BELFAST, Northern Ireland, April 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Belfast is leading the many commemorations taking place around the world in memory of those who perished on the Titanic's tragic maiden voyage 100 years ago.
2012, the centenary of the Titanic's completion, departure and demise, sees Belfast embracing its connection to the trans-Atlantic liner, celebrating the city's ship-building history and commemorating the great human loss suffered as a result of her sinking.
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Titanic's story is one of celebration and commemoration for Belfast; the two elements will always be intertwined.
Titanic Belfast, the world's largest Titanic visitor attraction, opened in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 31 March on the very site where the ship was designed, built and first kissed the water.
The new visitor experience pays homage to the Belfast workers who built Titanic and to those who perished on her - and has shot to the top of Europe's must-see destinations list.
The opening of the iconic Titanic Belfast building marked the beginning of a three-week long Titanic Belfast Festival celebrating her heritage and commemorating the 1,517 people who lost their lives on the ship's fateful maiden voyage.
Tim Husbands, Titanic Belfast's CEO, said: "Over the past fortnight we've celebrated those who built and designed RMS Titanic. Now, however, our focus is very much on reflection and commemoration for those who survived and those who lost their lives."
As her physical and spiritual home, Belfast will lead the many commemorations taking place around the world on her centenary (14 and 15 April).
Highlights include a Memorial Lecture by Dr Robert Ballard, the oceanographer who discovered RMS Titanic in 1985, on the 14 April at Titanic Belfast overlooking the Titanic slipways where the Titanic was launched.
A Titanic Centenary Commemoration show will also be held on the night of the 14 April, the night she hit the iceberg. It will retell the story of the legendary liner through music and documentary.
Performers include legendary Bryan Ferry and Grammy award-winning soul and R&B singer/songwriter Joss Stone.
Katie Melua will also join the line-up.
Speaking about the Titanic Centenary Commemoration show, Georgia-born Katie, who moved to Belfast with her family when she was eight and lived there until the age of 13, said: "Belfast will always have a special place in my heart so it is an honour to return to the birthplace of the Titanic, a city I once called home, for this special commemoration. I'm really looking forward to performing at what I'm sure will be a very memorable and moving event."
In addition, a specially commissioned requiem by Belfast composer Philip Hammond entitled 'Requiem for the Lost Souls of the Titanic' will be performed at St Anne's Cathedral on the anniversary of Titanic's iceberg collision.
Speaking about the Requiem Philip Hammond said: "the requiem is not about remembering the Titanic but it is about remembering the people who died as a result of the loss of the Titanic"
A Titanic Memorial Garden at Belfast City Hall will also be unveiled on the 15 April, the day she sank.
This is the only memorial in the world to name all who were lost on the RMS Titanic.
The liner's mighty footprint is still much in evidence throughout the city, meaning nowhere can compare to Belfast for Titanic attractions and experiences.
Visitors to the city have a massive array of Titanic bus, cab, bike and walking tours to choose from throughout the ship's centenary year, as well as food, accommodation, theatre, music and historical experiences and a host of other attractions, exhibitions and events worthy of the great liner.
Beyond Belfast, the surrounding towns also offer various Titanic memorials and tours of the former homes of Harland & Wolff supremo Lord Pirrie and the ship's designer Thomas Andrews.
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SOURCE Tourism Ireland