Pretty much all of us know the story of the Titanic—the unsinkable ship which sank in 1912—but to stand in the shipyard where it was actually built and launched was a pretty awesome experience. Even more incredible was the mammoth building in which the story is told, step by step.

The exterior is designed for the corners to look like the prows of four ships, all of Titanic life-size dimensions. Then, as you follow the story, each level inside reveals more about the craftsmanship, the interior decorating, the goods and commodities on board, the backgrounds of the passengers, the lifeboats, and so forth and so on.

There’s even a “ride” inside… A bucket-type cart that carries 4-6 passengers, suspended from the ceiling, from which you are transported back to the building of the ship. You can feel the heat of the furnaces, hear the pounding of the rivets and the voices of the workers. It’s pretty darn amazing.

Near the end, you can use the computerized manifest to see if any of your relatives were aboard. Eighty-one percent of the men died, most of them from the lower classes of farm laborers and unskilled workers. It was a humbling experience.

And then you have the option of sitting down in an amphitheater and watching the “discovery and recovery” video. As I’d seen it on TV, I opted to head for one of several cafés in the lower level and grab some lunch before we headed south, to finish our tour back where we started, in Dublin.