Milltown Cemetary is located on the Falls Road in Belfast, Co.Antrim. It opened in in 1869 and aproximately 200,000 of Belfast’s citizens are buried there. Those interred there are mostly Roman Catholic, working class citizens.
The cemetary has its own republican plot where 77 IRA men are buried. The men buried here include famous hunger-strikers Bobby Sands, Kieran Doherty, Joe McDonnell and Pat McGeown. Throughout the cemetary many more IRA volunteers are buried in family graves, most notably, Tom Williams who was executed in Crumlin Road Prison on 2 September 1942. He was originally buried in a prison grave but campaigns from the National Graves Association had him re-interred in milltown in January 2000.
Milltown Cemetary Attack
Milltown Cemetary was the scene of an attack from loyalist parimilatary member Michael Stone attacked a crowd mourning three Provisional IRA members who were shot dead by the SAS whilst trying to plant a bomb in Gibraltar. He attacked them with Grenades and pistols killing three and injuring sixty others.
The Polish Graves
Not many people know about the five polish airmen buried in The “Blitz Graves” These six men had escaped to Britain after the Germans and Soviets had entered Poland. They joined The RAF and were patrolling the Bay of Biscay when their airplane came into trouble because of the weather conditions. They were on there way back to Britain when they crashed into the Co. Kerry mountains killing all six on board. Their bodies were handed over to the British Forces by an Irish National Guard at the Monaghan/Armagh border where they proceeded to Milltown Cemetary for burial. All but Sergeant Hirsz Kuflik were buried in Milltown. Sergeant Kuflik was buried in a Jewish Cemetary in Carnmoney.
The “Poor Ground”
Within the cemetary there are three large areas of open space, each approximately the size of a soccer pitch which has been given the name “Poor Ground.” The citizens buried there could not afford a proper grave in which to have their remains buried with dignity. Most of the 80,000 citizens buried there died in the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1919.