Date: 03 Mar 2021
Construction has begun on a new state-of-the-art visitor centre at Belfast City Cemetery as part of an ambitious £2.3 million heritage project.
Dating back to the 1860s, the cemetery is one of Belfast’s most historically significant sites where some of its most influential figures are buried including Edward Harland, Margaret Byers and Sir William Pirrie.
The new centre is a key part of the project which aims to protect and enhance the existing heritage of the cemetery and ensure current and future generations are able to access and understand its fascinating history. Funding has been provided by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Belfast City Council.
Alongside the new visitor centre, the cemetery’s listed assets are being restored, new interpretive signs will be installed and new technology will be introduced to help visitors navigate the vast site. A comprehensive activity programme is also being developed to attract more visitors in future through guided tours, schools programmes, workshops and events.
Lord Mayor of Belfast Alderman Frank McCoubrey said: “There is a wealth of history and heritage within the walls of City Cemetery so I’m delighted to see work getting underway on the new visitor centre. It will be key to attracting more visitors and transforming how people interact with the cemetery, helping to unlock its many stories.
“The new centre will be a flexible space, acting as a welcome area, an interpretive centre and an education space. Alongside traditional interpretive displays, digital information points will provide insights into the history of the site and the notable figures who are buried there.
“Workstations will also be installed to help people research their genealogy, while an indoor and outdoor educational space will help open up the site’s rich heritage to schools and youth groups in the years ahead.”
Mukesh Sharma, Chair of the The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Northern Ireland, said: “We are delighted to support the restoration and development of Belfast City Cemetery. Thanks to National Lottery players, this project will strengthen the community by helping local people better understand their heritage and help others discover their own.
“Belfast City Cemetery is rich in heritage and this new visitor centre will help to preserve the many unique stories of its past, whilst also ensuring a wide range of people can access and understand its history.”
For more information visit the City Cemetery heritage project webpage.