Federation of Local History Societies and Federation for Ulster Local Studies blaze the Titanic Trail. 7 JULY 2012
by Larry Breen, FLHS
The 2012 joint exchange visit between the two federations saw a large group of almost eighty people meet in Belfast for the annual joint event.
The first port of call was the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum at Cultra near Holywood in County Down where the intrepid travellers were greeted with a welcome “cuppa and scone” in the Midland Café. There then followed a guided tour of the museum’s TITANIC exhibition which was on display. It was truly remarkable to learn that housed in the exhibition are more than five hundred objects, many of them salvaged from the sea bed. We learned how the Titanic and her sister ships, the Olympic and the Britannic were built at the Harland & Wolff Shipyard. There were also many poignant stories recorded of people who had travelled on her and of their ultimate fate.
Next stop was just over the bridge and up to Ballycultra Town in the heart of the Folk Park but still within the museum’s grounds. It was interesting and informative to make the connection between the Titanic itself and what life was like for those living in and around Belfast in 1912. Ballycultra made this connection and presented a real feeling of how people lived and worked in those bygone days when the great ship was built. One such example was the “Riveter’s House” as it must be remembered that riveting played a major part in the construction of the liner. Doreen Mc Bride was able to relate a personal story about her grandfather, Sam Finlay, who was a cabinet maker and who worked on the fitting of the Titanic. The visitors also had time to stroll around the village and explore many unique buildings including the quaint old Picture House, McCusker’s Pub, Ballycultra Post Office and many other interesting buildings depicting life in that time.