Titanic museum creating buzz in Belfast

The Titanic Belfast building will open in April and is hoped to boost tourism for the city Credit: REUTERS/David Moir

It rises over the harbour, just like the Titanic did 100 years ago.

Gleaming and just as high as the great ocean liner, that was built in these docks, the Titanic Belfast museum cost £100 million and as I walked around it, it was clear to see why it cost so much.

Lavish, interactive, extraordinarily detailed and researched, it as an impressive and moving account of the industry that made Belfast a world leader.

It is a big change for a city that as one relative of a Titanic passenger told me, had felt a sense of shame for generations over the ship they built which had come to such a tragic end.

They are expecting 400,000 visitors to the tourist attraction in the next year. There is certainly a great deal of interest already.

The museum is hoped to attract 400,000 visitors in the next year Credit: David Moir / Reuters

I bumped into Julian Fellowes here, who was invited to take a look around. The man behind Downton Abbey and ITV's Titanic series says Belfast is right to celebrate its shipbuilding heritage, Titanic itself was a magnificent ship and the men who built it should be hailed.

Belfast is certainly embracing its maritime, history now. The Titanic Quarter which houses the new museum also boast what was once the world's largest dry dock, where Titanic was finished off before sea trials began, the last time it was on dry land.

The dock was designed to give the ship an MOT when it returned. But of course it never did.

The Titanic was launched in April 1912

As we walked down the replica staircase in the museum, a copy of the grand original staircase in the ship, Tim Husbands the museums Chief Executive told me the city was trying to rediscover the greatness it once enjoyed as the world 's largest shipbuilder.

It's not he insists a case of cashing in on the centenary of Titanic's sinking, but of Belfast reminding the world of its place in the story, of the amazing skills of the workmen in the city.

The last ship was built here 9 years ago, Harland and Wolff who built Titanic now concentrate on making wind turbines here.

But they are hoping the museum and the tourism boom they are anticipating here will regenerate this city to the tune of 20,000 jobs.

A century after thousands came to Belfast's Harbour to see Titanic and it's sister ships, there is real buzz here again.

The Titanic story ended in tragedy but here they feel it is the very beginning of that story that still needs to be told.