King of the world

Ever fantasize about standing at the bow of a ship and yelling: “I’m the king of the world!”

How about with the ghost of the Titanic at your back? You can do that in Belfast. Sort of. The dry dock where the majestic liner was built still stands. Walk the length of the dock and you’ll see just how huge the Titanic was (more than 880 feet long). Then climb atop a bollard, spread your arms and mimic Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie “Titanic.” Just expect buses of tourists to see your performance.

The centennial of the Titanic’s sinking on its maiden voyage is months away, but anniversary-related events are well under way in Belfast. The city claims significant centennial anniversaries connected to the famous ship this year. Expect plenty of events next year as the centennial of the ship’s sinking is marked on April 14.

In Belfast, the Pump House at the Harland and Wolff shipyard serves as a visitor center and is one of many Titanic-related stops in this vibrant Northern Ireland city. Guided walking and boat tours help tell the story of the liner and Belfast’s shipbuilding past. A Titanic memorial can be found on the grounds of Belfast City Hall.

On May 31, the 100th anniversary of the launch of the Titanic’s hull in Belfast (its outfitting was completed in March of the following year), an exhibit called Titanica opens at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum. Described as “an experience of all things Titanic,” the exhibit explores the sinking through artifacts and personal stories.

In April 2012, Titanic Belfast, a state-of-the art, six-story visitor center, will open in the famous shipyard. The exhibit explores the story of the ship from its conception to construction to launch and tragic end. The story is brought up to date with the discovery of the wreck and future explorations under water.

You can learn more at Titanic 100.

Greg Tasker
Greg Tasker is Detroit News Arts and Entertainment Editor and has been writing about travel for more than a decade. His travel stories have appeared in AAA Living, Frommer's Budget Travel, Scouting, AMC Outdoors, Vermont Life and Island Life.