RTÉ
15 April 2012

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A minute’s silence was observed after wreaths were laid at the memorial

A new memorial garden was opened alongside Belfast City Hall this morning to mark the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic.

More than 1,500 passengers, crew and musicians died when the liner struck an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic on 15 April 1912.

A feature of the garden is a series of plaques listing the names of the 1,512 people who lost their lives when the vessel sank en route to New York.

A minute’s silence was also held after the memorial garden was opened.

The boat was built in Belfast and relatives of workmen who made and work on the vessel were present for today’s ceremony.

Dr Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreck in 1985, was in Belfast for today’s ceremony and delivered a memorial lecture yesterday.

He spoke about the next 100 years, of preserving the wreck and making it available to all via communications technology, beaming live images from the depths.

This afternoon the Taoiseach officially opened the Titanic Memorial Park in the village of Lahardane in Co Mayo.

14 people left the parish of Addergoole to board the Titanic for America; 11 died while three women survived. Some of their descendants have returned from America for the commemoration.

Local people fundraised to build a memorial park, which includes life-size bronze sculptures of Titanic passengers and the bow of the ship.

A hearth has also been built with stones collected from the cottages of the Addergoole 14.

This weekend villagers unveiled an 80ft replica of the Titanic on the water beside Addergoole Cemetary. It was built in secret over four months by local men.

This morning at 2.20am – the precise time of the sinking of the ship – the lights on the model ship were extinguished as the bell tolled in the church at Lahardane.

Elsewhere, a wreath-laying ceremony took place this morning aboard the Le Eithne at the Titanic’s last anchorage in Cork harbour.

There have been other ceremonies across the world to recognise the ship’s sinking.

Out in the Atlantic, a cruise ship tracing the liner’s route across the ocean paused at a point over the wreck.

A memorial service was held on the MS Balmoral and wreaths were thrown into the sea.

In the Canadian city of Halifax, where 150 victims of the disaster are buried, church bells rang out to mark the anniversary and there was a candle-lit procession.

Meanwhile in Lichfield in England, more than 1,500 candles were laid at the statue of Edward Smith, the Titanic’s captain.

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