Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ireland - last day

Ireland – Day 7 – April 15th

Today is our last full day in Ireland. I guess I could say it is our last day, since we get on a ferry at 7:30 tomorrow morning to go over to Scotland. I am sitting in the kitchen of our little cottage looking out over the green fields, there is low fog and when I first looked out it was a little spooky. Now with the fog lifting it is just another day, the ghosts are gone for now.

Today we are heading into Belfast, where one of the places we will be seeing is the Titanic museum, I am sure there will be ghosts lurking there. I'll let you know.

So we dropped my beloved off at the records office and she was not able to get any information since it did not have much Catholic information. She was directed to another place where she was able to get a birth certificate for her grandmother. The trail might end here due to the fact that they only started keeping records in 1865 and lots of births were not recorded before that.

The rest of us went to the Titanic museum. The Titanic was actually the second in a group of three ships built by the White Star Company. The Olympic, Titanic and Britanic, otherwise known as the Beloved, the Bedamned and the Forgotten.

The Titanic was the largest, she was built about a mile from the pump house and dry dock where she was painted and her propellors installed. The dry dock was huge over 850 feet long and 140 wide, it was a marvel. They would flood the dry dock and float the ship into it and then empty the water out while the ship balanced on its keel and other little things (well not little) to help hold it upright.

It was interesting to learn that the ship was basically just a shell when she was put into the water at first, they loaded her up with engines, smokestacks (one of which was a dummy), furniture, etc once she was in the water.

The men (only men) worked on her for three years and when she was due to be put into the water, they had to take a half a day off without pay to watch it happen. They made about a pound a week, the more skilled workers made a little more and the captain made not even 30 pounds a week.

There were eleven men killed in the making of the Titanic, which is surprising because the working conditions were terrible. They worked from 5:30 in the morning until 5:30 at night all for less than a cup of tea costs today. They also got 7 minutes a day for bathroom breaks, I would be in so much trouble. Belfast became the worlds biggest and best shipyard in the world, that has changed. They now produce wind turbines that are sold around the world.

The ship workers in Belfast have this to say about the sinking of the Titanic.

“The ship was in fine shape when she left here. That's what happens when you give her to an English captain and Scottish navigator.”

Next we headed into Belfast for lunch at Garricks Pub, which was brilliant!

Then my beloved went off the the place where they keep the Catholic records where she found the above birth certificate.

The rest of us took a look at Belfast's City Hall. It reminded me of San Francisco City Hall a little bit. They had an exhibition about the bombing of Belfast during WWII. It took everyone by surprise I guess, everyone thought Belfast was just to far away to worry about being bombed. They were very wrong, over 700 people died in one night and half the city was destroyed.

Then over to St. Anne's Cathedral, which was unfortunately had just closed. Oh well.

Then over to Crown Bar. It was full of cool stained glass and wood, but was so crowed we ended up across the street for a pint before heading back to our little cottage.

Now we are sitting around the kitchen trying to eat up what we can since we hit the road in the early am to catch a ferry to Scotland.

1 comment:

Dawn said...

This blog is the best - I feel as if I was on vacation with you discovering the countryside of Ireland.