“As soon as I got off the plane, I felt like I belonged.”
Harrington Park Titanic enthusiast Michael Booth has just returned from a whirlwind trip to Belfast and he said the experience was unbelievable.
The avid collector was invited to the Northern Irish town where the Titanic was built to pose for photos dressed Edward Smith, the captain of the famous ship.
Mr Booth has taken great pride in bringing the essence of Captain Smith to life for a number of years, sparing no expense to recreate his authentic uniform.
“People say as soon as I put on the coat, something changes,” he said.
“My posture changes and my whole air is different – like I’ve become the captain.”
Mr Booth spent one week in Belfast’s ‘Titanic quarter’.
The entire precinct has been transformed into a tourist hub for fans of the shipwreck, with various museums, hotels, rides and other attractions on site.
Mr Booth himself was one of the biggest attractions in the Titanic quarter during his mid-September visit.
“If I had charged just one pound for every photo I was in, I would have been able to live in Belfast for a year,” he said.
“There were lines of hundreds of people in the museum waiting to take photos with me.
“People would say it was scary how much I looked like the captain.
“I would even wear my coat to breakfast at the hotel so the staff could get their photo with me as well – I felt like Elvis Presley.”
Mr Booth previously visited the city in 2012 and said so much had changed since his last trip.
“There’s nothing else like it,” he said.
“It’s a very educational place.
“I would go again in a heartbeat.”
Mr Booth expects to be invited back to the Titanic Quarter in April, for the annual memorial on the date of the shipwreck.
He said a clairvoyant once told him he was so interested in the history of the Titanic because “he was on it”.
“I didn’t really believe her at first, but she also said what I do would take me interstate and across the world and, well, look at me now,” he said.
“Maybe she was right.”