This post is SO late! My goodness, you’d think I forgot about it… which I didn’t, I just misplaced my journal from the trip before typing up the events therein, then I wasn’t blogging for a period of time, and well, here we are.
Monday, May 16, 2016
Our second day trip was to the Titanic museum in Belfast, the city where she was built.
The sinking of the Titanic is one of the most well-known maritime disasters the world has ever experienced. Lauded as unsinkable, this ship was a huge undertaking for the Belfast shipyards.
While the Harland and Wolff shipyards were some of the most successful shipyards and the largest, hundreds of workers were lost building the Titanic, an Olympic class ship.
Only eight men are on the register as having lost their lives on the Arrol Gantry of the Titanic. This number is misleading, as another two hundred and fifty left the shipyard due to injury.
These workers later died because there was no healthcare available to them. However, it is because they left the shipyard that their deaths are not on the register.
These two hundred and fifty eight deaths are a solemn foreshadowing of the end of the RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage.
Rather than write pages upon pages on what a technological marvel the Titanic was, I’m choosing instead to write about the people and the maritime codes used at the time.
Thomas Andrews, a man of intelligence, was the director in charge of ship design. He was often seen tirelessly touring the yards, smudged with paint and grease as he carried plans around in his pockets. During his career, Thomas earned the respect of both ship owners and riveters alike.
One of the saddest things about this disaster is that it could have easily been avoided.
The Titanic received notice of ice fields and icebergs from the Baltic, the Mesaba, and the Californian. All warnings were ignored and the ship steamed forward at speed. You have to wonder how the radio operator who was too preoccupied with “working cape race” felt as the ship sank.
The now standard S.O.S. signal was not yet widely used when the Titanic launched. Instead C.Q.D. was used, which meant “All stations: distress”… I was almost brought to tears reading the last message the Titanic ever sent.
An unfinished C.Q… and then silence from the once great ship.
We hurriedly ate our lunches so we could meet our bus on time. I swear, I’ve never had such a tight meal schedule as I’ve had on this trip.
Our next stop, another surprise, was the Giant’s Causeway!
Admittedly, my sister is more knowledgeable on this area and the myths and legends surrounding it, but I knew a little and was so very excited for the opportunity to visit the World Heritage Site.
What I enjoy most about many Irish legends is that they began as spoken word, stories shared around the fires.
From the camel resting along the beach that the Giant Finn McCool rode to get home in time for bedtime stories with his son, to the basalt columns left behind by his running from another (larger) giant, this land is thoroughly steeped in magic and myth.
I am particularly interested in the geological science of the area. The volcanic and tectonic forces that created the great, interlocking basalt columns would have been beyond immense. I would have enjoyed learning more about the physical geography of the area and will have to do further research on the subject.
When we returned to Dublin, Sara, Brianna, and I went to Temple Bar for pictures and dinner. We ended up eating at a restaurant called Mexico to Rome where we overheard students from Minnesota. The nasal, clipped sounds of the accent of my childhood was both surprising and reassuring to hear. In contrast, the lilting tones of the Irish people is very musical, pleasing to the ear and poetic in a way I do not often hear.
I’ve got about three more posts on the way, but the rest of my Ireland adventures can be found HERE.