Belfast City 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 1 August 1869 as the city's first municipal burial ground. The cemetery provides an important insight into the history of Belfast and is a recognised historical site. Approximately 225,153 people have been buried in the graveyard, including politicians, businessmen, inventors and industrialists. Belfast City Council in partnership with Northern Ireland Tourist Board, has developed a self-guided walking trail which tells the stories of some of these famous people buried in the cemetery, as well as linking Belfast City Cemetery’s maritime heritage and Titanic Belfast.
Since 1869, over 250,000 burials have taken place at Belfast City Cemetery including William Pirrie, Chairman of Harland & Wolff shipyard, builders of Titanic; Thomas ‘The Tobacco King’ Gallaher , founder of Gallaher ’s tobacco company; Frank Workman, founder of the Workman Clarke shipyard; Dr Thomas Andrews, a medical practitioner and chemist whose pioneering work led to the development of modern refrigeration; and Alexander Hogg, one of the great photographers of the early twentieth century.
In the Victorian age, cemeteries were considered to be amenities, like parks and gardens, and were usually laid out in a similar way. Belfast City Cemetery was no exception. It was designed by the surveyor and landscape gardener William Gay of Bradford, who arranged the cemetery’s road network in the form of a bell, perhaps reflecting the ‘Bel’ in Belfast. This beautiful design made the cemetery a desirable final resting-place for well-to-do Belfast folk, as is evidenced by the large ornate monuments. The cemetery also captures the diversity, breadth and complexity of the city, with separate sections set aside for Protestant, Catholic and Jewish burials, as well as a Poor Ground.
The Maritime and Industrial Heritage Trail signs will help you to uncover and explore this fascinating place.
Belfast City Cemetery is open:
-1 to 31 March - 8am to 6pm (Monday to Saturday) and 10am to 6pm (Sunday)
-1 April to 30 September - 8am to 6pm (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday), 8am to 8pm (Tuesday and Thursday) and 10am to 6pm (Sunday)
- 1 to 31 October - 8am to 6pm (Monday to Saturday) and 10am to 6pm (Sunday)
- 1 November to 28 February - 8am to 4pm (Monday to Saturday) and 10am to 4pm (Sunday)