Updated On: November 08, 2023 by ConnollyCove
You might be asking yourself why would knowing or even visiting a cemetery be an important part of Belfast. We have to say that Milltown Cemetery carries a history behind it that would bring it to the front lines of the important places in Belfast.
More so, Milltown Cemetery is a large cemetery found in Belfast, Northern Ireland, that lies within the townland of Ballymurphy, between Falls Road and M1 motorway. This is an old cemetery that passed through different stages of history.
It was opened back in 1869 as part of the broader provision of services for the city of Belfast’s expanding Catholic population. Since the time this cemetery was found, it has been considered an important development in the episcopal reign of Bishop Patrick Dorrian of the Diocese of Down and Connor.
History Of Milltown Cemetery
Within Milltown cemetery, there are three large sections of open space which are designated as “poor ground”, each of them is the size of a soccer football field. These poor grounds are not empty as some people think at the beginning when they first see it, but there are about 80,000 people buried in this poor grounds and many of them died of the flu pandemic (which was a deadly influenza pandemic that appeared back in 1918).
Furthermore, the history and even the story of this cemetery always refers to the place as a nationalist and Irish Republican site while in fact, the majority of those buried in there are unknown Catholics.
For some people, it might not be a place which they will be interested in visiting and to know more about its origins. While for others it could be one spot where they might go to in order to know more about those famous people who might be buried there.
Famous People Buried At This Cemetery
Along with the history, Milltown cemetery turned to be synonymous for some people with the Irish Republicanism and there are even some famous figures buried there who played their roles and parts in some of these events and strikes. One of the examples is the Irish Republican Army Volunteer, Bobby Sands, who died on hunger strike in 1981, who is buried here.
There are different other names which could be stated down and who are all buried in Milltown Cemetery as well. Actually one of the most-visited parts of the Milltown Cemetery is the “New Republican Plot” which includes the final resting place of 77 Irish Republican Army volunteers which Bobby Sands is one of them.
For those who might not know, Bobby Sands’s funeral was attended by over 100,000 people and it was seen all around the world and that could explain why his grave is still visited by lots of people to the present day.
This is one of the places to be mentioned about Belfast for the mixture of tragedy, history and conflict that it tends to carry within. Milltown Cemetery is the only graveyard in Northern Ireland that witnessed some of the largest funeral processions in all of Ireland and is also the final resting place of more than 200,000 souls.