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City Cemetery heritage open day

Date: 3 Aug 2019
Time: 12noon-4pm
Venue: City Cemetery

To mark the 150th anniversary of Belfast City Cemetery, we are hosting a Heritage Open Day on Saturday 3 August. The event will feature heritage craft exhibitions, tours, a bee-keeper and observation bee hive, information on accessing public records from the PRONI team and an opportunity to learn about the plans for the restoration of the site. 

Belfast City Cemetery was the city’s first municipal burial ground, opened on 1 August 1869. The site is the final resting place of some of the city’s most notable figures and home to a number of fascinating architectural and historical features. It is also a rich ecosystem in the heart of the city.

There will be a range of craft demonstrations and heritage skills on display including ironmongery and wood turning and learn how heritage crafts such as scything are being re-introduced to support the biodiversity of the site. There will also be a range of biodiversity activities on the day.

Visitors will also hear more about the ambitious plans to protect and enhance the site’s existing heritage. Through funding from the National Lottery’s Heritage Fund and ourselves, the City Cemetery Heritage Project will involve restoration of key listed assets, construction of a new visitor centre and the addition of innovative interpretive material throughout the site.


History Brought To Life Enjoy a sneak preview of our exciting new Living History tour which will see actors bring to life some of the most famous and fascinating characters who are buried at the cemetery.
Danna Herron – Blacksmith Danna is one of a handful of female blacksmiths across the UK and Ireland who are keeping blacksmithing alive. Using skills passed down to her from her father, Danna will be demonstrating some of the skills and techniques of blacksmiths and displaying some of the incredible tools and implements involved in the process.
Steve Ryan – Green Woodwork Witness a traditional woodland workshop in action. Step back in time and immerse yourself in the skills of the craftsman producing his wares with the use of the shave horse and pole lathe. Children's toys, spoons, bowls and furniture are all produced using traditional techniques dating back hundreds of years.
Jonathan Ross - Windsor Chair Making Jonathan will enter into a whole different kind of woodworking where hand tools, thought, practice and patience are key. There are no nails or screws used in making handmade Windsor Chairs, they are fitted by hand by working with the inherent properties of the wood.
Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) The team from PRONI will be at the Cemetery to help visitors learn more about how the public records are open to everyone and can be used to help trace family history, discover long lost relatives and connect cemetery records with other information.



While the cemetery is fully accessible, parts of the site have severe slopes and may not be accessible for wheelchair users or people with mobility issues.


Parking and public transport

There's limited parking available on site but excellent public transport connections. The new Glider service 'City Cemetery' stop is right outside the main entrance.

For more information email

City Cemetery 150th anniversary guided tours

Hear the fascinating stories of some of the people who helped shape Belfast's rich history with a series of free walking tours to mark the cemetery's 150th anniversary.

City Cemetery heritage open day

Talks and lectures