A huge programme of events marking the launch of the Titanic in Belfast 100 years ago is set to start in the city the famous liner was built in.
Titanic 100, which runs for two months, features a variety of special exhibitions, talks, plays and commemorations to mark the centenary of the doomed ship’s completed construction.
Just over a year after its launch, Titanic sank on April 15, 1912 after colliding with an iceberg and claiming over 1,500 lives.
Running from March 31 to May 31, the centrepieces of the event, organised by Belfast City Council, are two new exhibitions.
The Titanic 100 photographic exhibition opens on the lawns of the City Hall on Thursday and traces the ill-fated liner’s journey from drawing board to slipway-launch.
A second exhibition, inside the City Hall, will tell the story of the SS Nomadic, which was also launched in 1911.
And on April 15, the Belfast Titanic Society will hold its annual Titanic Commemoration Service also at the City Hall to mark the 99th anniversary of the sinking of the ship.
As part of the events programme — with many free to the public — a special four-day festival will run during the Easter holiday weekend.
Belfast Lord Mayor Pat Convery will join John Andrews, president of the Belfast Titanic Society and great-grandson of Thomas Andrews, to officially open the Titanic 100 in the grounds of the City Hall on Thursday.
Mr Convery said the two-month programme of events was a “great way” to showcase the history and significance of the liner.
“The annual Titanic Made in Belfast exhibition attracts a great number of tourists and I have no doubt that these events coming up during the next year will reinvigorate even more interest in the historical ship and what it means to the city,” he said.
“This is a great opportunity for people to learn about the famous ship that was built in Belfast,” Mr Convery added.
How Belfast is celebrating its most famous liner
Plays The Man Who Left Titanic (April 9&10, May 27&28) is a new drama about infamous survivor Bruce Ismay. The Iceberg (May 20&21) is a dramatisation of Stewart Parker’s 1975 celebrated radio play.
Films Titanic: The Mission (April 23&24) follows a modern-day attempt to recreate part of the liner. Titanic on Film (April 23-26) screens archive footage, film dramas about the ship and a series of documentaries.
Tours Take a guided walk through the Belfast of Titanic designer Thomas Andrews (weekends, April & May), or join a Titanic boat tour in the harbour where the famous liner was built (daily, until May 31).
Talks Aidan McMichael examines the life and times of celebrated Belfast photographer Robert Welch (April 25). Titanic: New York (May 29) probes the connections between the ship and America’s greatest city.
Two events to watch out for
Ghost tour - Evening tour of the harbour with ghostly tales about the shipyards. Not suitable for young children. April 23 & 25.
Fashion Display - Jill Edgar gives a talk about fashion in the Edwardian era. City Hall, April 26.