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Milltown is focus of an idea to ease space fears

Student’s vision of new crematorium

By Gráinne Brinkley

A BELFAST architecture graduate has unveiled his plans for a crematorium complex that could be built beside Milltown Cemetery.Eddie McCartney, a mature student from Andersonstown, drew up the plans as part of his Architecture Masters thesis project with the University of Ulster.

He came up with the idea for a crematorium facility after realising that West Belfast’s two main cemeteries were nearing full capacity while the city’s only other graveyard and crematorium,  at East Belfast’s Roselawn Cemetery, was too inaccessible.

“Milltown and the adjacent City Cemetery were opened in 1869 and 1870 respectively and are now practically full up,” said Eddie.

“Belfast will then be served solely by Roselawn which has ample room for expansion but is located on the outskirts of Belfast, accessible only by car or private transport. Unlike Roselawn, Milltown has strong emotional and historic ties with the nationalist population of the city and beyond so I came up with idea of designing a crematorium that could be located here.”

It’s envisaged that the project will be sited on a piece of land between St Gall’s GAA Club and Milltown cemetery.

“There are still old buildings on that site where the old St Gall’s disco would have been,” explained Eddie.

“The idea is to build this in the footprint of those buildings. As well as a crematorium, the project will include two commemoration rooms, a chapel and a small monastery. In the footprint of the old industrial school my design drops about two metres into what forms a commemoration garden where someone can sit a reflect on those that have passed and their loved ones.

“You will also be sitting at the same level as the dead, six feet down, roughly.  The project itself could be quite strong if it is ever commissioned. I want to bring the monks back in to be caretakers for the site.  There’s certainly a strong religious feel to it.”

The intriguing plans are currently being displayed on Floor E at the University of Ulster’s Belfast city centre campus in the Architecture Department up until the end of this week.

“Anyone is welcome to come along and view them,” said Eddie. “I firmly believe it  would be a great asset for the area if it was ever realised and it would also give Milltown Cemetery a strong focal point.”

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