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Learning English - Beyond the Postcard
  Belfast text

Industry in Belfast
Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland and is an industrial city. This text looks at some of the features of that industry including shipbuilding and linen production.

Read the text, then try the comprehension exercise below.

  Belfast Titanic at Belfast
Belfast's position on the River Lagan and at the head of a lough open to the sea helped shipbuilding become one of the city's major industries. Although a whole series of successful ocean liners were built at the Harland & Wolff shipyard, it is best known for building the Titanic. At that time the largest liner in the world, she sank in 1912 on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic. An iceberg tore an underwater gash in the ship's side 100m long.

The activity in Harland & Wolff's shipyard today shows how our relationship with the sea has changed. Now oil rigs dominate the skyline.

Belfast, as Ireland's only industrial city, is not just famous for its shipbuilding, however. For hundreds of years, linen has also been produced here, first as a 'cottage industry' carried on at home, and then in factories.

Linen, derived from flax, is one of the oldest materials known to man. Some linen cloth used in mummification has been identified as 4,500 years old.

Many of the buildings in central Belfast, especially former warehouses in Linen Hall Street and Franklin Street, reflect the heyday of linen manufacture. But it is not a dead industry. Many of the factories that were out in the countryside to the south have gone, but one of the oldest, Thomas Ferguson in Banbridge, is still active and successful.

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Exercise - Comprehension

Look at the statements below, according to the text are they true or false?

1: Belfast's location was useful for shipbuilding.  
2: Shipbuilding is still the main industry of Harland and Wolff.  
3: There are many industrial cities in Ireland.  
4: Linen has been produced in Ireland for more than 4,000 years.  
5: Now there are not many linen manufacturers.  
Check your answers Check your answers

Links for more information
Ulster Titanic Society
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