Mayor’s ‘grave’ invite

Belfast Mayor, Tom Hartley, has developed a reputation for his interest in the history of people buried in the two main cemeteries in west Belfast, particularly the City Cemetery, where some 225,000 Belfast residents found their resting place. Now, in conjunction with the City Hall, the local politician has organised a special Visitors Day for the City Cemetery today, with the expressed hope of encouraging members of the protestant community to visit the cemetery in recognition of the fact that the once predominantly protestant cemetery became virtually off-limits during the conflict here due to its location. Anyone who has been on Hartley’s mammoth tour of the cemetery during the annual Feile an Phobail will testify to Hartley’s knowledge of and passion for the subject, so much so that the running joke is that Hartley’s advice that tourists bring a packed lunch for the tour should be replaced with advice to bring a packed breakfast, lunch, dinner and sleeping bag…