Day trip around Belfast for P7 kids

Last week 90 intrepid P7 kids (10/11-year-old) were treated to a superb trip to the Thompson Dry Dock, a Belfast City Sightseeing Tour and tour of Parliament Buildings at Stormont Estate.

Our guide at the Thompson Dry Dock was the self-proclaimed “Titanorak” Colin. Colin knows the Dry Dock inside out and he was fantastic at explaining the history of the place with the aid of his photograph folder which shows actual copies of pictures taken at the time of the Titanic.

He certainly knew his facts about the place. Did you know that the Pump House pumped out 168 million pints of Sea Water in 100 minutes or that when the Titanic was launched, it took 62 seconds and 22 tonnes of grease? What about the three different hats the workers of H&W wore (Duncher, bowler and Top) or that the Dry Dock door was called a Caisson and was 1000 tonnes in weight, 8 foot thick and took 6 minutes to close!!!

Colin explained how the Titanic structure was built on the Slipway (in the Arroll Gantry), launched on the 30th May 1911, fitted out in the Dry Dock with 29 boilers, 4 chimney stacks (3 worked, 4th was for ventilation) and all its fixtures and fittings. It was then officially launched on 2nd April 1912 from Belfast and then Southampton on the 10th April before hitting the iceberg on the 14th and sinking on the 15th. 2224 people were on board, only 710 survived.

We were taken down the steps to the bottom of the dock, some 50 foot below sea level and walked the length of the 850-foot dock, marveling at the 320 plus, 4-tonne, keel blocks on which the spine of the Titanic rested. It was very eerie to be down there and amazing to think of the water being let in through the 2 culverts and pumped out by the pump house. Amazing feats of engineering.

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