion if you think people don’t flock to historical sites (which often saw the deaths of many people) then you need to get out more (and I’m glad your not working for the NITB).

    And for those who try to get every thread back to party politics.. grow up please..

  • Hallion 24-7

    idunno, regarding your comment – “Hallion if you think people don’t flock to historical sites (which often saw the deaths of many people) then you need to get out more”
    Where was it that I said people don’t flock to historical sites?
    I am well aware that many people choose to go to these places for various reasons…some for prayer, reflection etc, and others so that they can get their picture taken there as a tourist and get the souveniers. I have never understood that – is it to say, hey, I’m alive and well, I made it to the spot where others perished?? idunnomeself, why do you think people want a picture infront of tragic places?

    To deny that there is no commercial interest and taking advantage of a maritime disaster.

    Just FYI, I have been all over the globe, Asia, North America, Central America, Europe. Visting a memorial spot and reflecting is one thing, commercialization is another. Did you not see my suggestion for a memorial? Have a wee look back at my comments.

  • Hallion 24-7

    Idunno – One more thing…you say you are glad I’m not working for the NITB… so am I.

    Using your logic of going to historical places where many people have died, why leave NI??…its a tourist dream.
    You can start with little entrys behind terraced housing in West Belfast, go up and down the Shankill, Falls and work you way outwards to Eniskillen. There are lots of historical and tragic locations, places where families lives were torn apart. No t-shirts, stickers or dancing. Maybe you can get somebody to take your picture at one of these many locations.

  • G.M.C.

    I quite like the idea of this as a cultural attraction along with some museums in the existing buildings on the island, which would be nice to see, evidence and presentations of the ship building enterprise here also is of course anticipated. And, if ever possible, it should be a great endeavour if the people with the money managed to get the Titanic launcher vessel from France. In a way it’s an arbitrary thing, and a very pleasant idea. This would be very attractive and interesting moreso I think than for example visiting the “HMS Belfast” in London, and to the commentator who claimed it is not a daytime venture, one would assume that the lights would be very bright and very visible in the daytime. Otherwise, yep that’s pretty important! Although bright lights might need a fund to maintain their use, I don’t know just how hard it is for such a project to be made to cost a hundred million pounds however.

    It is kind of symbolic as the whole Titanic area here with historic exhibits idea is largely just funny anyway, then riotously funny as well, as well in an extra sense to me as serious and quite diverting and interesting, in this position in Northern Ireland and on the yet to be discovered Queen’s Island of the capital. It’s all over and for decades without repercussion now, and, though partly involved in tragedy, also it all is within a flavour of humourous decadence and within this, perhaps along with respect, elements of disparity, dubious taste, or just how it is in this specific presentation. Its nothing that can’t be quelled by a few unpatronising history lessons steeped in wonder and fascination.

    In wonder, also bizarreness and I see something of both the elements of aware renewing revisionism of the Enlightenment yet with entrenchment in Modernity in such an exhibit and series of exhibits, it suggests the lightening of the cultural atmosphere of an expected culturally developing city. This yet magically also manages to suggest it can reinvoke the best, deeper and desired elements of culture and heritage facility: interest, involvement, situatedness in time and place, inclusion within individuality, wonder, removedness and audience-based attention, and the prompting of the individual. And the suggestion is also to make this aspect of history charming and fun and unloaded, rather than morbid and a bad choice as could easily be done.

    I hope so anyway, as anything down the other route of “bad history” a suggested description with manifold meanings, should be a failure. My positive reactive vision is something truly in keeping with a Modern and Victorian centre like Belfast. I have no doubt that the former result could be managed whilst treating the tragedy of a nearly a hundred years ago, or four generations, with some respect. I do really hope also along with the commentator above that it’s the opposite of a Scots-ish “obesession with tragi-culture”, certainly at that price! I couldn’t take that idea here, it’s foreign anyway, and just at a time when an unseen proposed “normal” level of culture funding is sorely required even to, if ever in sight, bring the arts life to a normal standard here.

    One would expect if there are culturally aware and interested people in the city, over the coming years a lot of that remaining warehouse space near this newly visitable city section here (and elsewhere) would be used up with agreements with the arts bodies and also private enterprises. This is hoped for. Along with other central people and mind, body, spirit and soul orientated developments of old buildings and spaces also.

  • Bored

    G.M.C. – are you stoned?

  • G.M.C.

    Why? Does it read like it?

    But, the notion of this all being sold as just a “Ghost Ship” (rather than a kind of fresh, modern day nostalgic, new-cum-retro, Modern, Victorian style technological exhibition) undercuts optimism. They wouldn’t… (?)

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