Ireland's Republican Patriot Dead Milltown Cemetery 🪦 🇮🇪

The New Republican Plot 🇮🇪

Winifred Carney 🇮🇪

77 Volunteers Lie Here including Hunger Strikers Bobby Sands, Kieran Doherty and Joe McDonnell 🇮🇪

Bobby Sands IRA Funeral Final Salute 🇮🇪

Milltown Cemetery

#milltowncemetery #milltown #cemetery #belfast #westbelfast

This is a Roman Catholic cemetery located adjacent to Belfast City Cemetery. Milltown Cemetery (Irish: Reilig Bhaile an Mhuilinn) is a large cemetery in west Belfast, North of Ireland.

It lies within the townland of Ballymurphy, between Falls Road and the M1 motorway. Milltown Cemetery opened in 1869 as part of the broader provision of services for the city of Belfast's expanding Catholic population. The cemetery was an important development in the episcopal reign of Bishop Patrick Dorrian of the Diocese of Down and Connor.

Although the cemetery's history and story is often presented as a nationalist and Irish Republican site, in fact the overwhelming majority of the approximately 200,000 of Belfast dead who are buried there were ordinary, unknown Catholics.

Within the cemetery there are three large sections of open space, each about the size of a football pitch, designated as "poor ground". Over 80,000+ people are buried in the cemetery's poor grounds, many of whom died in the Spanish flu pandemic of 1919.

Irish Republican Patriot Dead Milltown Cemetery 🪦🇮🇪

The cemetery has, for some, become synonymous with Irish republicanism. It is worth noting that the presence of the Red Hand ✋ on some graves indicates that the grave is under the care of the National Graves Association Belfast, an organisation which undertakes to care for and maintain the graves of some Irish Republican Army volunteers who are buried in Belfast cemeteries . Irish Republican Army Prisoner of War Bobby Sands, who died on hunger strike on 5 May 1981, is buried in the cemetery. Fellow hunger-strikers, Kieran Doherty, Joe McDonnell and Pat McGeown (who died a number of years later from ill-health brought about by the hunger strike) are also buried there. In total, 77 IRA volunteers are buried in what is known as the 'New Republican Plot', a further 34 volunteers are buried in what is known as the County Antrim Memorial Plot and which was used between 1969 and 1972. Throughout the cemetery, many more IRA volunteers are buried in family graves. These include Tom Williams, who was executed in Crumlin Road Prison on 2 September 1942. Williams' body lay in a prison grave until January 2000, when a campaign, by the National Graves Association, Belfast, to have his remains re-interred in Milltown was successful. Members of the INLA, IPLO and Workers' Party are also buried here.

The cemetery was the scene of the Milltown Cemetery attack (SEE BOTTOM) on 16 March 1988, when loyalist paramilitary Michael Stone attacked a funeral, killing three mourners as IRA volunteers Dan McCann, Seán Savage and Mairéad Farrell, were being buried. All three were killed on Active Service by members of the British SAS at Gibraltar during Operation Flavius.

Harbinson Plot

William Harbinson died while interned in Belfast Prison and was buried at Portmore, Ballinderry. A Celtic cross was erected to his memory, and that of other republicans who were imprisoned in County Antrim jails, in Milltown cemetery in 1912. This plot contains the remains of 5 IRA volunteers:

County Antrim Memorial Plot

Unveiled on the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising, the plot honours the county's republican dead. 34 IRA volunteers who died while on Active Service during the late 1960s and early 1970s are buried there. The County Antrim Memorial was unveiled on the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising in 1966 and lists the names of the county’s republican dead from 1798 to the present day, some of whom are buried in graveyards throughout the country. The memorial is sometimes known as the Tom Williams Plot, as a grave was reserved for him here after his execution in Belfast Prison in 1942. Tom Williams is now buried in the cemetery but in a family grave. Thirty Four IRA Volunteers who died on Active Service during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s are buried in this plot. 

New Republican Plot

In 1972, the National Graves Association purchased the ground which would become the New Republican Plot. It has space for 46 graves, each to accommodate four burials (allowing for a total of 184 coffins to be buried). The first burials here took place in July of that year. This plot contains the remains of 77 IRA Volunteers who have died while on Active Service or as a result of imprisonment or assassination, not only in Belfast but those killed as far away as Gibraltar. Here are buried those volunteers who died as a result of hunger striking.

Winifred Carney Grave

Winifred Carney, a lifelong socialist and Suffragist (died 21 November 1943) was a member of the Irish Citizen Army and Cumann na mBan. In 1916 during the Easter Rising she was secretary to Commandant James Connolly and the last woman to leave the G.P.O. 

Sean McCaughey Grave


The INLA Plot contains the remains of ten members of the Irish National Liberation Army

United Irishmen from 1797 🇮🇪

The Harbinson Plot 🇮🇪

The Hunger Strikers Memorial Stone 🇮🇪

McMahon Family Murdered by the British Empire's Colonial Police Force, Royal Irish Constabulary

Official Republican Movement 🇮🇪

Irish National Liberation Army/Irish Republican Socialist Movement 🇮🇪

Lt. General Joe McKelvey 🇮🇪

Lieutenant Tom Williams 🇮🇪

Milltown Massacre

The Milltown Cemetery attack (also known as the Milltown Cemetery killings or Milltown massacre) took place on 16 March 1988 at Milltown Cemetery in Belfast, Northern Ireland. During the large funeral of three Provisional IRA members Executed in Gibraltar, an Ulster Defence Association (A Colonial Death Squad) Loyalist Pro British Terrorist Organisation (UFF) member, Michael Stone, attacked the mourners with RGD-5 hand grenades (from Apartheid South Africa) and pistols including .357 Magnum and Browning Hi-Power 9mm. He had learned there would be no police or armed IRA members at the cemetery, there was an agreement that the RUC and British Army Who Normally Attacked Republican Funerals would not be in the Cemetery. As Stone then ran towards the nearby motorway, a large crowd began chasing him and he continued shooting and throwing grenades. Some of the crowd caught Stone and began beating him, but he was rescued by the Crown's Colonial Police Force the RUC . Three people had been killed and more than 60 wounded. The "unprecedented, one-man attack was filmed by television news crews and caused shock around the world. Three people were killed while pursuing Stone: Catholic civilians Thomas McErlean (20) and John Murray (26), and IRA Volunteer Caoimhín Mac Brádaigh (30) .