The Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival was held over Saturday and Sunday, 19th and 20th May. I went on the Saturday. It was a great day, warm and sunny and busy enough, but the North West 200 motorcycle races and the FA Cup Final were on the same day and kept numbers down.
I think there were fewer ships than in earlier years but there were at least four tall ships and they’re always impressive. Ever popular, queues formed at their gangplanks quickly and remained fairly constant.
I’ve add a few photographs below and I’ll be posting more over the next few days.
Strictly speaking I don’t think HMS Caroline was part of the Maritime Festival but she sits in Titanic Quarter adjacent to the Thompson Dock and certainly deserves a mention. I hadn’t seen her for a few years and to be honest she was becoming a sorry sight. On seeing her I was delighted at the transformation.
Caroline is a light cruiser and was launched in 1914. She was active in the First World War and saw action in the Battle of Jutland. In 1924 she was moved to Belfast and became headquarters for the Ulster Division of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
In 1939, during the second World War, she became a depot ship to an anti-submarine striking force of patrol vessels and remained active throughout the conflict.
At the end of the war Caroline returned to Belfast and at her decommissioning in 2011 she was the second oldest ship in Royal Navy Service. Unfortunately she sat neglected for years until, aided by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, she was restored to pristine condition and opened to the public in 2016.