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Events mark Belfast City Cemetery’s 150th anniversary

24 Jul 2019
A free heritage open day and series of guided walking tours will mark the 150th anniversary of Belfast City Cemetery at the beginning of August.

On Saturday 3 August (12noon to 4pm), a free heritage open day will celebrate the cemetery’s fascinating history with a range of traditional heritage and craft demonstrations, biodiversity activities, plus a sneak peek of forthcoming City Cemetery Living History tours featuring some well-known faces from the city’s past. Visitors will also hear all about the exciting £2.3 million restoration project, which will protect and enhance the site’s existing heritage.

At the event, there will also be an opportunity to meet the team from Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) and learn more about how to access public records, trace family history and connect cemetery records with other historical information.

On Thursday 1 August (12noon to 4.30pm), exactly 150 years after the cemetery first opened, visitors can hear the fascinating stories of some of the people who helped shape Belfast's rich history through a series of free walking tours. As spaces are limited on each tour, booking is essential. Visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/citycemeteryheritage for details.

Alderman Brian Kingston, Chair of Belfast City Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, said: “These heritage-focused events are an extremely fitting way to mark this very special milestone for City Cemetery, one of Belfast’s most important historical sites. 

“The cemetery includes numerous monuments and headstones that tell the story of Belfast and its people, including some of the city’s most prominent figures. It is also home to a wealth of fascinating features such as the Central Steps, the Victorian Fountain, the Jewish Cemetery and commemorations from both world wars. 

“The events come a few months ahead of work commencing on an ambitious heritage regeneration project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Belfast City Council. This will involve restoration of key listed assets, construction of a new visitor centre and the addition of innovative interpretive material throughout the site. I would therefore encourage people to come along on 3 August to find out more.”

Paul Mullan, Director of The National Lottery Heritage Fund added: “Belfast City Cemetery has a fascinating past and provides important connections to our history, our community and our natural heritage. 

“We hope many more people will be encouraged to visit the cemetery once it has been restored, to learn more about the City’s diverse history and enjoy the open green space. National Lottery investment has secured the cemetery’s future and its place as another key visitor attraction for the city.”

Full details of the 150th anniversary celebration events and the heritage restoration project are available at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/citycemeteryheritage
An open heritage day on 3 August and guided tours on 1 August will mark Belfast City Cemetery’s 150th anniversary Belfast City Cemetery’s 150th anniversary will be celebrated this August with an open heritage day and free tours Living History tour characters Edward Harland and Lady Pirrie pictured at Belfast City Cemetery ahead of events to mark its 150th anniversary Living History tour characters Edward Harland and Lady Pirrie at Belfast City Cemetery