History and heritage of City Cemetery to be brought to the fore

Councillor Stevie Corr at Belfast City Cemetery Councillor Stevie Corr at Belfast City Cemetery
By Brónach Ní Thuama

AMBITIOUS plans for the City Cemetery are about to be realised and Belfast City Council wants to hear from you.

Cllr Steven Corr, chair of the Falls Park/City Cemetery Masterplan Group, said the cemetery is one of the jewels of Belfast but has been in the news for the wrongs reasons recently.

“We want to show it in a positive light, we have lots of different plans for the site,” he revealed. “We have the Forget Me Not sculpture, the monument for the baby plot, there is an outside classroom in the Falls Park, a new pitch, and changing facilities, and we have the Memorial War Graves in the cemetery.”

The group have been successful and have received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Parks for People Programme to develop a large scale heritage project. The project is designed to protect and enhance the history and heritage of the site and allow more people to access and understand it.

“We want to get tour guides in here, Tom Hartley’s tours are always a highlight of Féile and we want that to continue all year long by bringing tour guides in so that people begin to understand the amazing history of this cemetery,” said Cllr Corr.

“Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin in the mid-80’s was a drug hotspot, now it’s been turned around and transformed by a very progressive management committee and it is now one of the top four tourist attractions in the island of Ireland, we want to replicate that here.

“There are so many historical graves here and it would be a shame if those stories were to be lost. We want hundreds of people in here doing daily tours, we want to attract tourists and school children in to learn the history of Belfast.”

He added: “There will be an interpretive centre which will allow people to come in and research their family trees and genealogy.

“There’s an inscription in Hebrew in the Jewish plot of the cemetery which reads ‘you are entering the house of eternal life’ we want that feeling for all of the cemetery.”

If you have any suggestions or ideas on ways to improve Belfast City Cemtery please visit Belfast City Council’s website on  www.belfastcity.gov.uk/cemeteries or you can attend an information evening on Wednesday March 22 in the Falls Bowling Pavilion from 7-9.30pm.

To book your place, or to find out more please contact Louise Browne on louisebrowneassociates.com or Tel: 074 1108 1000.

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