Belfast City Cemetery
Address: Falls Road (junction of Whiterock Road)
Contact information: Call the cemetery site office on 028 9032 3112. It is open from 8.30am daily until 5pm (Monday to Thursday), 4.30pm (Friday) and 12.30pm (Saturday).
|1 November to 28 February
||8am - 4pm (Monday to Saturday) and 10am - 4pm (Sunday)
||Opening hours may vary during public holidays - View holiday opening hours
The cemetery is served by Metro services 10A-H, which leave from Queen Street and pass the front gate of the cemetery. Call us 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.
Belfast's first municipal cemetery is to benefit from National Lottery funding to help restore its historic features and raise awareness of its huge heritage value.
The City Cemetery will be the focus of a new project designed to reconnect people to the heritage of the cemetery, its monuments, memorials and the prominent figures laid to rest within its walls.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a development grant of £165,800 which will enable us to draw up detailed plans for the cemetery over the next 18 months. These plans will then allow us to submit a further application for delivery funding.
The grant has been issued under HLF's Parks for People programme and this was the only project in Northern Ireland to receive an offer during this round of funding. The programme is designed to conserve the existing heritage of parks and cemeteries across the UK and make a lasting difference to local communities.
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.
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.
Some of Belfast's most famous figures are buried in Belfast City Cemetery.
- 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.