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Belfast City Cemetery

City Cemetery traffic

Visitors to City Cemetery are required to use the new one-way traffic system. 

Vehicles will no longer be permitted to exit the cemetery at the Whiterock Road (Falls Road) entrance and will now exit the site at Brittons Parade (Whiterock Road). 

Thank you for your co-operation during the Belfast Rapid System upgrade. 

Cemetery location

511 Falls Rd, Belfast BT12 6DE 

Junction of Whiterock Road.

Cemetery opening hours

Date Opening hours 
1 - 31 October  8am - 4pm (Monday to Saturday)
10am - 6pm (Sunday)
1 November - 28 February 8am - 4pm (Monday to Saturday)
10am - 4pm (Sunday)
Public holidays  Opening hours may vary during public holidays
View holiday opening hours

Bereavement Services

Our Bereavement Services Office is located on the Ground Floor, Cecil Ward Building, 4-10 Linenhall Street, Belfast, BT2 8BP.

Our phone number is 028 9027 0296.

Contact our Bereavement Services Office if you have a query about our cemeteries. 

Office opening hours

 Day  Time
Monday and Friday  8.30am - 4pm 
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday  9am - 4pm 
Saturday  8.30am - 11.30am

Access information

Heritage project at the City Cemetery

With funding from the Heritage and Lottery Fund (NI)’s Parks for People Programme, we're developing a programme to protect, enhance and promote the rich heritage of City Cemetery.

Access information

The cemetery is served by Glider route G1 in the direction of McKinstry Road which passes the front gate of the cemetery. Call 028 9066 6630 for more information. 

Black taxis, departing from the Castle Junction depot at 35a King Street, also pass by the front of the cemetery. For details, call 028 9031 5777

There is no car parking available. 

Disabled access: There is a good network of paths available but there are some gradients within the cemetery. Disabled toilet facilities are also available.

About the cemetery

Belfast City Cemetery is one of the oldest public cemeteries in Belfast.

It was purchased in 1866 by Belfast Corporation (now the council) and was officially opened on August 1, 1869 as the city's first municipal burial ground.

There are no new grave plots available in the cemetery, but burials still take place in existing graves. However, we only provide a grave burial service and do not offer natural burials in the cemetery.

We’ve developed a walking trail in partnership with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, which tells the stories of some of these famous people buried in the cemetery, as well as linking the City Cemetery’s maritime heritage and Titanic Belfast.

Find out more about the Belfast City Cemetery Maritime and Industrial Trail (PDF – 1MB)

You can pick up a copy of this guide from the Gate Lodge in the Cemetery or from the Belfast Welcome Centre.

Plot Z1 Memorial

Belfast City Council is planning to erect a permanent memorial at Plot Z1, also known as the ‘Baby Public Plot’, in the City Cemetery. The memorial will be in memory of up to 8,000 bodies buried on site, many of whom are stillborn babies or those who died shortly after birth.

As part of a wider consultation process, we set up a focus group to help inform decisions taken by our elected members around this project. With the support of the focus group, we have developed an outline design.

We ran an online questionnaire to gather views on the proposed design from 3 July to 31 August 2018. Thank you for sharing your comments. All consultation feedback will be analysed and reported through our committee and council process for approval. Once approved, the memorial will be hand carved and installed. We will continue to provide updates through social media and on this webpage throughout this time.

If you have any queries, or require further information on the development of the memorial, please contact Claire Sullivan by calling 028 9091 8779 or email sullivanc@belfastcity.gov.uk 

History

The cemetery provides an important insight into the history of Belfast. It is a recognised historical site and shows many fine examples of Victorian, Edwardian and Gothic revival architecture.  

Approximately 225,153 people have been buried in the graveyard, including politicians, businessmen, inventors and industrialists.

One of the most well known graves in the cemetery is the plot of the Ulster Female Penitentiary.  The Penitentiary, located in York Lane off Donegall Street and later at Brunswick Street, and the Ulster Magdalene Asylum were associations set up to rehabilitate women working in prostitution. Seven prostitutes are buried in this double grave, which is marked with a small cast-iron shield which bears the name of the Penitentiary.  

A number of sections in the cemetery were used for the burial of the poor. These paupers' graves have no headstones or any other form of grave marker. There are many thousands of children buried in these sections, which hold 80,208 remains in total.

Land was first acquired for a Jewish burial ground within Belfast City Cemetery in January 1871. It was accessed via a separate entrance on Whiterock Road. Above the gate, which is now bricked up, you can still read the Hebrew inscription that marked this area of the cemetery. Translated, it means 'the house of life' or 'house of the living'. The area also contained a small Tahara, similar to a synagogue or chapel, which was destroyed by vandals in the 1970s.

Written in Stone - the History of Belfast City Cemetery by Tom Hartley

Written in Stone tells the stories of the men and women who lie at rest in Belfast's first municipal burial ground, which officially opened on 1 August 1869. It contains information about the architectural diversity of the various plots and tombs, personal details of those buried in the graveyard and suggestions for walking routes through the cemetery.

Burial records

Search burial records online using our search facility.

Search for burial records in Belfast from 1869 onwards. Around 360,000 records are available from  Belfast City Cemetery, Roselawn Cemetery and Dundonald Cemetery.

Famous burials

Some of Belfast's most famous figures are buried in Belfast City Cemetery.

They include:

  • Vere Foster (1819 - 1900) - champion of the poor in Ireland, especially in relation to education
  • Margaret Byers (died February 1912) - pioneer of women's education in Belfast and principal of Victoria College
  • Margaret M Pirrie (died June 1935) – wife of Viscount Pirrie and financial supporter of the Royal Victoria Hospital
  • Sir William Whitla (1851 - 1933) - a leading physician and former pro-Vice Chancellor of Queen's University, Belfast
  • Sam Thompson (1916-1965) - playwright and author of Over The Bridge
  • Rinty Monaghan (died 1984) - first Irish boxer to be honoured by the Boxing Hall of Fame
  • Florence Lewis (died August 1908) - mother of famous author CS Lewis
  • Daniel Joseph Jaffe (died 1871) - prominent linen merchant who built the first synagogue in Belfast
  • Sir Edward Harland (1830 - 1895) - MP for north Belfast between 1886 and 1895 and co-founder of the shipbuilding company
  • Viscount Pirrie (1847 - 1924) - apprenticed to Harland and Wolff shipbuilders and associated with the building of the Titanic
  • Sir Robert Baird (1855 - 1934) - owner of the Belfast Telegraph newspaper for 48 years.

Other well known citizens buried in the cemetery include Sir Robert Anderson (co-owner of the Anderson and McAuley department store), WH Lynn (architect of many of Belfast's most prominent buildings) and famous tobacco merchant Thomas Gallaher. 


Contact us
Bereavement Services Office
028 9027 0296
Ground Floor
Cecil Ward Building
4-10 Linenhall Street
Belfast
BT2 8BP