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Cemeteries

Belfast City Cemetery

  • Location and opening hours

    Address

    511 Falls Road
    Belfast
    BT12 6DE 

    Junction of Whiterock Road.

    Opening hours

    Day Open
    Monday  8am - 6pm                      
    Tuesday  8am - 6pm
    Wednesday 8am - 6pm
    Thursday 8am - 6pm
    Friday 8am - 6pm
    Saturday 10am - 6pm
    Sunday 10am - 6pm
  • Burial arrangements

    From 6pm on Friday 16 October, funerals are limited to 25 people in attendance based on the most recent Government guidance. This covers both attendance at burials and outside the crematorium. These measures will be in place until Friday 13 November.

    We deeply regret any distress caused to bereaved families during these difficult times.

  • Bereavement services

    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
  • How to get to the cemetery

    The cemetery is served by Glider route G1 in the direction of McKinstry Road which passes the front gate of the cemetery. 

    Black taxis, departing from the Castle Junction depot at 35a King Street, also pass by the front of the cemetery. 

    There is no car parking available. 

  • Accessibility

    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.

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


    City Cemetery heritage project

    With funding from the National Lottery's Heritage Fund, we are investing £2.3million to protect, enhance and promote the cemetery's rich heritage. The investment aims to transform how people view and use the cemetery.

    To read about this work, go to City Cemetery Heritage Project.
     

  • Plot Z1 Memorial

    Following an engagement process with families, a permanent memorial at Plot Z1, also known as the ‘Baby Haven’, was unveiled at City Cemetery on Thursday 12 September.

    The memorial is in memory of 7,160 babies buried on site.

    Representatives of the families involved in the design unveiled the memorial with stonemason Charlotte Howarth and the Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor John Finucane.

    The unveiling was followed by a dedication service on site and refreshments in the Falls Park Bowling Pavilion (situated within Falls Park), Falls Road, BT12 6AN.

    If you have any queries or need access assistance you can email cemeteries@belfastcity.gov.uk or call 028 9027 0690.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

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