I don’t really know where to start this post… how do you put into words a weekend like the one I’ve just had? How much fun is it possible for one bloke to have?!
I suppose I could show you some pictures of the highlights (I’ve heard they paint a thousand words after all) – but where to begin? With the gala dinner at Titanic Belfast on Friday night, where I had the HUGE privilege of saying grace before the meal, and got to see the slipways lit up at night for the first time?
But what if it paled in comparison to the grand opening on Saturday morning, where I got a front-row view alongside Rodney, one of the people involved in the whole TQ project since its very inception (no big celebs, some complained – I say that if this was a celebration of all that NI has achieved in recent years, then NI people should cut the ribbon – we don’t need to import a Hollywood star for our big moment!)
But what if an even greater highlight was taking one of the first public tours with my family and friends –
Followed by exploring the BREATHTAKING job that’s been done on the Titanic and Olympic slipways for the first time (much, much more to come on that later…!)
And what if the dinner on Friday night was immediately trumped by the dinner on Saturday night, spent in the unbeatable company of the Titanic Walking Tours gang?
And what if the highlight then became the Yardmen walk on Sunday morning, footstepping the dockers on their way from East Belfast to the slipways?
But what if the Dock Walk that afternoon was even more special, as we finally stood, walked, prayed and worshipped in Titanic Belfast and on the slipways after peering at them through the fence on every previous Dock Walk since Day One?!
And what if that Dock Walk was then topped by the one on Monday 2nd April – the day Titanic left Belfast – which began with a breakfast in Titanic Belfast featuring a showstopping new choral piece sung by a shared medley of school choirs on the Grand Staircase, a display of vintage cars and a balloon-release:
– and then included the Dock Walk to mark Titanic’s departure, tracing her story from beginning to the day she sailed down Belfast Lough into the sunset and marking the centenary of that moment by standing on the spot where Robert Welsh stood to take his iconic photograph
– before watching A Night To Remember for the first time in the open air cinema at the Thompson Dock (complete with rain shower at the exact moment the Titanic sank on screen – talk about interactive cinema!)
Or was the highlight a preview tour of SS Nomadic this morning – which looks awesome even in its work-in-progress state?
You see my problem?! – when every day is better, more joyful, more hopeful, more moving – how can I keep describing it? How can I keep finding new superlatives? How can my words ever express or give thanks for the immense, blessed days we are living through?