Titanic: How can a disastrous ship be celebrated?

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No other ship comes close to rivalling the gigantic shadow cast by the Titanic. A hundred years after its completion, it's still the most iconic vessel to have set sail.

Its tragic maiden voyage has become shorthand for catastrophic hubris - the "unsinkable" ship that hit an iceberg and sank, causing the deaths of 1,503 passengers and crew. And yet in one corner of the UK, the Titanic is a byword not for disaster but a source of pride and nostalgia.

When its hull was launched at Belfast's Harland and Wolff shipyard on 31 May 1911, it was the largest ship in the world, measuring 886ft (270m) long.

And in Northern Ireland that's where the story ends, says Mick Fealty, editor of the news site Slugger O'Toole.

Rather than a maritime disaster, the Titanic is an engineering triumph. There's a common Belfast joke, says the Irish writer Ruth Dudley Edwards, that taps into this feeling: "It was fine when it left us."...

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