Titanic centenary celebrated in Belfast

The 100th anniversary of the Titanic's launch has been the focus of a celebration at the Irish shipyard where she was built

When the RMS Titanic left the slipway at Harland and Wolff’s Belfast yard, 100 years ago today, her builders and owners fully expected that she would become the most famous ship in the world.However, they could never have guessed exactly how the ill-starred liner would come by that fame.

Her fateful maiden voyage was still the best part of a year away, time which was spent fitting out and seatrialling the vessel, and for the weeks and months following her launch, the Titanic was a source of great pride for the people of Belfast.

That pride is reflected by the plans to re-develop the former Harland and Wolff drawing offices as a six-floor exhibition centre dedicated to the liner and envisaged as being “one of Northern Ireland’s biggest tourist attractions”, according to The Belfast Telegraph, when it opens next April to mark the sinking of the ship.

The Titanic Belfast building will be at the heart of the blue chip Titanic Quarter, a 185-acre technology park taking shape on the old shipyard.

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The launch of the Titanic is to be marked by a religious service held on the slipway from which she departed. During the service a flare will be released at the exact time of the launch, one century on.