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Tuesday, 2 April, 2002, 18:00 GMT 19:00 UK
Belfast marks Titanic launch
The Titanic
The ship went down on 15 April 1912
Belfast is marking the 90th anniversary of the launch of the ill-fated liner Titanic.

A week-long celebration marking the anniversary got under way in the city on Saturday.

Titanic - Made in Belfast began with actors playing the crew and passengers of the ship in the grounds of Belfast City Hall.

The Titanic, then the world's largest ocean liner and hailed as unsinkable, collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage.

The ship went down in 15 April 1912 with the loss of 1,500 lives and now rests 2.5 miles below the surface of the North Atlantic, off the coast of St John's Newfoundland, Canada.

Replica

On Tuesday, Belfast City Council unveiled a plaque at the home of the Titanic's designer, Thomas Andrews.

The Ulster Titanic Society later staged a gala ball in full Edwardian costume and a replica seven course menu at Belfast city hall.

Special tours of Harland and Wolff shipyard, where the Titanic was built, are being operated throughout the week.

City council spokesman Mark Ashby said what happened to the ship was a disaster but the vessel itself was not.

The Titanic
The ship now rests 2.5 miles below the sea

"The Titanic was the greatest thing on the face of the planet in terms of man-made engineering and luxury.

"The city was very proud of her, and we're trying to recapture that pride," he said.

Belfast Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers opened an exhibition of memorabilia in the City Hall on Saturday.

It is accompanied by a book of children's stories about the ship.

Its authors are from Belfast, the Irish port of Cobh in County Cork, where the Titanic last docked, and the Canadian city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, where many of the boat's dead are buried.

Cobh will have its own Titanic festival next week, marking the departure of the vessel on 11 April 1912.

See also:

21 Feb 02 | England
Titanic timepiece sold
16 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Titanic deckchair fetches 30,000
26 Jul 01 | UK
Outcry over Titanic wedding
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