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Queen's Island

Queen's Island on the River Lagan is home to the Harland and Wolff ship-yards, birthplace of the Titanic, probably Belfast's most famous export. The Belfast shipbuilding industry can be dated back to the mid-1600s, and the banks of the Lagan became devoted to the H+W shipyards in the late eighteenth century. From Queen's Island came some of the most famous ships in modern history, such as the Olympic and the Britannia. Despite its sticky end, the Titanic is still celebrated as one of the most notable triumphs of modern industry, and its history is celebrated each year during the Belfast "Titanic Festival".

Queen’s Island on the River Lagan is home to the Harland and Wolff ship-yards, birthplace of the Titanic, probably Belfast’s most famous export. The Belfast shipbuilding industry can be dated back to the mid-1600s, and the banks of the Lagan became devoted to the H+W shipyards in the late eighteenth century. From Queen’s Island came some of the most famous ships in modern history, such as the Olympic and the Britannia. Despite its sticky end, the Titanic is still celebrated as one of the most notable triumphs of modern industry, and its history is celebrated each year during the Belfast “Titanic Festival”.

Nowadays, the shipyards are pretty much defunct, but the vast, yellow gantry cranes (nicknamed Samson and Goliath by locals) still stand as icons of Northern Ireland, overlooking Belfast. Queen’s Island is now known as “Titanic Quarter” and plans are made to develop it into a complex of offices and apartments, making it something akin to New York’s Long Island. Soon, most of it will be razed down to make way for the new complex – but, for the moment, it’s still open to the (more intrepid) public.

Even if clambering over piles of brickwork and inhaling a lot of dust isn’t your thing, the Laganside area of Belfast is certainly worth a visit. The Island is adjacent to some of Belfast’s most interesting sights – it’s overlooked by the ten meter-long sculpture, the ‘Big Fish’, which is clad in ceramic engravings and pictures of Northern Irish history, and the dockside pubs and markets are great for some local color. A hop and a jump away from Queen’s Island is the Odyssey Complex, a huge collection of cinema screens, bowling lanes, bars and interactive exhibits. If you’re planning on a visit, let me know!

written by starsky

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