2017 Annual General Meeting : Masonic Orphans Welfare Committee.

The Arthur Square Masonic Centre, Belfast.

The Arthur Square Masonic Centre, Belfast.

I was very grateful to the members of The Masonic Orphans Welfare Committee for their kind invitation to attend the Annual General Meeting of their Committee, which was held in one of the top floor function rooms of the Arthur Square Masonic Centre, on Saturday the 11th March 2017.

Right Wor Bro John Dickson P.G,M of Antrim with some of the Committee Members.

Right Wor Bro John Dickson P.G,M of Antrim with some of the Committee Members.

Their Guest of Honour on this occasion was Right Worshipful Brother John Dickson, Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim, and he performed the important duty as Chairman, to superintend the annual election of Officers to serve on The Masonic Orphan’s Welfare Committee for the year 2017-18. The meeting was well attended by members of the Orphan’s Welfare Committee, and they were supported by a number of representatives from The Belfast Masonic Charity Fund and the Belfast Masonic Widow’s Fund.

Wor Bro Michael Alexander.

Wor Bro Michael Alexander.

The meeting began promptly at 11.00AM with the Summons to Attend, followed by a report from Wor Bro Michael Alexander with a few of the many thank-you letters received from third level students who have received financial support through the efforts of this committee. A number of these letters were read, from recipients, living all over the island of Ireland, who are currently at various stages in their university studies, on a wide range of academic subjects. The general theme, from most of these students, is the fact that these financial grants, remove an element of worry from all of these recipients, allowing them to concentrate fully on their studies.

The Honorary Treasurer Making his Report.

The Honorary Treasurer Making his Report.

The second report came from Wor Bro David Wallace, Honorary Treasurer, which laid out in great detail, the sound financial investments and, ongoing fund raising underway to under-right the work of this Committee. In this the Centenary Year of The Masonic Orphan’s Welfare Committee, he spent some time on how the Committee were going to mark this important anniversary, with the production and sale of Centenary Jewels to mark the work of the fund, and their forthcoming Centenary Dinner, which will be held in the Hilton Hotel, Belfast in the run-up to the Summer.

Our next report, from Wor Bro Alan R.G. Patterson was particularly moving, as it, in fact would be his final report, marking the completion of 24 years as the Honorary Secretary of the Masonic Orphan’s Welfare Committee. This remarkable record of service to our charities was commented upon by Right Worshipful Brother John Dickson, who thanked him, for his dedication and contribution to the work of this Committee for a period just one year short of the past quarter century.

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The Honorary Secretary reading his 24th and final report to the Committee.

The Honorary Secretary reading his 24th and final report to the Committee.

At this point Right Worshipful Bro Dickson assumed the Chair and declared that all Offices in the Committee were now vacant. The various elections took place and the newly appointed members were confirmed in their various offices. I’m sure, that you will all, join with me in congratulating all those volunteers, who work within this Committee, in support of its stated aims – to advise, encourage, assist and promote the welfare of necessitous orphans and children of Freemasons, provided that they are not more than 25 years of age. I should of course note, that this is an active Committee with nine monthly meetings a year, as they receive applications and manage the issue of grants to approved applicants every year.

The Committee is permitted to appeal for funds from the Order at large, but has never yet done so. However it receives many welcome donations, in support of its objectives, from all branches of the Masonic Order, including from a number of the District Charity Committees, North and South.

At this point in their deliberations, the formal part of the meeting was concluded, and we moved into the Dining Room, next door for an enjoyable lunch. And on this occasion, another milestone was reached, as Flo, the well-known and respected Caterer at Arthur Square, will be stepping down after some 30 years of service, catering to the many branches and committees that regularly use the rooms in Arthur Square. Wor Bro Walker, Chairman of the Committee, invite Flo in to join with the Committee after lunch, when he presented her with a card and token of thanks from the Committee, for all the work she had done over the years, providing the lunches after each Annual General Meeting.

[The Committee is permitted to appeal for funds from the Order at large, but has never yet done so. However it receives many welcome donations, in support of its objectives, from all branches of the Masonic Order, including from a number of the District Charity Committees, North and South.

At this point in their deliberations, the formal part of the meeting was concluded, and we moved into the Dining Room, next door for an enjoyable lunch. And on this occasion, another milestone was reached, as Flo, the well-known and respected Caterer at Arthur Square, will be stepping down after some 30 years of service, catering to the many branches and committees that regularly use the rooms in Arthur Square. Wor Bro Walker, Chairman of the Committee, invite Flo in to join with the Committee after lunch, when he presented her with a card and token of thanks from the Committee, for all the work she had done over the years, providing the lunches after each Annual General Meeting.

Presentation to Flo to mark 30 years service to the Committee in its catering arrangements.

Presentation to Flo to mark 30 years service to the Committee in its catering arrangements.

large wp-image-3218″ /> Centenary Jewel of The Masonic Orphans Welfare Committee.[/caption]

The Committee still meets under the watchful eye of their founder.

The Committee still meets under the watchful eye of their founder.

Then I was invited to say a few words on the life and Masonic career of Rt Wor Bro Sir Robert Hanley Baird KBE, Past Grand Treasurer of The Grand Lodge of Ireland and a past First Grand Principal of The District Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Antrim. This presentation will appear separately as an illustrated article on the www.irishfreemasonry.com website in the next couple of days.

Summary of the story of Sir Robert Baird. Summary of the story of Sir Robert Baird.[/caption Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trinity – The University Preceptory, Twenty Fifth Anniversary Stick-Pin.

Dublin Preceptory pin Image No 2.

On the front of the pin is the crest associated with Trinity College Dublin, with a seven pointed star beneath, containing a Christian cross and the latin motto “In Hoc Signo Vinces”. Around the perimeter of the entire pin is the legend “A.O.754 University Preceptory A.O.779”. On the reverse is a set of silver date stamps and a makers mark for J.R. Ryan & Company, Dublin.

Silver Stamps from rear of Pin.

Foundation of University Preceptory.

On the 31st January 1872, a Warrant was granted to the Brethren and Knights Companions of the University Encampment by The Supreme Grand Encampment of H.K.T. of Ireland signed by Leinster Grand Master and countersigned by Charles Walmsley Grand Registrar to form University Preceptory. The founders names, noted on the Warrant were:-
Charles Capel MacNamara, LL.D.
Sir Edward B Sinclair, M.D.
Humphrey Minchin, M.B.
Canon Henry H.J. Westby, D.D.
Edward W. Maunsell, M.A.
Sir John T. Banks, K.C.B., M.D.
John Ringland, M.D.

The inaugural meeting was held on Saturday, 6th April 1872, when the Warrant constituting the Encampment was proclaimed, and Sir Knight Charles Capel MacNamara was duly installed as Commander.

Origins of the Encampment.

IN 1870, Canon Henry H. Westby, Reverend Joseph Galbraith and William Stoker with others applied to The Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes and were issued with Warrant number 33 I.C. to hold a Lodge in the Metropolitan District of Dublin, to be known as The University Lodge.

The first meeting of the University Lodge was held at Freemasons’ Hall on the 7th February, 1871, the warrant having been granted on the petition of the following distinguished Brethren:-

Canon the Rev. H.H. Westby, David R. Plunkett, Q.C. (now the Right Hon. First Commissioner of Works), C. Capel McNamara, LL.D., J.T. Banks, M.D. (later Sir John Banks), E.B. Sinclair, John Ringland, John Fox Goodman, Humphrey Minchin, E.W. Maunsell, Rawdon Macnamara, M.D., Rev. Joseph A. Galbraith, S.F.T.C.D., William Stoker, M.K.Q.C.P., Charles Foot, M.D., R.W. Gamble, Vaughan Boulger, Henry Fitzgibbon, M.D., Past President of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; Arthur Houston, LL.D., Q.C., and R.W. Griffin, LL.D., Ex. Sch. T.C.D.

This new Lodge proved to be very popular with the academics at Trinity and is membership grew very quickly. There is an undated Royal Arch memorial on file recommending Companion Joseph A Galbraith to be first Excellent King, Humphery Minchin MD to be first High Priest and Albert N. Foot to be first chief Scribe, This memorial had been signed by ten companions.

Membership continued to grow in Lodge 33 and a number of the senior Brethren, decided that a second application should be made to The Grand Lodge Board, to found a second university Lodge. Bros Robert W.Griffin LL.D., Thomas E.Webb LL.D., and John H.Ruby LL.D., with others, made application in 1874 and were issued with Warrant No 357, which was to be known as The Trinity College Lodge.

The Lodge, thus constituted, enjoyed the unique distinction of receiving its warrant during the interregnum which occurred between the deaths of the M.W., His Grace the Duke of Leinster and the appointment of his successor, His Grace the late Duke of Abercorn, as M.W. Grand Master of the Order in Ireland. And accordingly, the first meeting of the Trinity College Lodge was held on the 28th November, 1874, in the Freemasons’ Hall, Molesworth Street, when the three brethren mentioned above were installed in the three principal offices, and Bro. W.J. Chetwode Crawley, LL.D., was elected Secretary, a judicious selection, which resulted in the most marked benefits to the Lodge, and has enabled it to successfully tide over many of the difficulties which beset its early days. His tact and discretion disarmed any antagonism that may have existed, while his indomitable energy soon induced large numbers of candidates to come forward, so that even in its infancy the Lodge showed abundant signs of its future strength, while the accuracy of ritual which from the first meeting marked the working of the Lodge when at labour has, under his skilled direction, maintained its reputation to the present time.

You may be interested to learn that the Rt Honourable Sir Edward Carson LL.D. was a member of Trinity College Lodge. In our archives in Molesworth Street, there still survives a letter dated 13th January 1929 from Carson to Shellard, our Grand Secretary at the time which reads as follows “ Dear Bro Shellard, I am much obliged for your letter and am glad to have a Grand Lodge certificate. I hope the Order in going strong in Ireland. I know that it is, in the North. Yours sincerely and fraternally, Carson.

Detail of the Motto and Inscription..

Detail of the Motto and Inscription..

Anno Ordinis.

One interesting aspect, detailed on the University Preceptory pin is the references in the text to A.O.754 and A.O.779. These refer to the dating system used in the Knights Templar degrees known as Anno Ordinis, which is the year of the Order’s Foundation. The Knights Templar start their colander with the formation of the order in the year 1118 A.D. Anno Ordinis translates as “In the Year of the Order” and refers to the fact that knight Templars deduct 1118 years from the common time to arrive at their A.O. dates. For example the A.O. 754 date above, actually refers to the year 1872, the foundation year of The University Preceptory. The second date A.O.779 similarly refers to the year 1897, marking the twenty fifth anniversary of the foundation of the Preceptory.

And Finally.

On the very bottom of the pin is a seven pointed star, bearing the legend “ In Hoc Signo Vinces” which translates “By this sign, you will conquer”, and in the popular mind, this symbol and motto are associated with the Knights Templar. However the truth is that the ancient Templars used only the black and white Beauseant banner, and at the bottom of it was inscribed their motto, also in latin, – Non Nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini to da gloriam” meaning Not onto us O Lord, not onto us, but onto thee give the glory”. This was the song, or shout of victory, sung by the Templars when triumphant in Battle.

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Death of Rt Wor Brother Bishop Samuel G. Poyntz, P.S.G.C Ireland.

The Rt Rev Samuel Poyntz.

The Rt Rev Samuel Poyntz.

Bishop the Right Reverend Samuel Greenfield Poyntz, one of the best known and best loved clerics in the Church of Ireland, was called to The Grand Lodge above on the 18th February 2017. He was born in 1926 in Manitoba, Canada and educated at Portora Royal School Enniskillen, before going on to Trinity College, Dublin. He was ordained into the Church of Ireland in 1951.

He began church life, as a Curate in St Georges Dublin and then moved to St Pauls Dublin, before becoming Rector of St Stephens in Dublin. In 1974 he became Archdeacon of Dublin before becoming the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross in 1978, where he would serve for the next nine years.

Bishop The Rt Rev Samuel Poyntz

Bishop The Rt Rev Samuel Poyntz

In 1987 he was appointed Bishop of Connor, one of the oldest Dioceses in the Irish Church. This was one of the twenty four Dioceses established at The Synod of Rathbreasail in the year 1111, marking the move away from the monastic tradition towards the church based faith of today. The Dioceses of Connor is located in the North East corner of Ireland and included much of the City of Belfast. Some of the early Irish annalists would have known it, by its alternative name – The See of Dalriada. Bishop Poyntz finally retired from this active role in the Church in 1995.

Masonically, Right Worshipful Brother Samuel Poyntz was a Past Senior Grand Chaplin in The Grand Lodge of Ireland, an active Freemason, well known and well liked throughout the Irish Constitution. He was active in all aspects of Irish Masonry and went on to become an elected member of The Princes of the Royal Secret, the official title for membership of the 32nd degree under the auspices of The Supreme Council 33rd Degree of The Ancient and Accepted Rite for Ireland. His mother chapter within this rite was Number 8 in Belfast.

Rt Reverend Samuel Greenfield Poyntz passed to the Grand Lodge Above on the 18th February 2017, leaving his loving wife and best friend of 65 years, Noreen. He also leaves three children – Jennifer, Timothy and Stephanie and was proud grandfather to Gillian, Rachel, Alison, Cara, Christopher, Jonathan and Joanna. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Noreen and the rest of the family circle at this time.

There will be many Irish Freemasons present on Saturday the 25th February in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin to take part in a Service of Remembrance at 11.30AM to the life and achievements of this, our most worthy Brother.

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Freemasonry and The Impossible Bottle.

Ship in a Bottle.

Ship in a Bottle.

An impossible bottle is the term used to describe a rather unique form of mechanical puzzle. The term refers to any bottle containing an object that does not appear to fit through the neck of the bottle, that it has been inserted into. Probably the best known examples are the many nautical examples, of a ship placed within a bottle.

There are a couple of different techniques used to put a model ship within a bottle. The simplest way is to rig the masts of the ship and pull them gently up into position with thread, once the ship hull has been eased into its final position, through the neck of the bottle. Alternatively, using specialised long handled tools, it is possible to build the ship within the bottle.

Dartmouth Model Ship Museum.

Dartmouth Model Ship Museum.

For those interested in Ships and Bottles, the best known British Collection is known as The Dawe Collection and can be found, on display in an old Sea=Merchants House,in The Butterwalk, in the town of Dartmouth, in Devon. Uniquely the entrance up into the museum is via an old spiral staircase, built counter clockwise around a section of a ships mast.

The Masonic Impossible Bottle.

The Masonic Impossible Bottle.

Detail of the Internal Construction.

Detail of the Internal Construction.

I was very fortunate, as a boy, as I grew up with one ofthese Impossible Bottles, in my fathers house. And as you would expect, as a Freemason, my fathers bottle had a number of Masonic Symbols within. The main feature in his bottle was The Christian Cross, on which was fixed a set of Compasses and a Square in the 3rd degree position. Other symbols within the bottle are representations of The Crescent Moon, The Winding Staircase,A five runged Ladder, Setting Maul, and Trowel for spreading the cement of Masonic Brotherhood.

Another view of the Masonic Bottle.

Another view of the Masonic Bottle.

Over the years, I have seen other similar Masonic themed Impossible Bottles, right across the island of Ireland. As you travel around, visiting LOdges, then please keep an eye for these fascinating examples of a dying folk art.

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Centenary Lodge CXVII, Dublin 1892

Centenary  Lodge 117 - 1892.

Centenary Lodge 117 – 1892.

In a recent sale in Dublin there was a rare example of, what I initially assumed to be, a centenary jewel dated 1892 and carrying the number 117. The jewel comprised of a silver disc, bearing the word Centenary, and the date 1892. In the centre are the roman numerals CXVII standing for Lodge No 117 with shamrock sprays either side of roman numerals. Suspended underneath is a representation of an Irish Harp.

Close-Up of the Centenary Medallion Lodge 117.

Close-Up of the Centenary Medallion Lodge 117.

All in all, an unusual Centenary jewel, that attracted my interest, and I took the opportunity to investigate further, once I had returned home. And what a surprise I got. On checking in Right Wor Bro Keith Cochrane’s excellent reworking of Crossle’s List of Lodges, I discovered that on the 29th September 1892, a printed application was submitted to The Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes requesting the issue of a new Warrant to meet at the Masonic Hall, Dublin to be called “Centenary” Lodge – Memorial signed by ten brethren from various Lodges and nominating Hugh Alex. Auchinleck (P.M. 125) as first W. Master; Fred. R. Parr (250) as S.W. and Thomas Stuart (P.M. 125) as J.W. – Memorial recommended by Lodges 171, 2 and 620.

First Page Grand Lodge Register for Warrant No 117.

First Page Grand Lodge Register for Warrant No 117.

This application came in front of the Board at their October meeting, who approved the re-issue of Warrant No 117 I.C. to the Brethren named, to form a new Lodge to be known as Centenary, that would hold its meetings in Dublin. Warrant was issued bearing the date 6th October 1892.

By-Laws for Centenary Lodge No 117.

By-Laws for Centenary Lodge No 117.

The name Centenary intrigued me, and then I found a copy of the first set of By-Laws for Centenary Lodge No 117 I.C. And there it was, at the top of the by-laws, the statement – Formed in commemoration of the pre-eminently successful centenary celebrations on behalf of the Masonic Female Orphans Schools of Ireland 1892.

So,our Centenary jewel, is in fact a foundation jewel to mark the formation of this Lodge with several members of the Board of Management of The Masonic Female Orphans School Board, playing their part in the formation of this new Lodge. And we know from the back of the jewel that it was J.R. Ryan a well known firm of Dublin Goldsmiths who made these jewels, which carries their stamp on the reverse.

You may be interested to learn a little about the centenary of The Masonic Girls Orphan’s School, held in 1892 The occasion was marked with a Bazaar held in the grounds of The Royal Dublin Society, where some 96,000 visitors attended their celebration and some twenty one thousand six hundred and ninety pounds were collected towards school funds. The Bazaar was a very grand affaire, containing landscaped gardens, the re-construction of a typical old Dublin streetscape from the 1792 period and a human chess game. Indeed if you want to learn more about our centenary celebrations, I would advise you to seek out a copy of “The Book of the Centenary” compiled and edited by none other than Wor Bro Thomas Stuart, foundation Junior Warden of Centenary Lodge No 117 Dublin. For those interested in late Victorian trade advertisements, this is indeed a fascinating book.

Lodge 117 Installation Dinner Menu 1929.

Lodge 117 Installation Dinner Menu 1929.

Sadly, Warrant number 117 was returned to Grand Lodge 4 March, 1976.The normal procedure was following in that it was the Board of General Purposes who learned of the intention of the Lodge Members to return their Warrant and their minutes of the 12th February record the following :-

From the Minutes of the G.L. Board of G.P. : Lodge 117

12 Feb., 1976 – The Board noted and reported to Grand Lodge the decision of the Brethren of Lodge No. 117, Dublin, to hand in the Warrant of the Lodge and that 24 Members of the Lodge had joined Lodge No. 505, Dublin.
G.M.L. 4 March, 1976 – Confirmed

Centenary Lodge 117 PM Jewel

Centenary Lodge 117 PM Jewel

Returned, 4 March 1976,

I hope that you found these brief references to our extensive Irish records of some interest, as they indicate the wealth of information preserved in our archives and available for researches to call and look into. Just because a particular Warrant is no longer working does not mean that you still cannot find out about it. So, if you have an unusual jewel, medal or medallion in your collection, then please get in touch, and let us know a little about it.

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The Masonic Visitor – The Journal of Irish Freemasonry.

The Masonic Visitor Volume II  Issue 1  dated January 15th 1895.

The Masonic Visitor Volume II Issue 1 dated January 15th 1895.

I recently found three issues of an old Victorian monthly publication entitled The Masonic Visitor – The Journal of Irish Freemasonry. This was a monthly magazine, published at The Office, 12 Dawson Street, in Dublin, under the editorship of Brother the Reverend Charles W. Ganley who lived at Kilkea, Mageney in Co Kildare. This Brother was a member of Amethyst Lodge 206 Dublin and a Past Master of Carlow Lodge No 116. He was also a member of Carlow 116 Royal Arch Chapter, P.P.G.P.D, South East Counties, PK, Prelate of The Preceptory of Palestine and a member of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No 2076 London E.C. As I was looking through these volumes, I was reminded of an earlier publishing attempt, from the period 1792 -1795.

First Edition of The Sentimental and Masonic Magazine Dublin 1792.

First Edition of The Sentimental and Masonic Magazine Dublin 1792.

The Irish Sentimental and Masonic magazine was printed monthly in Dublin from July 1792 by William Folds printer for John Jones of No 3 Grafton Street, just opposite the College ( Trinity ). Each issue had an engraved title page and index and contained engraved illustrations in each monthly volume. Its contents included anecdotes, original essays and poetry. In the style of the day, the articles and essays tended to be broken up and run over several issues, to encourage you to buy same, to see how each story ended. Interestingly, there was only a little Masonic content at that time, in the 1790’s and even though they brought in a new printer Robert Marchband in 1794, the magazine ultimately failed, as publication of the December 1795 volume would be the last to be published.

The Freemasons Quarterly Review 1834

The Freemasons Quarterly Review 1834

In the 19th Century, we in Ireland had to resort to English publications such as The Freemason’s Quarterly Review, or The Freemasons Magazine and Masonic Mirror to provide our light reading. Anyone interested, can see examples of both these works in our museum collections in the Rosemary Street Provincial Masonic Hall. In both of these English publications, there are occasional references to the activities of The Grand Lodge of Ireland and to the activities of some of the Lodges and Irish Masonic personalities of the day.

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When publication of The Masonic Visitor began in 1894, Brother Ganley made an effort to focus his publication on purely Irish Masonic matters. He did have a small section for news from U.G.L.E. and The Grand Lodge of Scotland, but his main focus remained on the activities of the Irish Craft. So in volume 2 issue 1, dated 1st January 1895, we find an interesting article on The Right Honourable Lord Arthur William Hill M.P. the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master of Down. We learn about a number of new Masonic Halls in Hillsborough, Bangor, Hollywood, Newry, Gilford, Donaghadee, Rathfriland and Banbridge. In another article we are given details of the various officers serving in The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim that year, followed by a four page essay on the history of Freemasonry in Old Kinsale. Next we read about a Masonic service held in the Cathedral, Lisburn, organised by the Belfast Masonic Charities. There are further articles on Friendship Masonic Lodge No 513, The Glen in Ligoniel, an update on the Installation meeting of Grand Lodge on John’s Day 1894 ans notes on a Masonic concert held in the Fisherman’s Hall Kinsale, which had been specially decorated with Masonic emblems including the old tools used by the original Kinsale Lodge in the 1790’s. One other interesting feature is the inclusion of a section with dates of the various Lodge meetings, that were to be held in January 1895 including Grand Lodge, THe Board of General Purposes, THe Grand Lodge of Instruction and The Committee of Charity and Inspection.

A typical page from The January 1895 Edition.

A typical page from The January 1895 Edition.

The second issue dated February 1895 starts off with an article on The Masonic Province of North Munster and its Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master Rt Wor Bro Sir C.B. Barrington Bart D.L. This is followed with a list of Provincial Officers in North Musster for 1895.Other articles include a succession of Grand Officers of The Grand Lodge of Ireland 1780 -1790, an article on the Centenary of St John’s Lodge Lisburn when they received an original poem penned by Bro Joseph Hope on the Centenary of the Lodge. Other notes include a report on the Lodge installation at Kinsale, an article on the year 1812, when a Youghall sloop called “Three Friends” was captured by the French privateer the Le Juret, captained by Louis Marencourt, ship’s master. a further update on The Masonic Schools, when we learn about some of the examinations taken by the boys and girls. Of great interest in 1895, we find an un-expected article “About Women Freemasons” We also read about an Installation Festival held in The Thomas Valentine Lodge No 21, Belfast. You may be surprised to learn that they held their Installation Supper and Dance in the Imperial Hotel, Belfast, where the assembled Brethren and Ladies were greeted with a banner proclaiming ” Welcome to the Thomas Valentine Masonic Lodge”. One other interesting article in this issue was a piece on “The Medical Profession and Freemasonry”, in which we learn about a number of prominent Doctors and Surgeons in Ireland who became enthuiastic supports of The Craft in Ireland. We start with James Brennan S.G.W. 1732-3 who went on to serve as D.G.M. in 1734-37 right up to Francis C. Crossle MB Prov G.Secretary of Down. Indeed I would take this opportunity to bring this list right up to date in the 21st Century with mention to Kwesi O.P. Ackah Knight of the Sun, Representative of The Grand Lodge Of Ghana at The Grand Lodge of Ireland and well known and respected past master of The Irish Lodge of Research No 200.

Succession of Grand Officers of The Grand Lodge of Ireland 1780 -1790.

Succession of Grand Officers of The Grand Lodge of Ireland 1780 -1790.

Our third and final issue dated March 1895 begins with an article on Right Wor Bro Stephen Moore D.L., Provincial Grand Master of the South Eastern Counties and then goes on to tell us quite a bit about the Province. We also learn about Lodge 44 Clonmel and a romantic incident from their history. The story goes that a French officer called Lavalette had been taken prisoner, during one of our continental wars in the 19th century. He escaped from captivity during the night and suspicion was raised against one English officer, who like the Frenchman, was a Freemason. This officer of the guard was the Hon John Hely Hutchinson, afterwards Third Earl of Donoughmore, who in 1845 was Installed as First Worshipful Master of The Donoughmore Lodge No 44 I.C. in Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland. For many years Lord Donoughmore was known to his intimates as Lavalette Hutchinson. Other articles in this issue include some background on The Grand Lodge of Instruction, a report on Manitoba honours to a Cork Freemason, Prize Giving at The Masonic Orphan’s schools, The next part of the Succession of Officers in The Grand Lodge of Ireland 1790 -1801. The Dublin Masonic Glee Club, A Spray of Acacia, reporting on the death of Wor Bro Richard Rhodes Provincial Grand Secretary of the Midland Counties,A further episode on “Freemasonry in Old Kinsale” REport from Harmony Lodge No555 Fermoy, presentation by The Military Lodge of Ireland No 728 to Brother Field Marshal Lord Viscount Wolseley K.P.,G.C.B.,G.C.M.G. Commander in Chief of the Forces in Ireland, to mark the end of his two years of service to Lodge 728 as Master. When Lord Woseley finally retired from the Dinner, he was played out with a spirited performance of The British Grenadiers, a delicate compliment to this distinguished military hero.

Frontise and Cover from Issue 3 of The Masonic Visitor March 1895.

Frontise and Cover from Issue 3 of The Masonic Visitor March 1895.

In 1901 another Irish masonic journal appeared, and this was called Irish Masonry ( Illustrated ). This was a magazine for the 20th century with plenty of pictures and articles. The content was 100% Masonic, but again concentrated more on The United Grand Lodge of England, rather than The Grand Lodge of Ireland, as the title might suggest. Indeed, if we even look at the portrait of His Grace the Duke of Abercorn K.G., we will see him dressed in the English manner, with his apron on over his suit. As you all know, we in Ireland always wear our aprons under our jackets, in the Irish tradition.

Irish Masonry Illustrated 1901.

Irish Masonry Illustrated 1901.

It is worth noting that some one hundred years later in the 1990’s we in Ireland, once again produced an all-Ireland Masonic quarterly magazine, published by The Irish Lodge of Research. This production, supported by local advertising was very successfull and led to similar productions by The Grand Lodge of Ireland and their News-Sheet, the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim magazine, The District Grand Chapter of Antrim magazine and THe Newsletter of The Provincial Priory of East Ulster. Sadly this influx of competing titles all funded by the same advertisers led to the eventual demise of our Lodge of Research magazine, and now in the 21st century, we like many other Lodges now have a presence on the web.

Example of The News-Sheet produced by the Provincial Priory of East Ulster

Example of The News-Sheet produced by the Provincial Priory of East Ulster

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Centenary of The Sinking of the SS Laurentic 25th January 2017.

Laurentic Centenary Souvenir Programme.

Laurentic Centenary Souvenir Programme.

Saturday the 28th January 2017, was the day that the people of Inishowen had selected to mark the Centenary of the Sinking of the HMS Laurentic at the mounth of Lough Swilly, on the very stormy, freezing cold night of the 25th January 1917. The Ship sailed over two German mines, which detonated amidship, causing her to sink very quickly. There were some 475 men on board, comprising Royal Naval personnel,Royal Naval Reserve personnel, Royal Marines and members from the Newfoundland Expeditionary Force. Sadly from this number some 354 men would lose their lives before morning.

Some of the Dignitaries Present at the Memorial in St Mura's.

Some of the Dignitaries Present at the Memorial in St Mura’s.

We all assembled at The Parish Church of Saint Mura, in the Parish of Upper Fahan at 11.00am, when a short Service of Remembrance was held for all those who lost their lives on The Laurentic. This year we were joined by a number of relatives who came over to mark the following crew members, Signaller Victor Davidson Yule from Dundee; Newfounder RNR Luke Smith; Seaman Harry Dyre RNR from Devon;Leading Seaman Thomas Pike from Devon; Reserve Seaman Thomas Yetman from Newfoundland: Seaman Ephraim Freake also from Newfoundland: Seaman John Heaney from Arklow ; Seaman Leslie H Brinston from North Harbour, Newfoundland and finally Seaman Walter Fitzgerald from Ballymacawin, Co Waterford.

The Relatives Gathered around the Laurentic Memorial in Fahan.

The Relatives Gathered around the Laurentic Memorial in Fahan.

Some interesting statistics that we learned from His Excellence Kevin Vickers, Ambassador based at The Embassy of Canada in Dublin are as follows. At the start of The Great War in 1914, the population of Canada was approximately 8,000,000 people, and of these some 660,000 Canadians volunteered to serve in support of The British Isles. Of this number some 20,000 were first generation Irish Settlers, who returned home to fight. Sadly on the first day of the Somme, Newfoundland lost a complete generation of men who lost their lives on that day. Then in 1917, on the sinking of the SS Laurentic, a further number of Newfoundlanders were lost at sea, at the mouth of Lough Swilly.

His Excellency The Canadian Ambassador to Ireland..

His Excellency The Canadian Ambassador to Ireland..

Standard Bearers on the Day.

Standard Bearers on the Day.

As always, there was a good turnout of British Legion men in attendance along with a piper and a bosun complete with whistle. Tracy McGrory, the well known Traditional Irish Musician was in attendance and played The Laurentic Lament on violin during the Church service and then again at the wreath laying ceremony in the grave-yard.

Our Piper in Action.

Our Piper in Action.

Tracy McGrory playing The Laurentic Lament.

Tracy McGrory playing The Laurentic Lament.

A similar Act of Remembrance was then held at the Laurentic Memorial in the graveyard beside St Mary’s Chapel, Cockhill, located on the outskirts of Buncrana. Here again there was a good number present, and attention was drawn to the adjacent memorial which commemorates all those drowned on the sinking of the SS Abercorn, also during The Great War. A number of the wreaths were laid on this memorial to mark their memory.

The Buncrana Memorial at St Marys Cockhill.

The Buncrana Memorial at St Marys Cockhill.

Laying a Wreath.

Laying a Wreath.

Up on a sidewall, under the balcony in Saint Mura’s Parish Church is an old poster with a water colour of the SS Laurentic.

Water Colour  Poster at the rar of St Mura's Parish Church.

Water Colour Poster at the rar of St Mura’s Parish Church.

Underneath, we find an un-recorded poem entitles “The Loss of the Laurentic” and the entire sheet has been signed at the bottom by a Mr R Latham.The words are as follows :-

In nineteen Seventeen the proud Laurentic,
Was bound from Ireland to the USA.
When the Germans sank her out in the Atlantic,
Off Donegal one bitter winter day.

None saw the torpedo that destroyed her,
None saw the submarine that launched the blow.
They only felt the shattering explosion,
That stopped the engines throbbing heart below.

The wounded vessel quivered, paused & listed,
Plunged to her death beneath the hungry waves.
And in that fearful wilderness of water,
300 gallant soldiers found their graves.

A precious ship & precious lives were lost there,
And lost the precious cargo in her hold.
Five million pounds of glittering gleaming ingots,
Three thousand two hundred bars of gold.

The finest divers in the British Navy,
Skilled men of courage and tenacity.
At home in that strange world of swirling water,
Were sent to wrest that treasure from the sea.

They dared the hazards of the winds & the tides,
Of shifting sand, strong currents and floating mine.
Of cutting edges that could mean disaster,
Of falling wreckage fouling pipe and line.

For seven years they battled to recover,
The wealth that lay there wasting in the deep.
Until at last, they feed those prisoned riches,
The jealous sea had fought so hard to keep.

Man by his skill can build an ocean liner,
Man by his skill can send her to her doom.
Can by his skill, bring back the buried treasure,

Poem entitled "The Loss of the Laurentic".

Poem entitled “The Loss of the Laurentic”.

In the Church of Ireland Church in Port Salon, you will finf one of the bells from the SS Laurentic in use, to call the faithful to Church and in the harbour in Downings, you will find a memoria to the SS Laurentic and one of the six inch guns salvaged from the wreck.

At the Going Down of the Sun, and in the Morning, We will Remember Them.

At the Going Down of the Sun, and in the Morning, We will Remember Them.

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Wor Bro Joe Boyd Called to The Grand Lodge Above.

Wor Bro Joe Boyd

Wor Bro Joe Boyd

Brethren it is with great sorrow that we note the passing of another Masonic Stalwart, Wor Bro Joseph Boyd, who was Called Home peacefully on the evening of Wednesday the 25th January 2017. Joe was the founder initiate in Kilwaughter Masonic Lodge No 762, and recently got his 50 year jewel,on the night that the Lodge celebrated its fiftieth Anniversary. Joe was a keen Mason, and was also a Member of Olive Lodge No 467 Doagh.In 2015 he had been given the rank of Honorary Provincial Grand Lodge Steward of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim.

In his private life Joe had been a son of the Soil, farming for many years at Roadside Farm on the hills above Kilwaughter. Joe and Mildred were always very welcoming to visitors, and once you were in Hillside Farm, it could occasionally take some time before you got back out again. I say this in a good way, as Joe and Mildred were both excellent, welcoming and cheerful hosts. In recent years Joe retired and concentrated on his Masonry and was a familiar figure throughout the Province of Antrim. Mildred and He, on occasions would also come up north to the annual Cary and Dunluce Masonic Charity Breakfast, as the following photograph illustrates.

Wor Bro Joe Boyd and his good lady wife.

Wor Bro Joe Boyd and his good lady wife.

Joe will be buried tomorrow ( Saturday the 28th )in Kilwaughter Cemerary after a short funeral service in Kilwaughter Old Presbyterian Church which will start at 2.30pm. The family have asked that all donations be made to The Chest, Heart and Stroke Society in lieu of flowers, and if you wish to donate, then please send your donations to S & J Irvine, funeral directors of 48 Rashee Road, Ballyclare. I’m sure that you will all join with me, in expressing our sympathy to Mildred, Joseph jun, Karen and the rest of the family circle at this difficult time.

Joe was a character, a man outstanding in his own field, who will be missed by all who knew him, and particularly by The Family Circle. I always found him to be a man with a keen interest in our Masonic history, and a Brother who played his part in developing strong links between Stranraer Kilwinning Lodge and his Mother Lodge in Kilwaughter. I know, that he was particularly proud, when his son – Joe junior joined Kilwaughter, and followed his Masonic career with great interest.

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Powerpoint Presentation to Rashee Temperence Lodge, Cogry.

Rashee presentation

Rashee presentation

Rashee Temperence Masonic Lodge No 736 I.C.

You may be interested to learn that your Warrant was originally Issued to brethren in PORTGLENONE, Co. Antrim, 7 April 1791, where it remained up to the year 1810. The Warrant had been Compounded for Arrears, and the Brethren appealed this decision by Grand Lodge. Amazingly, it took some 24 years before, we find, in the minutes of Grand Lodge, the following :-

From the Minutes of Grand Lodge
Lodge 736
3 July, 1834 – Read the Application of 736, to have a new Warrant of the same Number in lieu of the old one which was lost or destroyed in January or February 1832. Granted.

But sadly, there was to be no escape and we find two years later, the following entry in Grand Lodge Minutes :-

Compounded for arrears, September 1836.

And so matters remained until the 18th May 1949, when we read in the Minutes of The Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes that :-

18 May, 1949 – Read Memorial from various brethren praying for a warrant to establish a Lodge in Cogry in the County of Antrim to be called the Rashee Temperance. Recommended.
G.L.M. 2 June, 1949 – Confirmed.

We know from the original Memorial, which was signed by some 26 Brethren [24 from Lodge No. 148] from various Lodges and recommend Hugh Irvine (P.M. 148) as first W.M.; Nathaniel Todd (148) as S.W. and Leslie H. Mayne (148) as J.W. and the Memorial was recommended by Lodges 148, 549 and 317 and the P.G.M. of Antrim. Warrant was Reissued to `Rashee Temperance Lodge’ in COGRY, Doagh, Belfast, 2 June 1949.

Hugh Irvine, Salesman; Nathaniel Todd, Electrician and Leslie H. Mayne, Dairy Prop. All from Lodge No. 148, registered along with twenty three, all but two being from Lodge No. 148, 2 June, 1949.

Constituted in the Masonic Hall, Cogry, Doagh, Belfast on Monday, 29th August, 1949 by Rt. Wor. Bro. Major Rupert Stanley, LL.D., Provincial Grand Master of Antrim.
W. Bro. Hugh Irvine was the first Master, Bros. Nathaniel Todd and Leslie H. Mayne the Wardens, W. Bro. John McConnell the Treasurer and W. Bro. John Wham the Secretary.

A total of 130 brethren registered up to 17 December, 1984. In most cases the dates when the issue of certificates is shown, together with the occupation of the brother.

Presentation of Provincial Regalia to Wor Bro Ainsley Steele, Treasurer of The Rashee Temperence Lodge.

Presentation of Provincial Regalia to Wor Bro Ainsley Steele, Treasurer of The Rashee Temperence Lodge.

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Early Notice of Re-Union Meeting of the Anglo Foreign Lodges Association.

Anglo Reunion Poster.

Anglo Reunion Poster.

Morning Brethren,

On Friday the 16th June 2017, a meeting will be held in the Grand Temple, at Great Queen Street, when a number of UGLE Lodges, which meet in and around London and conduct their meetings in a language other than English, will come together for their annual Reunion Meeting. On this occasion, the ceremonies will be conducted in Italian by the Brethren of Loggia Italia Lodge No 2687 on the register of The United Grand Lodge of England. Part of the occasion will be the presentation of The Andrew MacBride ritual in Italian by a visiting ritual team from the Andrew MacBride Lodge No 237 on the rolls of The Grand Orient of Italy. We understand that English translations will be available on the day. Anyone interesting in attending should make contact with Wor Brother David Bailey on his mobile 07785244392 and if you want to book a meal afterwards in The Grand Connaught Rooms then send your e-mail to tickets@afla.org.uk

Now Brethren, I must be honest, and say that I was not familiar with The Anglo Foreign Lodges Association, which assists foreign nationalists to attend Masonic Lodges in their own language in London. We in Dublin have one similar Lodge that meets in The Grand lodge Room, Molesworth Street, and conducts all its business in French. Some of their members may already be aware of this meeting and be attending, in their own right, as French Speaking Irish Masons.

Front Elevation of the New Masonic Peace Memorial.

Front Elevation of the New Masonic Peace Memorial.

Brethren, I hope to be able to put up the story of this fascinating association, to record its many acheivements and difficulties over the last one hundred and sixteen years, that it has been in existance.

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Wor Bro Michael Holden MBE.

Wor Bro Michael Holden MBE.

Wor Bro Michael Holden MBE.

It is with great pleasure that we note the inclusion of Wor Bro Michael Holden in the 2017 New Year’s Honour’s List, where he was recorded as receiving an MBE making him a Member of the Order of The British Empire. Michael is the chairman of Trip-ability Belfast and his award was given in acknowledgement of his services to people with disabilities over many years. Michael was a well known personality to members of The Grand Lodge of Ireland, where, for a number of years, he assisted those in authority in Dublin to work with the press, in an effort to improve how the public at large viewed the Masonic Order. Michael can certainly be acknowledged for establishing the framework, that is still used to this day, in our dealings with the press. I am particularly pleased to learn of this award, as it is so richly deserved.

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Cheque Presentations by Cary & Dunluce Masonic Charity Committee.

Chairman of The Cary & Dunluce Charity Committee welcoming Rt Wor Bro John McLernon Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Antrim.

Chairman of The Cary & Dunluce Charity Committee welcoming Rt Wor Bro John McLernon Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Antrim.

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The members of The Cary and Dunluce Masonic Charity Committee returned to the Coleraine Campus of The University of Ulster this morning to meet with Right Worshipful Bro John McLernon, one of the Assistant Provincial Grand Masters of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Antrim, and invite him, on their behalf to present cheque’s to their two nominated Masonic Charities, which are The local Dalriada Branch of Parkinson’s Support Northern Ireland and The Kids4School Childrens Charity.

Ms Sarah Stewart Accepting a Cheque for £ 1.260.00 fo Kids4School.

Ms Sarah Stewart Accepting a Cheque for £ 1.260.00 fo Kids4School.

Our first recipient Ms Sarah Stewart expressed her gratitude to the Brethren for their generous donation of One Thousand Two Hundred and Sixty Pounds only to support the work of Kids4School in Tanzania, Central Africa. They currently spend £ 39.00 per child to meet their schooling costs in Africa, and this donation will greatly enhance their ability to support more students in-country in Tanzania. Kids4School are a christian charity which provide funds to meet costs associated with the provision of free schooling to needy children in Tanzania.

RT Wor Bro McLernon and Ms Sarah Stewart with the Presentation Cheque.

RT Wor Bro McLernon and Ms Sarah Stewart with the Presentation Cheque.

For those interested in these things Kids4School have their offices in Belfast in NCM House. 218 York Street, Belfast BT15 1GY. Their bank is The Ulster Bank 202-206 York Street, Belfast. Sort code is 98-01-20 and their account number is 1080 3185. Kids4School are registered with the Charity Commission and their registration number is NIC 100163 and their Charity IR number is XT22815. We include a link HERE to their latest KIDS4School progress report, updating progress with their works in Tanzania and outlining their hopes for the future. This particular report was just released by the Charity in November 2016.

Committee Chairman presenting Cheque to Mrs Ethna Watterson MBE representing Parkinsons Support N.I.

Committee Chairman presenting Cheque to Mrs Ethna Watterson MBE representing Parkinsons Support N.I.

The Dalriada Branch of Parkinsons Support Northern Ireland was formed back in 2013, along with branches in Belfast and Fermanagh. Their representitive this morning was Mrs Ethna Watterson, a founder member, and current chair of the branch. Ethna understands better than most the benefits that their branch meetings in the Robinson Hospital bring to sufferers and their carers, as her husband had suffered from the illness for some 27 years. She was delighted with the amount presented and said it would be put to good use at a branch where membership had shown a steady increase. They were planning to take a group across to Scotland in the near future and this generous donation would help them to meet some of the costs and overheads associated with this trip.

Mrs Ethna Watterson with the Chairman of The Cary & Dunluce Charity Committee receiving her Presentation Cheque.

Mrs Ethna Watterson with the Chairman of The Cary & Dunluce Charity Committee receiving her Presentation Cheque.

Group Photograph recording the Presentations.

Group Photograph recording the Presentations.

Rt Wor Bro McLernon then addressed the assembled Brethren, members of the Cary and Dunluce Masonic Charity Committee and thanked them, on behalf of The Provincial Grand Master, Officers and Members of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim for all their work in making these annual presentations possible. The Cary and Dunluce committee were strongly supported by their parent Lodges, Chapters and other bodies and regularly make generous donations to support worthwhile local and national charities.

General Group Photo No 1.

General Group Photo No 1.

Group Photo No 2.

Group Photo No 2.

General Photo No 3.

General Photo No 3.

By now, I’m sure some of you will be trying to work out who the blond haired Brother in the red sports wear is. It is of course the hard working wife of Wor Bro Alister McKay, who supports the Committee every year, fulfilling the roll of group accountant, collecting funds, recording same and helping out where ever needed. Diane Thompson McKay, a past lady captain at Portstewart Golf Club, is a well known supporter of the work carried out by the Committee, and again, on their behalf, we record her contribution to the success of the day.

General Photo 4.

General Photo 4.

A Final Look at The Group.

A Final Look at The Group.

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Presentation of 50 Year Long Service Jewel and Certificate to Wor Bro Tom McNeill Moyarget Masonic lodge No 280 I.C.

Alastair Browne, Tom McNeill and David Elliott at Moyarget Masonic Lodge No 280 I.C.

Alastair Browne, Tom McNeill and David Elliott at Moyarget Masonic Lodge No 280 I.C.

There was a good turn-out of Members and friends at the monthly meeting of Moyarget Masonic Lodge No 280 I.C. held down in their spacious Lodge-Room on the outskirts of Ballycastle. This however was a very special evening for Wor Bro Tom McNeill was celebrating 50 years of service to Freemasonry in the North Antrim District. In 1966,Tom was proposed into Moyarget Lodge by the late Wor Bro William Munnis Senior, and his proposal was seconded by the late Wor Bro Johnny Moore, who at the time was Secretary of the Lodge. Some 50 years later Tom, was still a member of the Lodge, and on this occasion he was accompanied by his two sons, Andrew and Keith both of whom sit in Ballymoney Masonic Lodge No 330 I.C. and his son-in-law, Willie, a member of Coleraine Royal Masonic Lodge No 754 I.C. Andrew McNeill, the elder of the two sons will be going into the Chair in 330 Ballymoney in January 2017.

The McNeill Family with Rt Wor Bro John McLarnon A.P.G.M. Antrim and other Officers.

The McNeill Family with Rt Wor Bro John McLarnon A.P.G.M. Antrim and other Officers.

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Our Guest of Honor, on the night was Right Wor Bro John McLarnon, Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim, and a long time friend of Wor Bro McNeill. They had both been in the Boy’s Brigade together, and both joined Masonry in the same year – 1966. Rt Wor Bro McLernon made the presentation of the jewel and certificate, ably assisted by the Wor Master of Moyarget. Tom was saluted in due form and given an opportunity to reply. However, as always he is a man of few words, so he merely thanked everyone for coming, thanked the Assistant Provincial Grand Master for making the Presentation and the Lodge for all their support over the past fifty years.

Wor Master, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Wor Bro McNeill and other Guests.

Wor Master, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Wor Bro McNeill and other Guests.

At the close of the meeting we all stayed behind to enjoy some warm tea / coffee, sausage rolls, cocktail sausages, chicken pieces, sandwiches and an extensive sweet tray. A ballot was held which raised a total of £ 385.00 for the Lodge Widows Christmas Fund. We have enclosed a few photos of some of the other Brethren present on the night.

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Three.

Three.

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Five.

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Presentations from the Proceeds of the Giro De Bucknaw Cycling Initiative.

Book Purchase for the local Integrated Primary School.

Book Purchase for the local Integrated Primary School.

We are very grateful to Wor Bro Ashley McCullough for sending in a brief report and a few photographs to let us know about the successful fund raising carried out by the Brethren of Bucknaw Lodge No 194 I.C. and Broughshane Lodge No 246 I.C. Earlier in the year these two Lodges raised the magnificent total of some £ 4,500.00 for good causes, by organising and running their own unique version of the Giro cycle Race in and around the metropolis of Buckna. In this first photograph, we see a number of the Brethren presenting an assortment of new Text Books to the value of £ 300.00 for a local Integrated Primary School. Another local Lodge Carnlough No 216 I.C .also contributed a similar amount to this particular donation.

The Ballymena Bears special needs tag rugby team.

The Ballymena Bears special needs tag rugby team.

Their second donation went to another very worthwhile local initiative when they presented a cheque for £ 500.00 to support some of the yearly running costs required to keep the Ballymena Bears Special Needs Rugby Club finantially secure and active.

The Cancer Fund for Children.

The Cancer Fund for Children.

Our next cheque, again for the sum of £ 500.00 was donated to The Cancer Fund for Children.

The Brook Dementia Care Fold in Coleraine.

The Brook Dementia Care Fold in Coleraine.

A cheque to the value of £ 1,100.00 was presented to the management team running the Brook Dementia Care Fold in Coleraine to assist them in providing this valuable service to all throughout the North East of Antrim.

The Bridgewater Suite Haematology Unit at The City Hospital.

The Bridgewater Suite Haematology Unit at The City Hospital.

Their final donation in the form of a cheque to the value of £ 2,100.00 was presented to representatives from the Bridgewater Suite Haematology Unit at the Belfast City Hospital .Wor Bro McCullough has asked that we take this opportunity to thank all of those who made the day possible, who gave up their time to organise and support the various events that were held and in particular to thank all those people who stepped up to the mark and financially sponsored and supported the day and its activities. I also think that we need to commend both Lodges, their Master, Officers and Members for all their efforts fund raising, before during and after and raising such a great sum for all these worthy non Masonic charities. Another great example, is such were needed, of our role as a part of society and not apart from society.

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Larne and District Charity Committee Annual Carol Service.

Larne and District Charity Committee with Rev Fiona Forbes and their Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim Guests.

Larne and District Charity Committee with Rev Fiona Forbes and their Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim Guests.

Larne and District Charity Committee, in conjunction with the Reverend Fiona Forbes, put in hand arrangements to hold their second annual Service of Carols in the spacious surroundings of Cairncastle Presbyterian Church. They were assisted by the Church Organist Ms Avril Clements and were joined by Ms Imogen Forbes, our excellent soloist on the night. The refreshments were provided free of charge to all present, thanks to the generosity of the Brethren of Garryowen Masonic Lodge No923 I.C., Ann’s Pantry from Main Street Larne, and as always, The Spar at Ballygally.

Teddies for Loving Care.

Teddies for Loving Care.

This year the Larne Committee will be donating their collection to support the ongoing works of the TLC Appeal Ireland. As most of you already know, this is a Charity supported by The Freemasons of Ireland to assist in the comfort of distressed sick children, visiting hospital emergency departments throughout the island of Ireland. They achieve this aim by providing germ free teddies sealed in air-tight bags, which are then given to the individual child patient by the medical staff on duty at the time. These staff members are then able to use these contamination free teddies to show the children their proposed treatment, by injecting or bandaging teddy, before carrying out same on the child. Feedback from A & E departments throughout Ireland bear witness to the success of this initiative in helping children be more at ease in respect of their prospective treatments.

Cairncastle Presbyterian Church at Night.

Cairncastle Presbyterian Church at Night.

Back in Cairncastle, we are pleased to report that thankfully the weather was much kinder this year with no snow, sleet, hail or freezing winds. There was a little light rain, but otherwise it was a cloudy and moderately good evening. The Reverend Forbes welcomed all present and started the evening with the Lord’s Prayer, before we all sang O Little Town of Bethlehem. This set the scene nicely for a further series of nine Carols and Biblical Readings which related the entire story of Christmas.

Our Musical Soloist Ms Imogen Forbes.

Our Musical Soloist Ms Imogen Forbes.

Amongst those participating were Wor Bro Billy Thompson, Chaplin of the Garryowen Lodge No 923 I.C. ; Wor Bro Jock McToal Chairman of the Larne and District Masonic Charity Committee ; Wor Bro Grahame Todd Larne Charity Committee; Excellent Companion Alan Tweed Glenarm RAC No 45; Ex Sir Knight Samuel Brennan of Latharna Council No 59; Sir Knight Jeff McWhirter of Chichester Preceptory; Wor Bro Russell Millar Provincial Grand Secretary of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim; Wor Bro Norman Carmichael and Wor Bro Mervyn Robinson Provincial Inspector to Garryowen Lodge No 923 I.C Our soloist Ms Imogen Forbes performed in a melodic manner to the great delight of all present.

A Sense of Christmas.

A Sense of Christmas.

At the close of the Carol service, we all retired to the Church Hall, for a plentiful spread of buns, biscuits and mince pies accompanied by tea or coffee. At one end of the Hall was a display of materials for sale in support of Teddies for Loving Care. The Northern Chairman of TLC, Rt Wor Bro David Penpraze gave a brief update on the ongoing works being carried out by Teddies for Loving Care. Earlier this year they passed the 100,000 mark in respect of Teddies purchased by the Charity, which have now been given out to children attending A & E Departments in all of the 36 Paediatric Hospitals throughout the Island of Ireland.

Rt Wor Bro David Penpraze Northern Chairman TLC.

Rt Wor Bro David Penpraze Northern Chairman TLC.

And for any of you reading this, who live in Northern Ireland, but were unable to attend last night, there is an opportunity to support the work of this Charity directly by texting your gift as detailed below. Using “JustTextGiving on your mobile its simple – just text
TLCA14£2 to donate £ 2.00 Sterling.
TLCA14£5 to donate £ 5.00 Sterling
TLCA14£10 to donate £10.00 Sterling.
Teddies for Loving Care are a registered Charity whose registration number is 1087765. Their account name Teddies for Loving Care has been set up in the First Trust Bank. 31 High Street, Belfast BT1 2AL. Their account number is 1547 7144, Sort Code 93 80 92 and IBAN : GB33 FTBK 9380 9215 4771 44 On behalf of this worthwhile charity, we thank you all for your ongoing support.

The Top Table.

The Top Table.

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The Dunboyne Jewel.

Jewel made in 1808 by Thomas Harper of London and purchased by The Hon Theobald Fitzwaller Butler.

Jewel made in 1808 by Thomas Harper of London and purchased by the Hon Theobald Fitzwaller Butler.

The Honourable Theobald Fitzwalter William Butler was the son of James Butler 13th Baron Dunboyne, and spent the early part of his life on the family estates in North Munster. He joined the original Royal Arch Lodge No 60 in Ennis, The Lodge was previously known as `Ennis Lodge No. 60 I.C. from November 1803 but took the title `Royal Arch Lodge No. 60′ in May 1812,this to conform with their working during the period 1803 to 1829. The brethren applied for and were granted a Royal Arch Warrant n 1830 and the Lodge reverted to their old title of `Ennis Lodge No. 60′ from that date. In 1866, to commemorate the memory of Rt. Wor. Bro. the Lord Dunboyne, Provincial Grand Master of North Munster 1866 to 1881, the Lodge again changed its name, this time to `Dunboyne Lodge No. 60′. Records survive acknowledging the fact that on occasions the Provincial Grand Lodge of North Munster held some of their meetings in Knappogue Castle, home to Theobald, his wife Julia Celestine Maria and their seven Children.

In 1828 Theobald took on the office of Grand Treasurer, of The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland, an office that he would hold for the next 14 years. During that time he also became a Member of Triune Lodge No 333 I.C. His father James died in 1850, and on the 6th July 1850 he succeeded to his father’s titles as the 14th and 24th Baron Dunboyne. His right to the title was confirmed by The English House of Lords on the 10th August 1860. Dunboyne was elected to serve as a representative peer for Ireland in 1868 and sat on the Conservative benches in The House of Lords until his death on the 22nd March 1881.

reverse-lord-dunboynes-personal-jewel

reverse-lord-dunboynes-personal-jewel

We do not know when the silver Harper Jewel was purchased, but as its design include the Crossed Keys, representative of The Treasurers position, then he could not have bought it before his appointment in 1828, he had the reverse of his jewel engraved with the legend T.F.W.Butler Grand Treasurer of Ireland. The manufacturer of the jewel, Mr Thomas Harper, was a prominent English Freemason, who spent his working life making exquisite silver and gold Masonic jewels for use in The Craft and the Royal Arch. Masonic researchers will find references to Right Worshipful Bro. Thomas Harper in both the Antient and Modern Grand Lodge records and also in the writings of many Masonic authors. His Masonic activities spanned a period of more than 70 years, the importance of which can only be briefly illustrated. He was born of humble parents and sadly nothing is known of them or his upbringing, although we are aware of ongoing research. Thomas Harper was initiated in 1761 into Lodge No.24 which at that time met at the Bush Inn, Marsh Street, Bristol. A few years later he was in Charlestown, South Carolina and was the first Junior Warden of Lodge No.190. There is also mention that he was involved in the Holy Royal Arch in this same period of the 1770s. He was a most influential member of the Grand Master’s Lodge No.1 on the Atholl register, now No.1 on the register of the United Grand Lodge of England. He was honoured in September 1785, at the age 50, with Grand Rank under the Atholl Society, being made JunioWarden. He became Master of this lodge in 1793 and Treasurer in 1794, holding office with distinction for 35 years.

silver-stamp-on-the-lord-dunboyne-jewel

In 1868 The Grand Master, in conjunction with his Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes, carried out a review of Administration throughout the Irish Constitution. The Grand Lodge Board submitted a proposal to The Grand lodge meeting in April 1868, proposing the Constitution of thirteen new Provincial Grand Lodges and a separate grouping, for the Lodges meeting in Dublin, who came under the direct control ot The Grand lodge Board. This proposal was accepted and Lord Dunboyne was appointed Provincial Grand Master of the new Provincial Grand Lodge of North Munster. This was an office that he would for a further 13 years until his death in 1881.

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Very Wor Bro Ambrose Bloxham Armstrong Called To Grand Lodge Above.

Very Wor Bro Ambrose Bloxham Armstrong.

Very Wor Bro Ambrose Bloxham Armstrong.

It is with deep sadness that we record the Passing of Very Wor Bro Ambrose Armstrong, a prominent ritualist from Cairncastle,in the South East corner of County Antrim. Since his earliest membership in the Craft, he always had a keen interest in our ritual, and this took him into the Larne Class of Instruction. Here he progressed, eventually becoming Class Leader of the Larne Class, before his appointment as an Elected Member of The Grand Lodge of Instruction, a uniquely Irish Institution which safeguards the purity of our Ritual.

For many years Ambrose was one of the friendly faces that we met when visiting Cairncastle 788 I.C. He was very proud of his membership in this Lodge and in the photograph above, he is exhibiting an early Cairncastle Lodge photograph, when his late father, a Lighthouse Keeper, stationed for many years on the Island of Rathlin, occupied the Chair in Cairncastle Lodge. Ambrose always had a great interest in the history and symbolism of Freemasonry, and with the help of the late Very Wor Bro David McCutcheon organised a very successful visit to Cairncastle 788 by the Brethren of The Irish Lodge of Research. Whilst there, we visited St Patricks Church of Ireland Church, where Ambrose related the explanation on how there comes to be a Spanish Chestnut growing in the graveyard, traditionally sprouting from a chestnut in the pocket of one of the Spanish sailors, drowned off the coast of Ballygally and buried in the Cairncastle graveyard, after their galleon sunk at the time of The Spanish Armada.

Tomorrow, on the 24th November at 12.00 Noon, the funeral of our Very Wor Bro Ambrose Armstrong will take place in this very same church, before being buried in the family plot in this same graveyard. Our deepest sympathy and prayers go out to the family circle, son Billy and daughters Sally and Heather, and his Grandchildren Peter, Sarah and Conor. Our thoughts are with them all at this difficult time.

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Most Wor Brother Darwin H.Templeton C.B.E., F.C.A. called to The Grand Lodge Above.

most-wor-bro-darwin-templeton-past-grand-master-grand-lodge-of-ireland

It is with great sadness that we record the passing of Most Worshipful Brother Darwin H.Templeton, C.B.E., F.C.A. Grand Master of The Grand Lodge of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons of Ireland from 1991 to 2001. He had served as Deputy to Most Wor Brother Dermot 7th Marquis of Donegal L.V.O., and in due course was followed as Grand Master by Most Wor Bro Eric N. Waller in 2002. Darwin was born in 1922, trained as an accountant, became a venture capitalist, and was actively involved in a large number of private businesses and semi state bodies throughout the island of Ireland. He served as President of The Chartered Accountants of Ireland in the years 1970-71.

But his first love was Freemasonry, and from his home outside Broughshane, he would become intimately involved in the growth and development of Irish Freemasonry. As an accountant, his first major post in the Craft was to serve as the Right Worshipful Grand Treasurer of The Grand Lodge of Ireland, In 1983 he was elected to serve as Assistant Grand Master,before progressing to the post of Deputy Grand Master in 1989. Then in 1991 he became Grand Master, when Most Wor Bro, The Marquis of Donegal stepped to the side, and became the first Past Grand Master in modern years. In the previous 200 years, most Grand Master’s died in office, so this was an important milestone in the history of Irish Freemasonry.

Darwin was only the second Grand Master originating within the Province of Antrim. Back in the late 18th century Randal William MacDonnell, Viscount Dunluce ( afterwards the Marquess of Antrim ) served two terms as Grand Master of Ireland in the years 1772-73 and 1778-81. He also served as Grand Master of The Grand Lodge of the Antients in London, when his Grand Secretary, at that time was none other than Lawrence Dermott Esq.

Darwin was a strong supporter of Rt Wor Bro Robert L. Orr Provincial Grand Master of Antrim in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Rt Wor Bro Orr came up with an initiative known as The Young Master Masons of Antrim, a group of Young Brethren, not yet Past the Chair, but selected, for their interest and enthusiasm, and directed to carry out a wide ranging study of how Craft Lodges operated within the Province, and how, if at all, they could be improved to encourage new Membership and retain existing members, once they had passed the Chair. An intense period of Lodge visits took place and a major report, known as The Younger Master Masons of Antrim report was prepared and submitted to Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim and The Grand Lodge of Ireland. Provincial Grand Lodge implemented a number of the report’s recommendations right away, and in the longer term, thanks to the careful support from Most Wor Bro Templeton, Grand Lodge adopted most of the rest of these recommendations, which it duly published under the title of The Way Forward document. Thanks to the close friendship between Darwin and Lord Farnham, Pro Grand Master of The United Grand Lodge of England, the outcome of this report was widely disseminated around all three of the Home Constitutions.

Darwin’s period as Grand Master was also notable for the various trips carried out by our Most Wor Grand Master and his Grand Secretary – Rt Wor Bro Michael Walker, as they visited our many overseas Lodges and Provinces. In 1995,on the 4th February they constituted The Provincial Grand Lodge of Jamaica, and invested Rt Wor Bro James Seiuright Moss-Solomon to be our First Provincial Grand Master in Jamiaca. In total there were some 5 Lodges under the control of our new Provincial Grand Master. In April 1996, they were off again, this time to Hongcong to Constitute Baden Powell Lodge No 929 I.C., on the roll of The Grand Lodge of Ireland. Darwin was a firm believer in involving all of our membership in our Masonic activities, and to that end he organised the first Grand Master’s Festival, specifically established to raise funds for non Masonic Charities. It this he was very successful both in getting Lodges and their members raising large sums of money, and in raising awareness throughout the Island of Ireland and further afield of the existence of Irish Freemasonry and its benefits to the populous at large. This first Festival, concluded with a Dinner and Show in the First Floor Dining Room of the Belfast City Hall.

Brethren, our late Most Wor Brother, brought me into Grand Lodge Masonry with his invitation to serve as his personal Standard Bearer. He was a man of
great ability, enthusiasm, a leader amongst men, who was universally liked by our membership around the globe. In later years he has not enjoyed the best of health, but during his time in Office, he made a difference. And in the end Brethren, this is all that any of us can hope to do. These brief words would not be complete without noting his mantra – Apart of Society, not apart from Society.

Our prayers and sympathy go out to his wife Pat and the rest of his extended family circle, at this difficult time. The interment will take place in Broughshane Presbyterian Graveyard on Friday the 4th November after a memorial service in West Church, Ballymena, which will commence at Noon.

Bob Bashford.

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The Leinster Journal Vol II. No 93 dated Wednesday November 16th 1768.

Frontis of the November 1768 Issue of Edmund Finn's Leinster Journal.

Frontis of the November 1768 Issue of Edmund Finn’s Leinster Journal.

We are very grateful to that well known Masonic Researcher – Wor Bro Edwin Hancock for drawing our attention to an interesting Masonic article recorded in the November 1768 edition of Edmund Finn’s The Leinster Journal. This paper founded by Edmund Finn in 1767, was the first published News-Sheet in Kilkenny, published bi-weekly on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s and it quickly build up a readership in counties Waterford, Kilkenny, Carlow and up as far north as Castledermot in Co Kildare. It was a financial success, establishing the wealth of the Finn family, thanks to the hard work and effort put in by Edmund and his employees. Sadly Edmund died in 1777, so his wife Catherine became quite famous for running the paper, in his stead, whilst still raising her family of seven children.

Details from the Banner Headline.

Details from the Banner Headline.

Modern version of the text of the 1768 Journal.

Modern version of the text of the 1768 Journal.

Enlargement of the Original Article.

Enlargement of the Original Article.

For those with a military interest Lord Drogheda’s Regiment was first raised by Charles Moore, First Marquess of Drogheda as the 19th Regiment of (Light) Dragoons in 1759; it was also known as the Drogheda’s Light Horse.It was renumbered the 18th Regiment of (Light) Dragoons in 1763, and briefly the 4th Regiment of Light Dragoons in 1766 before reverting to the 18th in 1769.Lord Drogheda entered the British Army, as cornet in the 12th Dragoons on 1 May 1744; was gazetted as Colonel of the 18th Hussars 3 August 1762; and died on 22 of December 1821; having been colonel of the Regiment for sixty-two years.

charles-moore-1st-marquis-of-drogheda

charles-moore-1st-marquis-of-drogheda

As some of you may recall, the funeral service described above, is very similar to that described in the extract from the Victorian version that featured in one of our earlier blogs, a couple of months ago. We are always keen to receive any snippets, articles or fillers which illustrate aspects of our earlier Masonic History, and again would thank Wor BroHandcock for his input in this instance.

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The Man who designed The White House & The Capitol Building in Washington.

james-hoban-whitehouse-architect-obverse

james-hoban-whitehouse-architect-obverse

The White House, then known as “the President’s House,” was the first public building to be erected in Washington. In 1790, the Commissioners of the District held a competition, seeking designs for the future executive mansion. A prize of $500 would be awarded to the winning architect. Hundreds of hopeful American architects participated–including Thomas Jefferson, who submitted his design anonymously. But the Commissioners chose instead the blueprint of a young Irish immigrant, James Hoban.

James was born in County Kilkenny, Ireland in 1758, the son of Edward Hoban and Martha Bayne. In 1772, he went to Dublin and studied architecture under Thomas Ivory. Eight years later, in 1780, he won a gold medal from the Dublin Society for his “Drawings of Brackets, Stairs, Roofs, etc.”

Following the end of the War of the American Revolution in 1783, James bought a one-way passage on a Dublin merchantman and sailed to Philadelphia, then the USA’s capital and also its largest and fastest-growing city. On May 25, 1785, he took out an advertisement in the Pennsylvania Evening Herald, offering his services as an architect.

Projects were a little slow coming his way, so, in 1787, James took the advice of several friends in his Masonic lodge and moved to Charleston, S.C. There his career really caught fire. “From 1787 to 1792, he designed Savage’s Green Theatre and a plan for an orphan asylum.” In 1790, he designed and supervised the construction of Prospect Hill, the plantation house on Edisto Island, 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Charleston.

On July 18, 1792, the Commission awarded James the $500 and invited him to “oversee and implement construction of the President’s House.”

leinsterhousedublin2010

leinsterhousedublin2010

“Hoban based his design on the Leinster House in Dublin (1745-1751)…Late Georgian in style, with a giant portico bisecting a rectangular, three-story building, its facades were organized according to a traditional Renaissance-derived palace type with the principal story raised above ground, its tall windows surrounded by pediments marking its importance.”

The building site was nothing to write home about. Both the White House and Lafayette Square had been situated by Pierre L’Enfant in “The Barrens,” a scrubland notable for its panoramic south-facing view of the Potomac River.

Leinster House is located on Kildare Street in Dublin, just south of Temple Bar and Trinity College.The man who built the Leinster House was James Fitzgerald, the 20th Earl of Kildare. He began construction in 1745, the year of the civil war in Scotland which culminated in the defeat of “Bonnie Prince Charlie” at Culloden. In 1747, James Fitzgerald married Emily Lennox, the daughter of Charles Lennox, the Duke of Richmond, and a godfather to King George II. As a result of this favorable marriage, James was made Viscount Leinster in 1749 by George II and later the Duke of Leinster in 1766 by George III. He was a man, well regarded by all, who looked after his tenents and workers, during times of great difficulty.

On April 26, 1779, James Fitzgerald and Dr. George A. Cunningham of Dublin wrote to Thomas Arthur of Irvine, Scotland, Master of the Mother Lodge in Kilwinning, and requested permission to “form a Lodge of the same name in Dublin.” This was the Kilwinning Lodge, also known as the High Knights Templar Lodge of Ireland.

Curiously, one of James Fitzgerald’s ancestors was involved with the original Knights Templar. According to The History of the Knights Templar, Maurice FitzGerald invited the Templars to organize banking houses in Dublin. A delegation of Templars under Roger le Waleis moved to Dublin in 1204 from the order’s stronghold at Templemore on Ireland’s southern coast. The Templar order was suppressed a century later in 1314.

The Hoban medallion was struck in 1993, by The Supreme Council 33rd Degree, Mother Jurisdiction of the World A & A.S.R of Freemasonry in its 192nd Year. The reverse of the medallion has a view commemorating the 200th anniversary of George Washington laying the corner stone of the US Capitol Building in 1793.

Washington Laying Cornerstone of the US Capitol in 1793

Washington Laying Cornerstone of the US Capitol in 1793

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What is a Masonic Vesta.

matches-cover-james-mehaffey-raloo-no-175-1838

Vesta boxes were small portable boxes, made in a great variety of forms with snap shut covers to contain Vestas ( short matches ) and keep them dry. The name Vesta comes from the name of the Roman Goddess of Fire and The Hearth, and in Victorian times was associated with matches ( for Fire Lighting and for Smokers ).

In America these little boxes were known as Pocket Match Safes or Match Safes, and were used for match stoage right in to the 20th Century.

vesta-cover-1838-james-mehaffey-1838

The flat surfaces on these Vesta boxes were popular with engravers, and on example illustrating these notes, has a Masonic theme. It has the name of its owner – a Mr James Mehaffey, the date 1838 and his Lodge number 175, which we know, refers to St Patrick’s Union Lodge No 175 I.C., held in Raloo, on the outskirts of Larne in Co Antrim. This was a Warrant that was Issued by the Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes, at its meeting in Dublin on the 7th January 1813, and empowered a group of local Larne Brethren to assemble together and Constitute Lodge No 175, Raloo. And we know that this Vesta Box is associated with Raloo, as Bro James MeHaffey was registered as a member of the Lodge. This particular item, an antique Brass Masonic Vesta case is currently being offered for sale on E-Bay for approx £ 200 sterling.

It is a beautiful Victorian example of a Vesta case, engraved with various symbols including The Triangle of Twelve Lights, A Group of Working Implements, The Sun, Moon and Seven Stars, The All Seeing Eye, The Arch with a keystone in the center containing the letter “G”. Then we have a Fellowcraft Compasses and Square, the symbols of Mortality, The 12 inch guage, The Burning Bush and Rod of Moses, the Trowel, Christian Cross, Sprig of Acacia and the three runged ladder. On the two legs of the Arch, in their proper positions are the letters “J” and “B”.

All in all a fascinating local example of the Masonic Vesta, an item with much symbolism to inform those Brothers with an interest in our history.

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Culture Night 2016.

Some 38 regions throughout the island of Ireland ( check www.culturenight.ie ) will take part in the annual Culture Night celebrations throughout the Island of Ireland tonight. Locations as far apart as Armagh to Wicklow, Cork to Londonderry and Dublin to the wilds of Mayo will all host various arts and culture events for the pleasure, education and information of the General Public. And I’m pleased to report that Irish Freemasonry has once again stepped up to the plate to play its part in the ever evolving culture of the Island of Ireland.

Craft Lodgeroom in Tuckey Street, Cork

Craft Lodgeroom in Tuckey Street, Cork

Portrait, Jewel and Signature of The Lady Freemason - The Lady Elizabeth Aldworth.

Portrait, Jewel and Signature of The Lady Freemason – The Lady Elizabeth Aldworth.

The Magnificent Mosaic of Jacob's Ladder located behind the Senior Warden's Chair.

The Magnificent Mosaic of Jacob’s Ladder located behind the Senior Warden’s Chair.

One of our oldest and most historic halls will be open this evening in Tucky Street, Cork between the hours of 6.00pm and 9.00pm, when the public will be able to explore the building and learn about the long history of Freemasonry in the Munster area. Of particular interest in this Hall are the many surviving artifacts relating to the Lady Elizabeth Aldworth, the only Lady ever to be made a member of Irish Freemasonry.I’m sure that her story will be a major part of the Tuckey Street, Tour later this evening.

View of The Grand Lodge Room, Molesworth Street, Dublin.

View of The Grand Lodge Room, Molesworth Street, Dublin.

The Grand Master's Throne, Grand Lodgeroom Molesworth Street

The Grand Master’s Throne, Grand Lodgeroom Molesworth Street

Headquarters in Molesworth Street Dublin will also take part in the Open Night festivities tonight with guided tours running from 5.00pm to 8.00pm. We have had the Hall in Molesworth Street open before, on many occasions over the last number of years, and is well supported by the local Dubs wanting to learn more about our aims and activities.

Watercolour View of Freemasons Hall, The Mall, Sligo.

Watercolour View of Freemasons Hall, The Mall, Sligo.

The Last Grip by Frank Fellar, hangs in the Sligo Hall.

The Last Grip by Frank Fellar, hangs in the Sligo Hall.

Over in the far west, in Yeats Country, our local Sligo Hall will be open from 4.00pm. Tours will run every 45 minutes, with the last tour starting at 9.00pm tonight.

Letterkenny Hall.

Letterkenny Hall.

Further north again, in the wilds of Letterkenny town Lodge 271 Letterkenny will open their hall on the Port Road, next to An Grianan Theatre between the hours of 7.00pm and 9.00pm. This will be th first time that this Hall will ever have been open to the public, and our members in Letterkenny are hoping for a goodly number of curious citizens to come along and learn a little about our monthly activities.

Framed Will Read Floor Cloth dated 1761.

Framed Will Read Floor Cloth dated 1761.

Finally our last venue participating tonight, will be the old hall located within the Bishop’s Palace complex, Bishop Street, Londonderry. This is a fascinating building and will welcome visitors between the hours of 6.00pm and 9.00pm tonight.

So Brethren, if you are heading out with family and friends tonight, take a few moments and visit one of the five Halls detailed and support the Brethren in their efforts to present to the world at large that we are indeed a part of society and not apart from society.

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European Masonic Open Day in Holywood.

Ever Open Door at McCammond Memorial Hall.

Ever Open Door at McCammond Memorial Hall.

Our Brethren in Holywood burned the midnight oil and prepared an interesting and scripted visit to entertain and inform their many visitors on Saturday past. The Hall is currently home to some 13 Lodges including 146 Wallace, 168 Ionic, 381 County, 403 Sharman Crawford, 486 Craigantlet Friendship, 497 McCammond Crozier Memorial, 524 Serviamus, 559 East Belfast, 560 Stormont, 725 Samuel Berkley Memorial, 826 Trafalgar, 829 Endeavour and 989 Harlandic.

Some of the Volunteers that were present.

Some of the Volunteers that were present.

The Hall has many interesting items on display including illuminated addresses, old Floor cloths, and several display cases of medals, pins, badges and other euphrema.

Illuminated Address Presented to the Late Rt Wor Bro Sharman Crawford.. P.P.G.M.

Illuminated Address Presented to the Late Rt Wor Bro Sharman Crawford.. P.P.G.M.

One of Two Old Floor-Cloths on display.

For those familiar with the Hall, they will find a very interesting word on the other old floorcloth. I’m referring to Chorazin – which was an ancient village in northern Galilee, 2 ½ miles from Capernaum, on a hill above the northern shore of The Sea of Galilee. The village had some associations with the new Testament story. It is said to have been cursed by Christ for sin see Matthew Chapter 11 verse 21 and Luke 10 verse 13.

Chorazin has also been used as a boy’s name in Hebrew, and is said to mean – The Secret or Here is a mystery. And so indeed, could we describe the magnificent scenes illustrated on this floorcloth. Sadly
the sun was just too bright, on my visit to get a deacent photograph, this time around.

The Sun arising over The Master's Chair.

The Sun arising over The Master’s Chair.

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Staff in Ulster Hospital receive the 100,000th T.L.C. Bear.

Richard Grey (TLC) with Sylvia Ritchie (Ulster Hospital Emergency Department) and representatives from Widows Sons Bikers Association — with Teddies for Loving Care - TLC Ireland and Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association Ireland.

Richard Grey (TLC) with Sylvia Ritchie (Ulster Hospital Emergency Department) and representatives from Widows Sons Bikers Association — with Teddies for Loving Care – TLC Ireland and Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association Ireland.

We are grateful to the members of T.L.C. and The Widow’s Sons Masonic Bikers Association Ireland for keeping us abreast of the latest developments on the Teddies for Loving Care initiative in Ireland. At a recent function held at the entrance to the Emergency Department at The Ulster Hospital, Rt Wor Bro Richard Grey handed over the 100,000th Teddy Bear to Ms Sylvia Ritchie representing the Emergency Staff at the hospital.

Staff from the Ulster Hospital Emergency Department - Sandra McCullough , Sylvia Ritchie, Judith Lowe, Jenny Walker ,Lynda O’Lone and Jenny Cherry

Staff from the Ulster Hospital Emergency Department – Sandra McCullough , Sylvia Ritchie, Judith Lowe, Jenny Walker ,Lynda O’Lone and Jenny Cherry

Teddies for Loving Care – TLC Ireland and Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association Ireland recently attended the Ulster Hospital Emergency Department to mark the donation of the 100,000th ‘TLC’ Teddy Bear’. TLC have donated teddy bears to the Emergency Departments in the Ulster, Lagan Valley & Downe hospitals over the past few years for staff to give to children or patients at their discretion. Giving a teddy bear to anyone who is distressed while in hospital will enable the medical staff to carry on with their vital work and help children and families have a more comforting experience.

The teddies were used in various ways, for the child or patient to cuddle as a reward for being brave and for staff to demonstrate what they are going to do. The teddies also act as a distraction and can provide reassurance for the child which helps, parents, guardians and siblings.

Sandra McCullough (Hospital Play Specialist), 'Teddy' and Richard Grey (TLC)

Sandra McCullough (Hospital Play Specialist), ‘Teddy’ and Richard Grey (TLC)

Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) is a charity supported by the Masonic Order within Ireland who donate sterile packaged teddy bears to hospital Emergency Departments in both Northern and Southern Ireland.
We were pleased to learn that The South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust would like to sincerely thank TLC for their donations to date and for their continued support in donating teddy bears to our Emergency Departments.

TLC & Widows Sons Bikers Association with staff from the Ulster Hospital Emergency Department.

TLC & Widows Sons Bikers Association with staff from the Ulster Hospital Emergency Department.

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The Masonic Funeral Service as set out by The Grand Lodge of Ireland.

Layout for Masonic Funeral Service.

Layout for Masonic Funeral Service.

Brethren, I have recently received a couple of Masonic enquiries from Irish Brethren wishing to learn about the form of The Masonic Funeral service, that used to be conducted under the auspices of The Grand Lodge of Ireland. Having now had a look into the background and history of the Funeral Service, I thought that it might be of interest to you all, to have some details on this important aspect of Irish tradition from our earliest days.
I’ve used as my source the details given in the 1850 edition of the Constitutions of Freemasonry or Ahiman Rezon published by The Grand Lodge of Ireland.

Frontis Page from the 1850 Edition of The Grand Lodge Laws and Constitutions.

Frontis Page from the 1850 Edition of The Grand Lodge Laws and Constitutions.

The Masonic Funeral Service is the most important act of compassion and service that a Masonic Lodge can preform for a Freemason and his family. Sadly, we no longer conduct seperate funeral ceremonies in Ireland, but attend the funeral service as individuals participating in the general service of remembrance organised by the family. However if you search on Google, or Facebook, you will see that some Constitutions, particularly our Brethren in the Prince Hall Constitutions, still conduct their own form of the Masonic Funeral service. I have included the entire funeral service below, as published in the 1850 Constitution of Freemasonry, by The Grand Lodge of Ireland.

Pages 1-2 of The Funeral Service.

Pages 1-2 of The Funeral Service.

Page 3-4 from The Funeral Service.

Page 3-4 from The Funeral Service.

Pages 5-6 from Funeral Service.

Pages 5-6 from Funeral Service.

Pages 7-8 from The Funeral Service.

Pages 7-8 from The Funeral Service.

Last Page from The Funeral Service.

Last Page from The Funeral Service.

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Dedication Ceremony of The Masonic Peace Memorial on 19th July 1933.

Copy of Programme for The Ceremony of Dedication.

Copy of The Programme for The Ceremony of Dedication.

Arthur, Duke of Connaught ( Youngest Son of Queen Victoria ) Grand Master of The United Grand Lodge of England 1901 -1939, spent some time on how Freemasonry should commemorate, those of its membership who were killed, or declared missing in The Great War. On the 27th June 1919, he organised a conference in The Albert Hall, and invited representatives from Ireland, Scotland and other Grand Lodges throughout the Commonwealth to attend in London and consider how best to commemorate those, of their membership, who died for King and Country. All those in attendance were presented with a Peace Medal, to commemorate their individual contributions, to the discussions of the day.

1919 Peace Medal given to Attendees of The Albert Hall Conference.

1919 Peace Medal given to Attendees of The Albert Hall Conference.

One outcome of the 1919 conference was the decision to begin fund raising by opening a fund that was known as The Masonic Million Memorial Fund, which came into being in January 1920. It had been decided that all donations would be used to construct a suitable memorial. Individual Masons who contributed 10 guineas would be presented with a commemorative silver medal and those who contributed 100 guineas would be presented with a commemorative gold medal. Lodges, who presented 10 guineas per member, for all their registered Members would be presented with a Hall Stone jewel, to be worn in perpetuity, by each incoming Worshipful Master, on his collarette, during his term of Office.

1914-1918 Hallstone Jewel.

1914-1918 Hallstone Jewel.

Arthur Duke of Connaught, decided to get an update on fund raising in 1925, when he held a Grand Festival in Olympia. Again, a special jewel was struck to mark the occasion, and Arthur was able to present the first of the Hall Stone jewels to the Master’s of qualifying Lodges. Each jewel has the Lodge number on the reverse and a register of Lodges, who received the jewel was commenced.

1914-1918 Hallstone Jewel.

1914-1918 Hallstone Jewel.

It was decided that the Memorial to all ( 3,225 ) three thousand two hundred and twenty five Brethren who died on active service in The Great War, should be incorporated into a new headquarters building, to be located in Great Queen Street, where the previous Grand Lodge building had been located. H.V.Ashley F.R.I.B.A., P.G.D. and Winton Newman F.R.I.B.A., P.A.G. Supt Works, were appointed to be architects on the project and were supported in their works by some twenty one members of the Building and Administration sub-committee. As fund raising continued, plans were approved, and building works got underway.

Front Elevation of the New Masonic Peace Memorial.

Front Elevation of the New Masonic Peace Memorial.

Inside a magnificent bronze altar a commemorative scroll was installed, complete with all 3,225 names of our Brethren, who gave their all. Behind the altar, was a magnificent stained glass window on the theme of the attainment of peace through sacrifice. In the center is the figure of The Angel of Peace, carrying a model of the Tower of the Building.

Memorial Altar containing The Memorial Roll.

Memorial Altar containing The Memorial Roll.

Some of the Surrounding Stained Glass Windows around the Memorial.

Some of the Surrounding Stained Glass Windows around the Memorial.

Works were finally completed in the Spring of 1933, and arrangements were put in hand for the Dedication Ceremony. The day was selected and official invitations were dispatched around the globe. Field Marshal H.R.H. The Duke of Connaught and Stratharn K.G. Most Wor Grand Master was intimately involved with all aspects of the Dedication Ceremonies. Grand Lodge delegations were in attendance from South America, Australasia, Canada, Europe, United States of America, Scotland and Ireland. In the case of Ireland, our delegation was led by the Rt Hon the Earl of Donoughmore K.P., P.C.,
Grand Master of Ireland accompanied by his Deputy, Rt Wor Bro Raymond F. Brooke, Lt Col Rt Hon Lord Farnham, D.S.O., Prov GM of Meath, Col Rt Hon R.S.Sharman-Crawford, C.B.E., D.L., Prov Grand Master of Down, Rt Wor Bro Cecil J. Sibbett Prov Grand Master Southern Cape Province, Sir William J Smyly M.D., F.R.C.P., S.G.W. Ireland and Rt Wor Bro H.C.Shellard. Grand Secretary of Ireland. Interestingly there are a number of other well known names found amongst the Officers of The United Grand Lodge of England. These include a number of senior Royals including H.R.H The Prince of Wales, H.R.H. The Duke of York, H.R.H. Prince Arthur of Connaught, H.R.H. Prince George, Also found on the lists are Sir Percy Greenaway Lord Mayor of London and Rt Hon the Lord Cornwallis C.B.E. Deputy Grand Master.

Listing of Key-Stone Lodges and Individual Donors.

Listing of Key-Stone Lodges and Individual Donors.

You may be interested to learn that the listing contains 1321 Hall – Stone Lodges and some 53,244 individual awards.

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First International Meeting of European Masonic Lodges in Toulon in May 2017.

Illustration from Spirit of Freemasonry ipublished 1775.

Illustration from Spirit of Freemasonry ipublished 1775.

The steering committee of ICOM 2017 has pleasure in announcing the following:-

WHAT ?

The Grand Loge de France are the organisers of the first International Meeting of Lodges of Research, called ICOM 2017, to be held 19th to 21st May 2017, at Toulon in the south of France. Welcoming all public for two days, they will be preceded by an afternoon reserved to the partners, speakers and panels chairmen of the event

WITH WHO ?
This conference will gather 26 of the leading world Masonic historians, along with the most important lodges of research from the principal obediences and jurisdictions. See the attached list.

The central theme of this first event is :

THE TRADITION OF THE ANCIENTS.

Operative origins ; Establishment in England ; Heritage in the World, America, and Europe

This year we especially honour Masonic research in Australia and New Zealand, represented by the Australia and New Zealand Masonic Research Council (ANZMRC).

The scientific committee of ICOM 2017 will be co-chaired by Alain Bernheim and Louis Trebuchet.

THE PROGRAMME?

Two plenary presentations and ninteen round table sessions will allow a well rounded development of the theme. Each will be chaired by a different lodge of research. The topics of each conference and round table will be published subsequently. A participation fee will be asked for the plenaries and panels.

EVEN MORE :-

Instructions Des H...G...

Instructions Des H…G…

• A Book Fair
General and specialist booksellers of both new, used and antiquarian books, independent editors, and authors will be present. Free access.

Example of Early Napoleonic Prisioner of War Jewels.

Example of Early Napoleonic Prisioner of War Jewels.

• A Masonic Exhibition
As part of the celebration of the ‘Nuit des Musées’, the museum of the Grande Loge de France will display a selection of pieces from its collection and from private collections. Free Access.

• A Tasting Wine Bar
A collection of ‘vignerons’, ‘caves’ and ‘domaines’ from the Mediterranean area will offer their crus for tasting and for sale. Free Access.

• Le Dîner des Lumières
The guest of honour at the dinner will be Jean-Noël Jeanneney who will talk on ‘The Responsibility of the Historian, looking to the world and to the evolution of civilization’.
Historian of politics, of culture and of the media, past minister, past President of the ‘Bibliothèque Nationale Francaise’ (BnF), past President of Radio France, President of the committee of the Bicentenary of the Revolution, as well as the ‘Rencontres de photo d’Arles’, he is also a producer of programmes on France Culture. Paid access, requiring advance booking.

Irish Lodge Master 1750.

Irish Lodge Master 1750.

• A Historic Masonic Re-enactment
Lodge No.1 of the GLDF, Saint Jean d’Ecosse, Mother ‘Scottish’ lodge of Marseille, has reconstructed as theatre a ceremony of initiation, in costume of the time and using their ritual from the XVIIIth century. This is NOT a tyled meeting; although access will be restricted to brothers and sisters upon proof.

• Publication of the Contributions
Each conference and round table will be recorded, and those attending will be able to acquire these recordings.

All contributions will also be included in the illustrated publication of the proceedings. The Proceedings will go on sale later; participants will be notified of their availability and how they may be purchased. 

FACILITIES

Throughout both days the cloakroom, bar and a midday (purchased) buffet will be available for guests.
2 car parks within close proximity.

Numerous hotels and guest rooms in the town.
The ‘Palais Neptune’ is in the heart of the old city, inside the pedestrian area, and at the edge of the old port of Toulon.

REGISTRATION & INFORMATION

Please go to www.icom.fm to register, for news and information, printing of entry badges, and to contact the organisers.

PARTNERS

The City of Toulon, Credit Mutuel Méditerranéen and the Regional Council PACA are partners of ICOM 2017

CONTACT

Steering Committee of ICOM 2017 : Michel Lecour (33) 6 12 28 42 97 infonews@icom.fm

THE SPEAKERS

Robert Bashford, Lodge of Research No.CC, (GL of Ireland)
Pierre Yves Beaurepaire, Professeur d’histoire moderne Université de Sophia Antipolis
John Belton Lodge, Quatuor Coronati Lodge No.2076 (UGLE)
Alain Bernheim, Membre d’Honneur of the Supreme Conseil de France
Bruno Berthet WM of Lodge No.1, Saint Jean d’Ecosse, Mère Loge écossaise de Marseille (GLDF)
Klaus Bettag, Freimaurerische Forschungsvereinigung Frederik (Flensburg Germany)
John Hairston, Prince Hall Harmony Lodge No.2, (PHAGLWA Seattle, WA, USA)
Colin Heyward, Past President of Australia & New-Zealand Masonic Research Council
Yves Hivert-Messeca, Aréopage Sources (SCGC REAA GODF)
Margaret Jacob, Distinguished Professor of History, UCLA (USA)
Marsha Keith Schuchard PhD, Atlanta, Georgia (USA)
Michel Lecour, WM Loge de recherche Mare Nostrum (GLDF)
Adrian Mac Liman Centro Ibérico de Estudios Masónicos, Madrid
Henry Mackelbert Hon Grand Commandeur (SC de Belgique)
Iain McIntosh, Lodge Discovery No.1789 (GL of Scotland)
Christian Mermet, S. T. R., Secrétaire de la Fondation Latomia
Pierre Mollier, Conservateur du Musée du Grand Orient de France
Brent Morris 33e, SC (SJ) of the USA, Editor of Heredom, Scottish Rite Research Society
Neil Wynes Morse, President Australia & New-Zealand Masonic Research Council
Aubrey Newman, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Leicester, Quatuor Coronati Lodge No.2076 (UGLE)
Andreas Önnerfors, Research Lodge Carl Friedrich Eckleff, (GL of Sweden)
Michel Pelissier, Président de la commission d’histoire du SCDF
Jacques Simon, Grand Orateur du Suprême Conseil pour la France
Jan Snoek, Freimaurerische Forschungsvereinigung Frederik (Flensburg, Germany)
Louis Trebuchet, WM Loge de recherche Marquis de La Fayette (GLDF)
Georges Vieux, (GL of California)

THE LODGES OF RESEARCH

La loge Mare Nostrum (GLDF) will preside at the Opening of the Conference.
La loge Marquis de La Fayette (GLDF) will preside at the Closing of the Conference

The round tables will be presided over by :

QC logo

QC logo

Quatuor Coronati No.2076 (UGLE)
Aréopage Les Chevaliers du Saint Empire (SCDF)
Aréopage Sources (SC GODF)
Villard de Honnecourt (GLNF)
Scottish Rite Research Society (SC (SJ) USA)
Quatuor Coronati Bayreuth No.808 (VGLvD)
Ars Macionica #30 (GLR Belgique) to be confirmed
Groupe de Recherche Alpina (Suisse) to be confirmed
American Lodge of Research (GL of New York, USA)
Lodge Hope Kurrachee No.337 (GL of Scotland) to be confirmed

lodge 200 cc coloursmall

lodge 200 cc coloursmall

Lodge of Research No.CC (GL of Ireland)
Quatuor Coronati No.1166 Perugia (GO of Italy) to be confirmed
Research Lodge Carl Friedrich Eckleff (GL of Sweden)
Australian and New Zealand Masonic Research Council
Jean Scot Erigène No.1000 (GLDF)
Loge de Recherche Bartholdi (GLNF Méditerranée)
Claude-François Achard (LNF) to be confirmed
Diogène de Sinope No.1333, Lomé (GLDF)
Freimaurerische Forschungsvereinigung Frederik (VGLvD)
Contre-Amiral Vence (ASPOMA)
Commission d’Histoire du Droit Humain
GLTSO to be confirmed
Loge de Recherche Gérard de Nerval (GL-AMF)
Commission d’Histoire (GLFF)

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Some Thoughts on Ballycarry & The Battle of The Somme.

Part of The Historical Display.

Part of The Historical Display.

On this evening of the First of July, I am delighted to have this opportunity to talk to you about the sacrifices made by many Freemasons, who volunteered to do their bit for King and Country, some one hundred years ago, when the Great War was under way. In the case of our hosts – Redhall Lodge No 260 on the register of The Grand Lodge of Ireland, we know that eleven Brethren volunteered and of that number, 8 paid the supreme price. Lodge members from Redhall, who served included :-

Robert Boyd R.N.R.

William Dick – kiiled in action.

John Donnan Lieut R.N.

Allen E, Hawthorne Lieut R.N.

James Hawthorne. killed in action.

James Hill. killed in action.

William McKay. killed in action.

Robert McCauley. killed in action.

George Ross. killed in action.

William Wilson. killed in action.

Thomas Woodside R.N.R. killed in action.

Earlier this morning, their Brethren from Redhall 260 laid a wreath to the memory of their fallen Members, at a wreath laying ceremony held at the Cenotaph in Ballycarry at 7.30AM this morning. As you all, by now know, this was the time when the first wave left their trenches to attack the German lines. Some 3000 Ulstermen died that day, but in total the British lost some 19240 men in the battles of the 1st July 1916.

Group of Redhall Lodge Members at the Cenotaph.

Group of Redhall Lodge Members at the Cenotaph.

WM of Redhall Lodge 260 with wreath.

WM of Redhall Lodge 260 with wreath.

Billy Thompson at Ballycarry Cenotaph.

Billy Thompson at Ballycarry Cenotaph.

Lodge Members with their whistles.

Lodge Members with their whistles.

You may be surprised to learn that officers below the rank of major died at a much higher rate on the Somme than private soldiers did. On that first day of battle on the 1st July 1916 some 60% of British Officers on the front lines were killed in action. Although we all talk about the first day of the Somme, the battle was to rage over a fifteen mile long front for some 141 days, up to the 18th November 1916 with some 419,654 men being Killed, Declared Missing or Wounded, as the battle progressed.

Model of the Triplane used by the Red Baron.

Model of the Triplane used by the Red Baron.

Something we do not often think of is the fact that The Royal Flying Corps, the air army of the British Army, lost 800 aircraft and 252 aircrew were killed in The Battle of the Somme. So we now have an opportunity to think of Serg James Hopkins and 2nd Lieut William Martin from 162 Islandmagee, both served in the RAF at that time. Similarly Capt George H Creighton, a member of Chichester Lodge No 313 Whitehead also fought at the Somme. Another 313 Member George H Moir was a captain in the Royal Navel Air Service. Thankfully all four of these Brethren made it safely home.

You may be interested to learn that some 51 Victoria Crosses were awarded to participants in The battle of the Somme. Four of these were won on the 1st day of the battle by men serving in the 36th Ulster Division. And of these, our Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth was in Bushmills, County Antrim earlier this week to unveil a memorial statue to Sergeant Robert Quigg, who ventured into No-Mans Land seven times on the evening of the 1st July as he searched for his commanding Officer Lieutenant Sir Harry McNaughton, whilst coming under heavy shell and machine gun fire. He was un-able to find his officer, but did bring safely back some seven other casualties, before he became too tired to continue. For this sterling effort, he was awarded the Victoria Cross. Queen Elizabeth had met Quigg at the time of her coronation, and now she has dedicated a statue to his memory.

Tonight, I want to spend a few moments and tell you a little about a very special Irish Masonic Lodge No 420, known as Pioneers Masonic Lodge, attached ( today we would say embedded ) in the 16th battalion of The Royal Irish Rifles. These notes were taken from a short paper written by Bro Major R.C. Gardiner, foundation Master of the Lodge, and was presented in Grand Lodge on the 26th October 1917, on the occasion of the first leave received by Major Gardiner since his recruitment. This Lodge was formed by a number of Irish Freemasons, who came together in the Pioneer Battalion of The Royal Irish Rifles, and they made application to the Grand Lodge of Ireland, who in turn issued Warrant No 420 to the applicants, for use of
the Brethren serving in the 16th Pioneer Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles. The Battalion were initially based in the grounds of Brownlow House in Lurgan, and consequentially the Lodge selected an enamel painting of Brownlow House, to act as their Foundation Jewel.

Foundation Jewel of Pioneers Masonic Lodge No 420 I.C.

Foundation Jewel of Pioneers Masonic Lodge No 420 I.C.

On completion of their initial training, the battalion were moved to Aldershot before finally arriving in France. They just had time in Aldershot to get a set of Officers pedestals, an Alter and Warrant Frame manufactured by a local joiner, who also manufactured carrying frames to protect the furniture and regalia, which they had also purchased in England before departure.

Past Master's Jewel for Foundation Master of Pioneers Lodge No 420 I.C.

Past Master’s Jewel for Foundation Master of Pioneers Lodge No 420 I.C.

This may be the moment to explain the duties of a Pioneer Battalion. These were the highly trained men who built new roads, laid new railways, dug trenches complete with fiure-steps, ammunition stores and the drainage sump, placed barbed wire and built dug-outs and other fortified positions. They, and the pioneer battalions attached to other regiments, were the men that provided the access, laid the roads and rails, to bring in the heavy field-guns and some 1.2 million shells that were used in the sustained artillery barrage over the five days prior to the 1st July. They were also the men who brought in the horse drawn ambulances, the stretchers and set up the field hospitals, drainage and other structures to keep the army fed and watered whilst on station at the front. Then once an attack was mooted, the Pioneers, like other Battalions were given their place on the Line, at the front in the initial attack, or in reserves to come to the aid and support of other battalions as required.

Battlefield Circular Pioneers Masonic Lodge No 420 I.C.

Battlefield Circular Pioneers Masonic Lodge No 420 I.C.

Pioneer Lodge, was one of the most remarkeable Lodges in the British Army, as it held various meetings on the Front Line. On one famous occasions, whilst giving a second degree to two Brethren one evening in a dug-out, the Lodge Members had to endure sustained machine gun and shell fire, until
the situation became so hot, that the WM stopped the Degree, Called off the Lodge and told all present to carefully vacate the dug-out and retire until the barrage reduced. Two hours later, they safely returned to the dug-out and completed the degree ceremony, before Lodge was closed in the usual way. It was these meetings, that set Pioneers Lodge apart from many of the other Masonic Lodges that held their meeting safely back in the rear areas behind the Front line. For those wanting to read the full story of the adventures of The Pioneer Lodge, then I would recommend that you get a copy of the reprint of volume one of the Transactions of The Irish Lodge of Research, where you can read the entire fascinating story.

First World War Water Cooled Maxim Machine Gun used by The British Army.

First World War Water Cooled Maxim Machine Gun used by The British Army.

Brethren, it was an honour to participate in the commemorations of the Brethren from Redhall Masonic Lodge No 260 I.C. as they commemorated the sacrifices made by their Lodge some one hundred years ago today. We learned a lot about the causes and development of The Great War from the talk given earlier that evening by the Rev John Nelson, enjoyed the two songs written about The Great War sung by Wor Bro Mervyn Robinson and also enjoyed the marvellous display that had been set up on the Ground Floor for our education and enjoyment.

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Advance Notice on Talk on Freemasonry and the First Day of the Somme.

Lecture on the Somme at Ballycarry.

Lecture on the Somme at Ballycarry.

Brethren, on the First Day of the Somme 1916, the population of Ulster was to suffer an awful devastating blow as their menfolk endured terrible losses in the killing fields of The Somme, as they went over the top at 7.30AM and charged into a maelstrom of death and destruction. Fathers, Sons, Brothers, Cousins and next door neighbours died in their struggle to bring the war to their German allies. And in the case of the Ulster Division, they were very successful with their advance, which took them far in front of their adjacent divisions. And that ultimately is what done them in, as the Germans not only rallied and recaptured most of their own trenches, because the Ulster’s had no support, either behind or on their flanks.

The Brethren who served from Redhall Lodge No 260 Ballycarry.

The Brethren who served from Redhall Lodge No 260 Ballycarry.

Their Fellow Volunteers from Straid Lodge No 276, Ballyclare.

Their Fellow Volunteers from Straid Lodge No 276, Ballyclare.

Volunteers from Islandmagee 162 I.C.

Volunteers from Islandmagee 162 I.C.

Volunteers from Chichester Lodge no 313, whitehead.

Volunteers from Chichester Lodge no 313, whitehead.

Many brave Masonic volunteers joined up to serve in the newly formed territorial battalions of the 36th Ulster Brigade. Many came from the Ulster Volunteers, who had some small experience in military training. On the above pages you will find details of the Brethren from Redhall 260, Straid 276, Islandmagee 162 and Chichester 313, Whiehead who joined to serve King and country.

Interesting some of the lines that best sum up the thoughts and fears of the soldiers waiting patiently for the great attack on the morning of the 1st July 1916, were written by none other than local boy James Orr, as he waited on the battle of Antrim, on Donegore Hill on the evening of the 7th June 1798. In his poem entitles A Prayer he wrote :-

Almighty Lord of Life and Death,
while men for strife prepare.
Let but this heart, thy favour feel,
And peace will still be there.

How dare I ask, thy bolts to throw,
whose mandate – do not kill,
But whilst as man, I have to fight,
As man, oh may I feel.

Why dread to die, what griefs I’ve borne,
what pains have plucked each nerve,
Yet why not wish to grow more wise,
And live my friends to serve.

Almighty Lord of Life and Death,
While men for strife prepare.
Let but this heart thy favour feel,
And peace will still be there.

Brethren if you are in the south Antrim area tomorrow evening, then please come along to Redhall Masonic lodge room and help us mark the anniversary of this awful battle, which claimed so many Brethren from the Ballycarry district. We hope to tell you a little about Masonic activities on the front line and hope to give you all a bite and social hour afterwards. So if you are free, then please come along and support this effort by a local Lodge to recall the sacrifices of its members in the Great War – to End all Wars.

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Presentation to Q.C. Lodge No 2076 Great Queen Street, London.

QC logo

QC logo

Brethren, I can only apologize for the lack of postings over the last few weeks, but my focus has been on the final preparations for my presentation on the 23rd June 2016 to the Brethren of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No 2076 on the registers of The United Grand Lodge of England. This Lodge founded on the 28th November 1884 was formed by a number of English Masonic Researchers, including Robert Freke Gould to conduct authentic Masonic Research, which would be subject to vigorous academic questioning and verification by the Brethren of the Lodge, before finally making it into print in their annual printed transactions.Our very own Rt Wor Bro Chetwode Crawley was the first non-English member who joined the Lodge on the 2nd June 1887. In the early years of Q.C. many Irish contributors were found among the published Lodge papers and among this number were Brethren such as John Heron Lepper, Philip Crossle, William Tait, Richard E Parkinson, Francis Joseph Biggar to name but a few. It has been quite a few years since anyone from Ireland has read a paper to the Lodge.

lodge 200 cc coloursmall

lodge 200 cc coloursmall

In my own particular case, I joined the Irish Lodge of Research, as a corresponding circle member in 1983, and one year later in 1984 I researched and presented my first paper on the history of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Cary and Dunluce, which was presented to the Brethren of The Irish Lodge of Research, in the Chatham Hall Masonic Lodge Rooms, located outside the village of Armoy, in the north east corner of the Masonic Province of Antrim. Two years later in 1986, I joined a small party from Lodge 200 who were invited over to Great Queen Street in London to participate in their centenary celebrations, which were held in the Grand Lodge Room, with a large turn out of Freemasons from around the globe. It was at this time that my interest in QC began and now some thirty years later, I have the opportunity to present a talk on Aspects of the History of Freemasonry in Ireland illustrated with photographs of some of the many surviving artifacts found in Lodges, Halls and Masonic collections throughout the island of Ireland.

View of The Thames from Blackfriars Bridge in London.

View of The Thames from Blackfriars Bridge in London.

My travelling companion and I flew over from Belfast International to Gatwick, and then travelled into London by train. In this case we had a number of delays on the train journey due to the extensive flooding on our route, but eventually we arrived in time to join with a number of the elected members of QC for a light lunch prior to the meeting at 4.00pm.

Lunch at the Shakespear Head.

Lunch at the Shakespear Head.

After lunch we all strolled over to Freemasons Hall, and whilst the QC Elected Members held their various committee meetings, we went up to the Museum and Library, where we were able to view some very rare items from the collections of U.G.L.E.

At Work in The Grand Lodge Library.

At Work in The Grand Lodge Library.

The meeting proper started promptly at 4.00pm and among the announcements were news of the forthcoming Quatuor Coronati Tercentenary Conference entitled The History of Freemasonrywhich will be held between the 9th and 11 of September 2016 in Queens College Cambridge, when QC will add its voice to the celebrations of the formation of The Grand Lodge of Westminster in 1717. As we all know, this was a precursor to the formation of The United Grand Lodge of England nearly one hundred years later in 1813, just after the Brethren forming The Grand Lodge of the Antients joined the Brethren of the Grand Lodge of the Moderns to form the new United Grand Lodge under the Grand Master-ship of The Duke of Sussex.
Then it was my opportunity to speak on the unbroken record of The Grand Lodge of Ireland from 1725 to date. And in the course of my talk, I was able to show the Brethren some of our older Irish artifacts including.

Frontis decoration from the old Minute Book of Lodge 980 I.C.

Frontis decoration from the old Minute Book of Lodge 980 I.C.

Donaghadee Floor Cloth

Donaghadee Floor Cloth

The Cookstown Painted Plaque.

The Cookstown Painted Plaque.

Early Red Cross Certificate fro Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

Early Red Cross Certificate fro Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

At the end of the meeting, I received a number of questions from all present, re details from my paper. It was encouraging to see that not only had they all listened to my presentation, but they had also studied my written paper in great detail, before the meeting began. All in all I found it very encouraging that there still is a good level of curiosity out there for the importance of the role, played by The Grand Lodge of Ireland in the origins and influence of Ireland in the growth of Freemasonry around the globe. We then retired to The Kingsway Hotel for some excellent Wandering Bear Chardonnay from California, Deep fried brie, Marinated roast chicken breast and White chocolate and respberry brulee.

Festive Board at The Kingsway.

Festive Board at The Kingsway.

By now, we were all in a relaxed frame of mind, and eventually retired to The Pillars of Hercules for a few pints in a less formal setting. All in all it was a memorable day, and well worth the 30 year wait. We eventually retired to bed, for a well earned rest.

At the front of Freemasons Hall, Great Queen Street, London.

At the front of Freemasons Hall, Great Queen Street, London.

After breakfast the next morning, we returned to Great Queen Street, for a more relaxed look around. As always the Grand Lodge Room was exceptional, and we did of course try out the Grand Masters chair.

The Most Wor Grand Masters Throne in Great Queen Street.

The Most Wor Grand Masters Throne in Great Queen Street.

Later in the day, we had an opportunity to visit the Royal Air Force Central Memorial in St Clement Danes Church, which contains the Books of Rememnberance covering the entire history of The Royal Air Force from 1915 to date. It also contains records of all the 16,000 names of United States Air Force personnel, who died, whilst serving in the UK in the Second World War.

The Royal Airforce Church at St Clement Danes Church, London.

The Royal Airforce Church at St Clement Danes Church, London.

Our final call, before heading back to Gatwick, was a visit to The Temple Church, original base of the Knights Templar in London, and built in a circular shape in 1185AD modelled on The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

Internal View of Temple Church, Inner Temple, London.

Internal View of Temple Church, Inner Temple, London.

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The Poetry of James Orr – Ulster’s Rabbie Burns.

Some of Orr's Published Works.

Some of Orr’s Published Works.

Brethren,
Some 200 years ago, on the 24th April 1816 James Orr was buried in the old graveyard at Templecorran, Broadisland on the outskirts of the village of Ballycarry. The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim, in the form of Wor Bro Billy Thompson, and a small party of Brethren from Redhall Masonic Lodge No 260, Ballycarry, were in attendance at Templecorran on the afternoon of Sunday the 24th April 2016, to take part in a quiet memorial to the memory of James Orr – Poet, Patriot and Philanthropist and United Irishman. And the Larne Times had a reporter present to record the occasion for posterity.

An Artist's Impression of Brother James Orr.

An Artist’s Impression of Brother James Orr.

Orr was born in the Parish of Broadisland, in the year 1770. He was an only child and was educated at home, by his father, a weaver and owner of a small tract of ground near the village of Ballycarry. He was trained by his father in the use of the loom and followed in his footsteps to the weaver’s trade. He also became a small farmer, cultivating the few acres of land passed on to him in by his father. Due to the tedious nature of the work, Orr involved himself in, he developed his skills as a poet and joined the Roughfort Book Club. This was very much an activity of the 18th century, and a means of raising the standards of education among’st the rural population. Orr himself wrote of the Reading Societies in the following terms.

The Sun has set in smiles and pensive eve
Sheds soft’ning dew-drops on the thirsty soil;
The slow-pac’d swains the cultur’d landscape leave,
And from their work-shop stalk the sons of toil.

My sweet associates, kind in thoughts and looks,
Who all my toils, and all my pastimes share;
Attend the reading circle with your books,
And sensibly converse away your care.

In this poem, as in so many others Orr writes warmly about the life of the cotters, farmers, weavers and villagers, all friends and neighbours of his own, and records their attempts to better and improve their circumstances in the midst of the abject poverty of the time.
This social conscience exhibited so clearly in his early work, made it a given that he would involve himself in the struggles of the United Irishmen at the time of the 1798 Rebellion. One of the first victims of this insurrection was another Orr, in this case William Orr who was found guilty of administrating the oath of a United Irishmen, to two soldiers, who turned him in to the Government. A trial took place, and despite the evidence presented, Orr was found guilty and sentenced to death. He was hanged in Carrickfergus on the 14th October 1797.

This one event,, under the catchphrase Remember Orr would influence many people including James Orr to involve themselves in the 1798 rebellion, or as it was known locally as The Turnout. Orr marched to Antrim with the men of Broadisland, encamped at Donegore Hill and took part in the Battle of Antrim. The men were out in force and Orr recorded his thoughts at the time in his poem Donegore Hill.

While close leagu’d crappies rais’d the hoards
Of pikes, pike shafts, forks, firelocks
Some melted lead – somed saw’d deal boards
Some hyde, like hens in byre-neuks:
Wives baket bannocks for their men,
Wi tears instead o water;
An ‘ lasses made cockades o’ green
For chaps wha us’d to flatter.

Sadly the battle was lost and Orr joined the small party accompanying Henry Joy McCracken, their leader, as they fled to the wild country around Slemish mountain. This was a very severe time in the history of Antrim. Men were forced on the run, as capture meant certain death for those involved in the Turn Out. Orr captured the desperation of these times in his song The Wanderer which tells the moving story of a man, hounded from pillar to post,seeking refuge in a local house to escape the winter storms around Slemish. The story is told against the backdrop of local informers, patrolling dragoons and the general hardship of the times.

“Wha’s there?” She ax’t, The wan’rers rap
Against the pane the lassie scaur’d
The blast that bray’d on Slimiss tap
Wad hardly let a haet be heard.
“A Frien’,” he cried, “ for common crimes
Tost thro’ the country fore and aft”
“Mair lown,” quo’ she – “thir’s woefu times! –
The herds’s aboon me on the laft”.

Orr successfully made good his escape, after making his way to the coast, where he eventually arrived in America after more adventures and close shaves. It was at this time, leaving his home in Erin that he wrote his best and most moving poem – The Irishman.

The Savage loves his native shore,
Though rude the soil and chill the air,
Well then may Erin’s sons adore
Their isle, which nature formed so fair!
What flood reflects a shore so sweet,
As Shannon great or past’ral Bann?
Or who a friend or foe can meet,
So gen’rous as an Irishman?

His hand is rash, his heart is warm,
But principal is still his guide –
None more regrets a deed of harm,
And none forgives with nobler pride.
He may be duped, but won’t be dared; –
Fitter to practice than to plan,
He dearly earns his poor reward,
And spends it like an Irishman.

If strange or poor, for you he’ll pay,
And guide to where you safe may be ;
If you’re his guest, while e’er you stay,
His cottage holds a jubilee;
His inmost soul he will unlock,
And if he should your secrets scan,
Your confidence he scorns to mock,
For faithful is an Irishman.

By honour bound in woe or weal,
Whate’er she bids, he dares to do
Try him in fire, you’ll find him true.
He seeks not safety; let his post
Be where it ought, in danger’s van;
And if the field of fame is lost,
Twill not be by an Irishman.

Erin, loved land! from age to age,
Be thou more great, more fam’d and free!
May peace be thine, or should’st thou wage
Defensive war, cheap victory.
May plenty bloom in every field;
Which gentle breezes softly fan,
And cheerful smiles serenely gild,
The home of every Irishman.

Within a couple of years Orr quietly returned home to Ballycarry, where he returned to his profession as a weaver cotter. He published his first volume of poems by subscription, and it was immediately successful. The list of subscriptions contains the names of the most notable people in South Antrim, as well as the names of his friends and neighbours. He joined Masonic Lodge No 302 Ballycarry in 1809 -10, which met in the upstairs room in Millars Public House, and in 1814, Warrant No 1014 was issued to these Brethren in lieu of 302. Orr would spend the rest of his life in Ballycarry in humble circumstances. Times were hard and the little cottage that he lived in, is still standing a short distance west of the village, nearly opposite the Presbyterian Manse on the Beltoy road. He continued to write verse, which was published in the Belfast Magazine and Commercial Chronicle and The Belfast Newsletter. He also wrote numerous songs and poems for several local Lodges. Amongst these numbers we have – The Craftsmen of Ballycarry.

Kind visiting stranger, who roam without danger
Through Erin, the land we love dearly;
Since you’ve passed the best judge that belongs to our Lodge,
You’re a worthy, and welcome sincerely.

Your health and your number, shall wake echo’s slumber,
Nor shall you sleep long while you tarry,
For the rafters shall ring, with a song that we’ll sing,
On the craftsmen of sweet Ballycarry.

Other songs include the lines Spoken in St Patrick’s Lodge, Carrickfergus on St Patrick’s Day 1808 and St John’s Day. Then there was the famous Ballynure song –

Come let us here, my Brethren dear,
Secluded thus from vulgar sight,
In Fellowship and Friendship rear
A Temple up to Love and Light;
On Truth’s firm ground its walls we’ll found;
Our Union shall cement it sure;
Strife’s hammer’r rash shall never clash
Against the Lodge of Ballynure.

One of his most famous songs was – The Dying Mason – which was a popular song sung after the local Lodge meetings, as the Brethren enjoyed some conviviality. This was a song sung to the tune Lochaber which goes as follows:-

Farewell to the village, the best on the plain,
The lough, glen, an gran’hill , I’ll ne’er see again;
Adieu to my pleasure! Adieu to my care!
My poor auld frail folk, an my lassie sae fair;
The kirk whare I promis’d wi’ folly to part
An the Inn that ensnar’d me I lea without smart;
But och! How the sons o’ the Lodge can I lea,
An gae to my lang hame – the cauld house o’clay?

Nae mair shall I gang, while in this side o’ time,
A step nearer Light in the Order sublime;
Nae mair, while ilk mouth’s closed an’ fast the door bar’d,
Initiate the Novice, baith curious and Scaur’d;
Nae mair join wi’scores in the Grand Chorus saft,
Nor fondlt toast –“Airlan’” – an’ peace to the Craft;
I ay cud been wi’ ye, but now I maun stay
Confin’d in my lang hame – the cauld house o’ clay.

Orr died relatively young, on the 24th April 1816 and was buried in the graveyard at Templecorran. In the year 1831 a very fine monument was erected over his grave by Brethren from the local Masonic Lodges and other admirers. This is the Memorial that was re-dedicated by The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim in 2014, after extensive repairs had been completed, and which have been largely paid for by Members of the Masonic Order, with some assistance from the local community and other grant aid.

The Re-Dedication Party.

The Re-Dedication Party.

This is one of only two public Masonic memorials in Ireland, and as some of you already know, the other memorial is located in Comber in memory of General Rollo Gillespie. When you arrive at the Orr Monument, have a look on the west elevation where you will find the lines – “When lost amongst nettles ye’ll find if ye search, my stone of remembrance is marked with an Arch”.

Brethren, James Orr, lived in dangerous times and thanks to his poetic ability, we have an excellent record of those times from his point of view. He was a keen Freemason, Secretary of Lodge 1014, after its formation, and some of his Minutes and correspondence still survives. And thanks to the efforts of a number of our recent Provincial Grand Master’s we now have a memorial, fit for purpose, rebuilt and repaired to a high standard, to tell the story of James Orr for another two hundred years.

Today, we mark the memory of this excellent Brother. He lived in far different and troubled times and yet lived his life, to the full, within the tenets of our Order.

Robert Bashford.

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Bi-Centenary of the Death of James Orr- The Bard of Ballycarry.

Bi-Centenary of Death of James Orr- The Bard of Ballycarry ( Larne Times ).

Bi-Centenary of Death of James Orr- The Bard of Ballycarry ( Larne Times ).

On the 200th anniversary of Orr’s death, a gathering at the Templecorran Cemetery monument to the Weaver Poet was heralded by the skirl of the pipes on Sunday afternoon, and several of his poems were read as part of the proceedings.

Some of the Masonic Symbolism on the Orr Memorial.

Some of the Masonic Symbolism on the Orr Memorial.

Local historian Dr. David Hume told those present that Orr had been foremost of the Ulster Weaver poets and the Robert Burns of Ulster. He said that the Bard of Ballycarry had been ‘a people’s poet’ who wrote for and about his local community as well as wider themes.

Some of Orr's Published Poetry.

Some of Orr’s Published Poetry.

Poems by Orr were read by Hazel Robertson of Ballycarry Community Association and Billy Thompson, representing the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim. The event marked the 200th anniversary of the death of the weaver poet, which took place on April 24, 1816. We are grateful to the Larne Times for recording this event and we will be putting up an article on Orr and his Poetry very shortly.

Details from the Orr Memorial.

Details from the Orr Memorial.

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Return of Warrant No 195 I.C. as St Patrick’s Lodge finally Closes.

Home of The Black Watch.

Home of The Black Watch.

It was a particularly sad morning yesterday, when a small party of senior Brethren from St Patrick’s Lodge No 195, Arthur Square arrived at the Museum in Rosemary Street to deposit Minute Books, Attendance Books and other euphrema from the Lodge, after returning their Warrant to the Assistant Provincial Grand Lodge Secretary.

One of the Garden Sculptures in The Black Watch Museum.

One of the Garden Sculptures in The Black Watch Museum.

Warrant No 195 began life on the 24th June 1749 when it was first issued to a number of Brethren in LORD JOHN MURRAY’S REGIMENT, 42nd Foot, later The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders). Sadly we have no record of the original Grantees, as our registers from the 1740’s were lost at the time of the Seton revolt. The Regiment spent some seven years, at this time in its history, serving in various parts of Ireland ( 1747 to 1754 ).

The regiment together with the Lodge were present at the Siege of Louisburg, Canada in 1758 along with a number of other Lodges. The Siege of Louisbourg was a pivotal operation of the Seven Years’ War in 1758 that ended the French colonial era in Atlantic Canada and led directly to the loss of Quebec in 1759 and the remainder of French North America the following year. A duplicate Warrant was issued to the Lodge in 1761, probably the original being lost during the Seven Years War.

The Siege of Louisburg - 1758.

The Siege of Louisburg – 1758.

Bro. Lieutenant Guinnett of Lodge No 192 I.C., held in the 47th Regt. was elected Provincial Grand Master of Canada shortly after the capture of Quebec( by Wolfe ) was completed. He was succeeded in December by Bro. Augustus of Lodge 35 I.C. held in the 28th Regt. and in turn the latter was succeeded in December 1761, by a Bro. Milbourne West. The next Provincial Grand Master, elected 24th June, 1763, was Bro. Lieutenant Turner of this Lodge 195 I.C. With all the vissatudes of travel and army service in the 18th & 19th century, the military Brethren of 195 lost contact with the Grand Lodge of Ireland. Their Warrant No 195 I.C. with many others was Cancelled by Grand Lodge on the 6th April 1815, as a result of its failure to report, contact or pay Dues to Grand Lodge for many years previously. Warrant is marked in our records as Cancelled 6th April 1815.

The Warrant No 195 I.C. was re-issued to Brothers John Parker, Thomas Seaton and James Parker to form a new Lodge, to be known as `St. Patrick’s Lodge’ which would meet in BALLYVESEY, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim, 5 March 1818. There were six founder members of the Lodge, all being Brethren who transferred from Ballyvesey Lodge No 1017 I.C. However in the next forty years, some 166 further Brethren came into the Craft, as members of 195 I.C. The Lodge members were active in the Craft and are frequently mentioned in The Belfast Newsletter as being in attendance at the Bi-Annual St John’s Day service held in Doagh, Newmill, Parkgate, Greencastle and Carrickfergus. One should remember that the Brethren walked from Ballyvesey to these various locations, attended the local parade and service, and then walked back to Ballyvesey to close the Lodge and after some refreshment, then disperse homewards.

As usual, their Lodge Secretary was kept busy, recording the Minutes, Making Returns to Dublin, Collecting the Dues and dealing with all general correspondence. Down in the archives in Molesworth Street, will be found the file on Warrant 195, with copies of all surviving records of the Lodge. If you are ever in Dublin, and have a spare hour, then you could do a lot worse, than have a look through the surviving records of your own Mother Lodge. In the 195 file, you will be able to see an example of their 1825 smoke seal, and find some surviving copies of their annual returns and general correspondence. In those days, before the birth of Provincial Grand Lodges, it was usual for each Lodge to establish a committee of Brethren who would adjudicate on any disputes within the Lodge. A row over the loss of Dues previously collected, led the Lodge Committee to suspend four of their Brethren for periods of ten and forty two years. Details of the fraud and the relevant names were returned to Grand Lodge in 1836, who confirmed the various decisions made by the Lodge.

Examples of The Craft Lodge Seals for 195 I.C.

Examples of The Craft Lodge Seals for 195 I.C.

We know from surviving material in the Lodge file that the Brethren of Ballyvesey held Craft, Royal Arch and High Knight Templar meetings under their Craft Warrants. There are still surviving smoke seals of all these various bodies in the Ballyvesey file. Some records survive in the Crossle archive in Dublin, which refer to the Bye-Laws of Union Band in connection with this Lodge while working at Ballyvesey. Also included is some information relating to the Knight Templar Priests or the Priestly Order. c. 1846.

Other Smoke Seals used by Lodge 195 I.C.

Other Smoke Seals used by Lodge 195 I.C.

By 1851, our Brethren were finding it difficult to find suitable accommodation, so they applied to Grand Lodge and got approval to remove their Lodge to a new location closer to the City of Belfast. This was another period of great uncertainty over accommodation. In the Minutes of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Belfast and North Down for the 15th March 1855, we find reference to an entry which reads – The P.G. Lodge charged Lodge 195, with having Moved the Warrant of the Lodge from King’s in Nile St. to Br. Thompson’s in Henry St, without their consent. It was Moved by Br. Millen, Seconded by Br. Harston, W.M. Lodge 10, and carried “That the Warrant of the Lodge be returned to Br. King’s in Nile St. However on the 13th December 1855, a further entry records : – An application was read from the W. Master of Lodge 195 to remove the Warrant from Br. Wm. Rogan’s, Church St. to No. Donegall Place, which was granted. Our story then takes us to the records from Lodge 88 in Donegal Place, where we learn that on the 6th October 1856 the Brethren of 195 were advised that their rent be raised to £8 per annum.” One year later on the 2nd July 1857 we note that the Lodge had now Removed to 15 Donegall Place, BELFAST, 2 July 1857.

This was a great period of growth for the Brethren in St Patricks Lodge, and a total of 324 brethren registered up to 27 November, 1900. In most cases the dates when the degrees were conferred and the issue of certificates is shown.

Example of a Pillared Priest's Certificate.

Example of a Pillared Priest’s Certificate.

On the 7th October 1867 the Lodge was represented at the ceremony of the laying of the Foundation Stone of the new Masonic Hall, Cargycreevy. The following year on the 25th June 1868 the Lodge was represented at the ceremony of the laying of the Foundation Stone of the New Masonic Hall, Arthur Square, Belfast. Lodge 195 eventually moved into the Arthur Square complex, but this did not happen until the year 1909. Two years earlier, in 1907, the Lodge first presented a Past Master’s jewel ( in gold ) to its outgoing Master – Wor Bro James Clarke. There is a surviving record in 1908 that Wor Bro William Magill also received a gold PM jewel. Some ten members of the Lodge served in the Great War and they all returned safely home to kith and kin.

St Patricks Roll of Honour.

St Patricks Roll of Honour.

The thirties were a period of sustained growth and the Lodge successfully survived The Second World War. Again in the period 1950 to 1970 the Lodge made steady progress. Sadly this would all change in the troubles period. Many Brethren stopped going into the City Center because of the difficulties and indeed physical dangers of travel at the time. It became increasingly difficult to find new members and many of the existing members left at this time. The Lodge never recovered and after limping along for a number of years the decision was taken to Return the Warrant. And that Brethren, is where I come into the story, when I met the Brethren bringing back their records and donated same to our archive in Rosemary Street.

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Lodge CC Visit to Castlederg on 23rd April 2016.

Castlederg Masonic Hall, Lower Main Street, Castlederg

Castlederg Masonic Hall, Lower Main Street, Castlederg

On Saturday the 23rd April we will have the great honour to join with the Brethren of Castlederg Lodge No 799 I.C. and assist them to celebrate their one hundred and seventy fifth anniversary of service to Irish Freemasonry. One of their Brethren Very Wor Bro the Rev Canon T.Henry Trimble, an enthusiastic member of the Lodge will present a history of the Lodge and its part in the history of the town of Castlederg, This Brother is of course better known to most of us as The Most Excellent Assistant Grand King of the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Ireland.

M.Ex Comp The Rev Canon T. Henry Trimble.

M.Ex Comp The Rev Canon T. Henry Trimble.

We are hoping for a good turn out of our own members to mark this special occasion and look forward to welcolming Rt Wor Bro Maurice Lee Provincial Grand Master of Tyrone and Fermanagh and one of his assistant P.G.Master’s Rt Wor Bro Joe Fleming. It will be an interesting experience for these two Brethren to attend a Lodge meeting within their Province, where they do not get offered the maul, as Lodge CC is a unique Masonic Lodge, meeting under the direct control of The Grand Lodge of Ireland.

A View of the Lodge Anti-Room in Castlederg.

A View of the Lodge Anti-Room in Castlederg.

As one would expect in a Lodge of this age, there are many interesting artifacts to be seen with the Lodge-room and anti-room. On one wall is a fascinating collection of past Masters of the Lodge, and as you would expect in a small country Lodge, there are many images of Brethren bearing the same family name, but coming from different generations.

Photographs of Some of the Past Master's of The Lodge.

Photographs of Some of the Past Master’s of The Lodge.

One particular item of interest is a framed Lodge banner or flag which was made specially for the Lodge by the mother of one of its members. It is a fascinating item, located on the Entrance Wall to the Lodgeroom.

Lodge Banner for Castlederg Masonic Lodge No 799 I.C.

Lodge Banner for Castlederg Masonic Lodge No 799 I.C.

On another wall you will find a framed example of an interesting painted French silk apron, from the 1830-40 period, and preserved for future members of the Craft in the Castlederg area.

Early Painted French Silk Apron.

Early Painted French Silk Apron.

Brethren, I hope that you have enjoyed this little sampler, to give you some idea of the pleasures that await you on Saturday afternoon. You will need to be at the Hall around 1.30pm and if you wish to join us in the Derg Arms for a meal, after the meeting then contact either Wor Bro Ian McIntyre or myself, and let us know that you are coming. We are hoping for a good turn out from the Host Lodge, and hope to see as many of you present, as possible.

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Coronation Lodge No 329 I.C.

On the 22nd March 1911 a printed Form of Memorial was received by Grand Lodge for a new Warrant to hold a Lodge at Freemasons’ Hall, Dublin to be called the Coronation Lodge – Memorial signed by fifteen Brethren from various Lodges – Nominates Mark Walter Quinn, JP (P.M. 125) as first W.M.; John W. Robb (117 & 232) as S.W. and Edward Irvine Johnston (269) as J.W. – Recommended by Lodges 33, 25 and 141. Subsequentially on the 30th April 1911 The Board of General Purposes having unanimously recommended the Memorial for Lodge to be numbered 329 and designated “The Coronation” it has occurred to the Founders that it would be in accord with the name to place a crown – as symbol of the Coronation – upon the Lodge aprons and collars in addition to the number …” (signed) Edward H. Burne, acting Secretary.

800px-Bayeux_Tapestry_scene1_EDWARD_REX

This was to mark the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary, who were crowned in Westminster Abbey on the 22nd June 1911. Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Stratherne, third son of Queen Victoria, Grand Patron of Freemasonry in Ireland and Grand Master of the U.G.L.E. gave the necessary approvals to the new Lodge to use the St Edward’s crown on their jewels, aprons, collars etc. The St Edward’s crown is one of the oldest of the Crown Jewels and originated with St Edward the Confessor, who can be seen wearing it on one of the panels of the Bayeux Tapestry. It had not been used for some two hundred plus years before King George the V selected it, but has now been used several times since, including by our current Queen on her Coronation in 1953.

Jewels of Coronation Lodge No 329.

The Lodge submitted designs for their proposed Foundation Jewel, aprons and collars and these were approved by the Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes at their meeting on the 29th May 1911. On the 23rd June 1911, the Lodge was Constituted by Rt. Wor. Bro. Sir Charles Cameron, C.B., Deputy Grand Master. The Lodge had Fourteen Foundation Members including Mark Walter Quinn, Librarian (125); John W. Robb, Bank Clerk (117) and Edward Irvine Johnston, Sec. Ltd. Co. (269).

No indication as to Master or Wardens

Eleven members served in the 1914-18 War and Bro. Lieut. J.H.F. Leland, R.D.F. made the supreme sacrifice. The Lodge worked quietly through the middle years of the 20th century. However it encountered a shortage of new candidates in the Sixties and early Seventies which lead ultimately to the Return of the Warrant to Grand Lodge on the 1st December 1977.

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Easter Murder in Lahore, Pakistan.

Brethren,

I’m sure, like me you have been horrified at the recent attack in Lahore in a children’s playground, when a deranged person detonated a suicide belt in the midst of children, and their parents, relaxing and enjoying their Easter break. Some seventy Adults and Children died in a maelstrom of explosives and ball bearings Sadly, it is an all too frequent event, in that the innocent suffer at the hands of the extremist, and there is so little that any of us can do to help.

Logo of The Emerald Isle Lodge No XIX.

Logo of The Emerald Isle Lodge No XIX.

For once, there is a local children’s charity in Lahore, that can offer help and assistance to assist blind people in Asia. The Aziz Jehan Begum Trust for the Blind was set up in 1989 in memory of Aziz Jehan Begum, wife of the late Sheikh Muhammad Din Jan, advocate of the Lahore High Court. The current Director is Mrs Ursula Jeddy MA Psychology who worked in the Mayo Hospital in Lahore, as Chief Clinical Psychologist. In 1996 she joined the Aziz Jehan Begum Trust.

Past Master's Jewel of The Emeralde Isle  Lodge No XIX.

Past Master’s Jewel of The Emeralde Isle Lodge No XIX.

In 1993, the Government of Pakistan issued an edict banning Freemasonry within the boundaries of its country. A number of Lodges were forced to close and their Warrants were returned to Ireland, Scotland and England. When Warrant No 19 returned to Ireland, our Most Wor Grand Master, Most Wor Brother, Most Hon, The Marquess of Donegal encouraged Brethren in the Metropolitan Area to rally round and keep the Warrant alive, until such time as circumstances will eventually change in Pakistan. This has been done and Emerald Isle Lodge No (XIX) I.C. has continued to grow from strength to strength.

As part of the outreach carried out by The Emerald Isle Lodge, they have been actively supporting the work carried out by The Aziz Jehan Begum Trust for the Blind. This work has been very successful allowing children who are visually impaired to learn braille and the Trust successfully persuaded the Pakistan Government to allow pupils to sit their national certificate exams in braille, thus giving these children the opportunity to use their individual gifts to the full. With a high record of academic results, the Trust makes every effort to get students admitted to the best colleges for further education.

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Cycling News.

Pedal Power - Say no more.

Pedal Power – Say no more.

Hark, that well known brother and “Knight of the Road” has kindly undertaken to keep us all appraised of the latest developments on the cycling front, as he heralds various events, personalities and opportunities for those of a cycling bent. We hope you will all enjoy these light hearted comments from this most popular Brother…….

Winston and The Gran Frono.

Winston and The Gran Frono.

Gran Fondo fever has moved up a gear with the announcement that cycling legend Winston Blair will participate in this year’s event in Northern Ireland, on the 5th June 2016. Top riders from across the world will be racing on the Provinces roads, at that time, and Blair’s support is a significant coup for the organisers.

Last of the Tree Climbing Masons of Antrim.

Last of the Tree Climbing Masons of Antrim.

Telegraph Post Ban.
Local cycling fanatic Wor Bro Graham Todd was gutted to learn that the organisers of the Gran Frono have introduced a total ban on any climbing activities on trees, poles, tall bushes or telegraph posts over the entire month of June, particularly in the Greater Larne area.

the-rinka

the-rinka

Rinka Beginners Cycle Club.
We understand that Winston and the other members of Team Blair were in attendance at the Rinka on Saturday past, where they put on a breath-taking display. Wor Bro Mervyn Robinson, Class Leader of the Rinka Beginners Cycle Club was apparently heard to warn his students that they were not to be trying any of Winston’s tricks unsupervised at home. Areas covered included the use of Lycra as an aerodynamic racing material, and a display of hand brake work that frankly defied description. Anyone else wanting to avail of the many benefits of the Rinka Beginners Cycle Club should contact Wor Bro Mervyn at his usual number.

Giro de Bucknaw : Advertising Brochure.

Giro de Bucknaw : Advertising Brochure.

Giro de Bucknaw.
In prolonged discussions with a reporter from the Islandmagee Times and Horticultural News, on the conclusion of his display at the Rinka, Winston revealed some of the details of his recent sponsorship deal with Rinka Ices where he will get one large vanilla cone with chocolate stick, on the understanding that he leaves the bike on the mainland. He then went on to reveal that he and the team were going to take part in the Giro de Bucknaw, scheduled to take place on Saturday the 4th June 2016. As most of you know, this event starts at 12.00 Noon in the Car Park of the Halfway House, halfway along the Carnlough Road, and again a large crowd of supporters are expected. Sponsorship forms are available from Ashley McCullough or Colin Mallon at the numbers given above.

The Lycra Kid- Cutting Edge of Competitive Cycling Regalia.

The Lycra Kid- Cutting Edge of Competitive Cycling Regalia.

The main sponsor helpfully test-runs the Rinka Strawberry Sundae

The main sponsor helpfully test-runs the Rinka Strawberry Sundae


And finally.
We have been getting a number of reports ( as yet unsubstantiated ) that a film production company has been spotted in the Carnlough / Glenarm area, and that they may be working on the celluloid life story of Winston – the Pedal Blair. There’s been talk that they have already re-shot that famous scene from Butch Cassidy and The Sun Dance Kid with Blair at the controls of the bicycle. It has certainly generated some discussion at the various local festive boards. Some say he is actively being considered for the remake of “Those Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines”.We hope that you will all remember to get your sponsership forms and support Winston in this most exciting adventure, and we look forward to a future update, when we will report on the outcome of the Giro de Bucknaw.

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The Role of The Class of Instruction in Ireland.

Some of the Members Present

Some of the Members Present

The Mystic Art: Edward Lytton

The world may rail at Masonry,
And scoff at Square and Line,
We’ll follow with complacency
The Master’s great Design.

A King can make a gartered Knight,
And breathe away another,
But he, with all his skill and might,
Can never make a Brother.

This power alone, thou Mystic Art,
Freemasonry, is thine;
The power to tame the savage heart
With brother-love divine! compliments of The Newtownards Class.

Some More Class Members.

Some More Class Members.

There are many different ways of preparing yourself for taking Office, everyone has their own particular method to learning ritual, reading, reciting, writing, and Classes of Instruction, are the usual ways that come to mind, but there are of course more technology based means too, MP3 players requiring a pc, through to the professional dictation devices or voice recorders which do not. The rote learning system, is a method of learning Ritual quickly, and is best explained with an example of the times table from primary school, in that constantly repeating your chosen times table, you can implant it in your mind.

Some can remember with a quick glance while others have much more difficulty in learning ritual, rote learning relies more on memory than the understanding of the words being said, and requires less knowledge of the subject, constant repetition the key, unless you have a photographic memory of course! It is difficult to see yourself learning page after page but if you break it down to sentences and paragraphs it seems more manageable, try different methods to find what is best approach for you. The Class of Instruction helps to reinforce your chosen method with practice in the Lodge-room in the manner you would usually do at your own Lodge.

Original 1731 Warrant Lodge 7.

Original 1731 Warrant Lodge 7.

The Grand Lodge of Ireland was formed in 1725, and within six short years had begun the practice of issuing Lodge Warrants to groups of Masons who wanted to form new Lodges under the Rule of The Grand Loge of Ireland. Ireland was the first Grand Lodge to issue Lodge Warrants in 1731 and it would be a further 20 years before the English Antients adopted the practice, which is now of course commonplace with all the various Grand Lodge organisations around the globe.

As far as I know, Ireland is the only Grand Lodge to have one recognised Masonic Ritual, including Provincial Grand Lodges outside Ireland, and Travelling Lodges, abroad, which does make it easier for Brethren who like to travel across the country, any Brother can take office in any Lodge, in the knowledge that no surprises await him! well not Ritual based anyway?, allowing better participation in, and enjoyment of our Ritual.

Throughout the Island of Ireland, we find numerous well attended local Masonic Classes of Instruction, in Provincial Town and serving various districts in a city. Here Brethren elected on to their Lodge Officer list, come along for tuition in a relaxed environment, where they can meet others in a similar pursuit from other Lodges in their immediate Masonic District or area.

Chairman of The Larne Class.

Chairman of The Larne Class.

These Classes are organised under the auspices of The Very Wor, The Grand Lodge of Instruction, and usually have a Provincial Grand Instructor appointed as Class Leader and Keeper of the Ritual. The members of the Class will elect, one of their number to act as Chairman, and he will open, run and close the class during his year of Office. He will be assisted by a Class Treasurer, responsible for the funding, the Class Secretary who keeps all the member informed on all matters of correspondence and forthcoming events. There will also be two or three Committee Members elected to help in the overall running of the Class.

Re-Elected Treasurer and Secretary of the Larne Class.

Re-Elected Treasurer and Secretary of the Larne Class.

The class will meet fortnightly or monthly, as the member decide and will usually commence their activities in September of every year. The members present will get an opportunity to practice Lodge Openings, Ballots, Calling Votes of Sympathy, Welcoming Distinguished Brethren to the Lodge, Administrating Degrees and the Closing Ceremonies. Incoming Masters will also learn how to install their Officers and get an opportunity to practice same, as often as necessary before their eventual Installation ceremony in January / February of the following year. The year is usually brought to an end with a closing dinner in March, when all class members attend, have their AGM, elect officers for the next year, hear a short lecture from a motivational speaker and close the evening with a dinner.

Our Speaker Bro Roland Carter of Cairncastle.

Our Speaker Bro Roland Carter of Cairncastle.

First Reserve.

First Reserve.

At one such recent Class AGM in Larne earlier this week, I had the great pleasure of acting as Chairman whilst running the election of new Officers for 2016 -17. Sadly the Class Leader Very Wor Bro Ambrose Armstrong, had been ill and was unable to be present. However the rest of his team organised the Closing Night and got the AGM underway. As you will see from the photographs, everything went well, a number of Brethren were re-elected to their offices of Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary and one of the Committee Men. We then enjoyed a short question and answer session before retiring downstairs for our evening meal. Our next Merry Meeting was called at 10.15pm precisely.

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The Untimely Death of Mrs Margaret Dickson.

Mrs Margaret Dickson.

Mrs Margaret Dickson.

It is with great personal sadness that I record the passing of Margaret Dickson, late wife to our Provincial Grand Master of Antrim – Rt Wor Bro John Dickson. Margaret had been struggling with illness for some considerable time, and always presented a happy and contented face to the world. For some reason, in my mind, her smiling face and happy countenance will always be associated with the RNLI Breakfasts at Redhall Masonic Lodge No 260 I.C. Here she would invariably be, at John’s side, speaking to all and sundry, as the good countryman’s wife that she undoubtedly was. Without trying, she could foster thoughts of home cooking, peat fires and the joys of country life.

Brethren, this was no mean skill to have, and her winning ways made her many friends amongst the Masonic Brethren of Ireland. To meet her was to know her, and to know her was to introduce yourself to one of the most relaxed, reassuring and engaging personalities on the Masonic circuit. Sadly she has been called to better things above, and our thoughts and prayers go out to John, at this time, as he gets used to the thoughts of her absence from his side.

Someone once described Death as a key, the means of moving on to that next part of your life, leaving your family, friends and acquaintances behind, whilst your spirit goes on to fulfil its destiny. Margaret is now at that point in her life and, we that are left behind will do our best to gather round and comfort John and the rest of the family circle, at this time.

Margaret’s funeral will be on Thursday 24th March 2016 at 2.00pm in Ballinderry Presbyterian Church, Meeting House Lane, Upper Ballinderry .(Post Code BT28 2NN)

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Masonic Orphan’s Welfare Committee.

Details of Centenary Jewel.

Details of Centenary Jewel.

Brethren, I am very grateful to the Masonic Orphan’s Welfare Committee for their kind invitation to attend their annual general meeting held in Arthur Square yesterday morning. In all honesty, they were a Committee that I was not familiar with, and I found it very interesting to learn a little about their history, structure and duties. And what a story they have to tell. The Committee was set up by Sir Robert Baird, Grand Treasurer of The Grand Lodge of Ireland and tasked with the duty to assist the children attending the Masonic Boys and Girls schools by providing them with uniforms, text books and travel expenses. This was a role that Sir Robert had been doing for many years at his own expense, and this new Committee took over this important role at the time of his death.

Sir Robert Baird as District Grand King of Antrim.

Sir Robert Baird as District Grand King of Antrim.

However, times have changed greatly since this Committee was set up, and its main focus today is to provide assistance to orphans and children of necessitous freemasons from the Irish Constitution, wherever they may be living, with an emphasis on students at third level education who are assisted by the Committee through the provision of an annual grant (currently £ 180.00). Outside of that specific remit the Committee also provide special case grants and have in the past supported the purchase of specialist tools for apprentices, equipment for medical students, and specialist equipment such as wheelchairs or prosthetic limbs for disabled students and even travel expenses for students attending overseas conferences.

The Masonic welfare committee is only able to continue with this important work thanks to the generosity of a few Lodges, Chapters, Preceptories and Charity Committees, who loyally support their activities by donating a small percentage of their available Charity funds. The Committee will be celebrating its centenary next year, and as part of its fund raising activities it will be selling Centenary jewels at a cost of £ 25.00 sterling / 35 euros, available from Rosemary Street, Belfast or Molesworth Street in Dublin. I’m very grateful to Wor Bro Colin Bonnes, the outgoing Chairman for his useful briefing paper with the details above. One final point is that although the Committee have historically been based in Belfast, its services are available to applicants throughout the Irish Constitution.

Detail of the Centenary Jewel.

Detail of the Centenary Jewel.

The Annual General Meeting began promptly at 11.00AM with a full complement of Members present and in the presence of RT Wor Bro Ken Porter Assistant Grand Master of Antrim. We received comprehensive reports from Wor Bro D Wallace, Committee Treasurer and Wor Bro Alan Patterson Committee Secretary, which briefed us all on the activities of the year 2015 -16. Some 95 student qualified for the full £ 180.00 grant this year, and progress was made in respect of future fund raising for 2017 and beyond. Wor Bro Colin Bonnes stepped down as Chairman and Wor Bro Dennis Walker was elected to fill the office of Chairman in the year 2016 -17. The meeting was formally closed and we adjourned to the Sir Robert Baird dining room for a very pleasant lunch. I was then invited to say a few words, ( which can be studies elsewhere on the site ) and the meeting formally closed at 3.00PM.

Some of the Committee selling Jewels at Grand Lodge Meeting in Armagh.

Some of the Committee selling Jewels at Grand Lodge Meeting in Armagh.

On a final note, I would encourage you all to buy a centenary jewel and help to finance the worthwhile activities of this fund, as it actively continues to support, those students would might need some additional financial support during their three, four or five years at Univewrsity. Once the fund decides to support you, they continue to do so whilst you remain in 3rd level education. To date the Committee have been at Grand Lodge in Armagh and PGL of Down in Newry selling their wares. They hope to be present at many other such meetings in the months ahead. So, if you do happen to see them, come forward and hear first hand about the work that they do, and then get yourself a commemorative jewel to mark the occasion.

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160th Anniversary of Duke of Leinster Lodge No 363 I.C. Adelaide. SA.

Masonic Hall Adelaide, South Australia.

Masonic Hall Adelaide, South Australia.

Some 160 years ago … on Tuesday 4 March 1856 at Bro. Robert Ramsay’s Napoleon Bonaparte Hotel in King William Street, Adelaide (photo taken 1893), was held the first meeting of Duke of Leinster Lodge No.363, following notice given in the press. It is said preparations for the meeting were so hasty that the principal officers sat on cloth covered gin cases

A day or so earlier the Warrant had arrived by ship. It was issued by the Grand Lodge of Ireland in November 1855, signed by Augustus Frederick, Third Duke of Leinster, Grand Master, and also by John Fowler in his capacity as Deputy G. Secretary.

The first WM was W.Bro. Richard McClure (photo taken some 20 yrs later). Weeks later he moved to Melbourne.

Several weeks later Archibald Cooke of Cooke’s Plains, a good 2 days ride away by horse, was the first initiate, at an emergency meeting. To get to Adelaide he would have forded the final reach of the River Murray; there being no bridges across the river in those days. Today a ferry operates at this site, Wellington township.

The Lodge later met in stables at the rear of the Freemasons’ Tavern in Pirie Street (pictured, 1862), before the Alfred Masonic Hall was built in Waymouth Street at a site purchased in 1866.

Brethren, I’m sure you will all join with me in good wishes to Wor Bro PA Creer the current Worshipful Master of Duke of Leinster Lodge No 363 I.C. his Officers and Members, as they mark this magnificent achievement for Irish Freemasonry on the far side of the globe. And I’m particularly grateful to Wor Bro Rick Num, their Irish Italian Secretary, who keeps us all well briefed and up to date on Antipodian Masonry.

Bob Bashford.

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A Curious Masonic Find.

We are very grateful to Wor Bro Eoin Meehan of The Military Lodge of Ireland No 728 I.C. for the following article on some early Irish silver Officers Jewels. Eoin’s paper reads as follows :-

Old Officers Jewel Lodge 728 I.C.

Old Officers Jewel Lodge 728 I.C.

At a recent meeting of the Military Lodge of Ireland No 728 (of which I was Worshipful Master), W∴ Bro∴ Robert Merriweather, acting as Tyler and preparing the lodge room for us in his immaculate fashion, pointed out to me that our lodge had a number of artifacts in our “lodge box”. These included three small lodge officer’s jewels (worshipful master, senior warden and junior warden). They were smaller than usual, a bit dirty and pinned together.

I wasn’t sure what they were and some of our brethren had a number of different theories, but I thought I would take them home, clean them up and see if I could find out any background to them. I noticed that on the front of the jewels was inscribed “Lodge 728” but on the back was inscribed “Lodge 995” and “No 995”. Intrigued, I dived into the Internet and asked our wonderful archivist, Rebecca Hayes, for any info on this lodge.It turns out that a warrant for Lodge 995 was issued on 7th April 1808 to Jacob Parsons, Thomas Tabor and Stephen Luke to hold a lodge in the 8th Garrison Battalion, based in Cork. The Garrison Battalions were formed during the Napoleonic Wars to free regular army units to fight on the Continent. Shortly after the lodge was founded, two of the founders were censured by Grand Lodge:“2 February, 1809 – Read a report from the Committee on No. 995 against Bros. Parson and Tabor – Ordered that as it appears by the report that Bros. Parsons and Tabor acted from religious motives, the Grand Lodge directs that they be at liberty to withdraw from the Lodge and get their Certificates on paying their Dues.”

The Garrison Battalions were frequently re-organised and on 3rd May 1810, Bros Stephen Leeke, Joseph Cockroft and Richard Thomas, Master and Wardens of Lodge 995, sought permission from Grand Lodge to move the warrant to the 1st Garrison Battalion, the 8th having been disbanded.The 1st Garrison Battalion was then itself disbanded in 1814, and Bros. John Sparks, Robert Clarke and Wm. Waring, petitioned Grand Lodge on 7th July 1814 to issue a duplicate of warrant 995 and to hold a Lodge in Bantry with 48 brethren on the register as at June 1814. Warrant 995 was finally cancelled on 7th January, 1830 with 34 brethren registered.

I discovered that Lodge 995 was part of the “Trowbridge Union Band”. R∴ W∴ Bro∴ Robert Bashford of the Lodge of Research No 200, informed me was an old Irish degree called the “Union Band of Royal Arch High Knight Templar Pillared Priests”. To deliver this degree, 7 lodges would “band together” into a Union Band, each having its own seal. There would be an 8th seal held by the secretary of the Band.The individual seals were illustrated with various implements and each bore a text – Let Truth / Stand / Though The / Universe / Should / Sink Into Ruin. On the 8th or Great Seal is a Passion Cross, the letters I.N.R.I. with the motto In Hoc Signo Vinces ( In this Sign we conquor ).

Example of an old Pillared Priest's Certificate.

Example of an old Pillared Priest’s Certificate.

The Lodge of Research records this event of a Pillared Priest degree: “Given under the sanction of Lodge No. 995 in H.M.’s 8th Garrison Battalion, at Cork, 20 February, 1809, and signed: J. Moody, Frances Garner, Wm Arscott, Abraham Howell, Julian Fannuar, John Guy, Bernard Thomas, as the seven Grand Pillars, and Stephen Luke, as Grand Scribe. Red wax impression of seal engraved: “Trowbridge Union Band”, Lodge No, 995 Ancient, and attached to White (for Priestly Order), Black (for Knight Templar), Green (for Red Cross Mason), Red (for Royal Arch), and Blue (for Master Mason) ribbons, superimposed upon each other.”

One other item that caught my attention was that lodge 995 appeared to have transgressed Grand Lodge at some point:“A Communication from the Grand Lodge of Ireland of the 6th March, 1823, confirming a Report of a Committee to whom the Memorial and Resolutions, passed at the meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Munster, held in Cork on the 1st of November, 1822, had been referred … The Grand Lodge of Ireland has also put the Lodge Nos. 1, 3, 25, 27, 67, 71, 95, 99, 385 and 995, under suspension during the pleasure, interdicting them from all the Rites, Privileges, and Benefits of Freemasonry during the existence of said suspension, or from holding lawful Meetings as Freemasons, or for any other purpose other than that of reconsidering their very unmasonic proceedings and acknowledging their errors.”

Finally, I noticed One further item of confusion is the fact that there is also a Lodge 995 on the Roll of The Grand East of Ireland from 27th December 1806 until the 6th December 1809! This does not appear to be the same warrant as I have described here and I can only surmise this is a result of the confusion caused by the Seton Affair. Lodge 995 closed in 1830 and Lodge 728 was warranted in 1845, so some further work is required to figure out how these three jewels ended up in our hands.

Eoin Meehan

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One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary Jewel for Island of Inch Masonic Lodge No 589 I.C.

the Old O'Doherty Castle on the Island of Inch.

the Old O’Doherty Castle on the Island of Inch.

With Christmas fast approaching, I took myself up to the quarterly Bangor Collectors and Militaria Fair held in the excellent Halls of First Bangor Presbyterian Church, where I found myself surrounded in a plethora of curios, books, postcards, uniforms, militaria, PSNI and RUC artefacts, collectors pins and a few Fraternal items. The Halls were crowded with a good number of collectors and teas were being served by members of the Bangor P.W.A. Having made my way round the many stalls, I finally found what I was looking for – an interesting old Irish Masonic jewel.

150th Anniversary Jewel for Inch.

150th Anniversary Jewel for Inch.

And what a jewel it was, dating from the year 1931, it is in the shape of a five pointed star, with a shield on top, bearing an artistic impression of the old O’Doherty castle, still existing on the shore side of Inch Island. The star itself has been enamilled with a dark blue with the inscription – Island of Inch Masonic Lodge No 589. 1781 – 1931. On the reverse are the silver marks for V & S Vaughan and Sons of Birmingham, and bears the 1931 assay stamp for Birmingham.

Details of the Actual Jewel.

Details of the Actual Jewel.

For those of you who are not familiar with Irish Lodges, the Island of Inch Lodge is a small country Lodge located in the townland of Carnaghan, on the island of Inch, just off the coast of Inishowen, and set just off the shore of Lough Swilly. It is joined to the mainland of Innishowen by two causeways and has a popular sandy strand just down the road from the Hall.

Overgrown Entrance to Inch Island Hall

Overgrown Entrance to Inch Island Hall

The Lodge still retain the original Warrant issued on the 3rd May 1781, signed by Lord Antrim, The Grand Master of Ireland, countersigned by Joseph Keene, the Deputy Grand Master of Ireland and sealed by Thomas Corker Deputy Grand Secretary of Ireland. The Warrant was made out to James Craig who was appointed Foundation Master, James McDowell S.W. and James Hodge J.W. The Lodge was founded on the island in the year 1781, at a time when there were over 400 hundred households on the island. It was an area with very good farming land, which produced fresh meat and vegetables for the city of Londonderry. Interestingly it was one of two consecutive Donegal Lodges issued in 1781, the other being Antient Donegal No 588 I.C.

Roll of Honour Inch Island

Roll of Honour Inch Island

Some 26 Members served in the First World War and only one Member – Bro McClure paid the supreme price, being killed on the 1st July 1916 on the First Day of The Battle of the Somme. Sadly the Hall was damaged in 1922 at the time of the “Emergency”, when the 26 Southern Counties of Ireland gained their independence from Great Britain and became The Republic of Eire. However the Lodge moved to Bishop’s Street in Londonderry temporarily and once repairs were completed, they returned to Inch. In 1931 they celebrated their 150th Anniversary.

Note the Arts & Crafts Irish Themes Hanging Bar.

Note the Arts & Crafts Irish Themes Hanging Bar.

However with population shifts etc, the Lodge eventually moved into Londonderry on a full time basis in 1956. They went on to celebrate their 200th Anniversary in 1981, at which time they updated and re-issued a copy of the 1931 commemorative jewel. They are now a full member of the management committee in Bishop Street and no longer retain the Island of Inch Hall. Wor Bro Chris McClintock, a local Mason and Stained Glass Artist – visited the remains of the old Hall and salvaged their small pane of broken stained glass, which he repaired and placed in a light box, and which is now set in the upper floor at Bishop Street, as a permanent reminder of the old Hall.

Old Stained Glass Window at Inch

Old Stained Glass Window at Inch

Stained Glass, Framed and in Light Box.

Stained Glass, Framed and in Light Box.

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Presentation of cheques to The Cystic Fibrosis Trust and The Friends of the N.I. Cancer Centre by the members of The Cary and Dunluce Masonic Charity Committee.

A Trayful of Christmas Treats.

A Trayful of Christmas Treats.

On a cold and frosty Saturday morning Mrs Yolanda McClintock and I set off to the University of Ulster Dining Room complex just off the Cromore Road in Coleraine to attend the presentation of charity cheques by the Cary and Dunluce Masonic Charity Committee. We were met in the Dining Area by Ms Anne Rodgers of Mount Charles Catering, who got us seated and brought us over tea mince pies and a selection of Christmas cake, to get us settled and relaxed, before the Presentations began.

Wor Bro Robert Rice, Chairman of The Cary & Dunluce Charity Committee.

Wor Bro Robert Rice, Chairman of The Cary & Dunluce Charity Committee.

This year’s Chairman, Wor Bro Robert Rice was looking resplendent as he greeted all present in his official Cary and Dunluce Masonic Charity Committee Chairman’s jewel. This certainly added to the gravitas of the occasion.

Members of The Cary & Dunluce Masonic Charity Committee.

Members of The Cary & Dunluce Masonic Charity Committee.

Ms Sarah Breen from The Friends of The Cancer Centre Northern Ireland was presented with a cheque to the value of £ 1,150.00, and she thanked the Committee for this important donation which would go towards their ongoing works in clinical care, which ensures that anyone going through cancer has the best care available to them when they need it most. Today, Friends of the Cancer Centre funds a senior oncologist and three clinical nurse specialists, each specialising in a different cancer area. Our vision for the next 5 years is to expand this area, particularly by funding even more highly skilled and specialist nurses. We also support the work of staff on the ground through the on-going funding of vital medical equipment, ensuring that doctors and nurses have the equipment they need to diagnose and treat patients.

Ms Sarah Breen collects cheque for Friends of The Cancer Centre, N.I.

Ms Sarah Breen collects cheque for Friends of The Cancer Centre, N.I.

Our second donation was given to a group of volunteers from the Cystic Fibrosis Trust led by Liam McHugh and accompanied by Brenda Mc Clarity, Sharon Wade and Ricky Wade. They too received a cheque to the value of £ 1,150.00 from the Committee, and thanked the Brethren for their generous donation, which will be used to fund their ongoing expenditure in support of research into new life enhancing drugs. Liam was able to give us all an update on the current developmental works being launched in Ireland which has been producing very encouraging results on the quality of life enjoyed by Cystic Fibrosis sufferers.

Cheque Presentation to The Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Cheque Presentation to The Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

People with cystic fibrosis should be cared for by a multidisciplinary team of specialist doctors, nurses and allied health professionals at a recognised specialist CF centre, as set out in our nationally recognised standards of care. That is why they work with NHS commissioning bodies in the four UK nations to try and make sure that everyone with cystic fibrosis is registered with a designated properly resourced specialist CF service.
Children will receive either full care from a specialist CF centre or shared care within an agreed, designated network. Due to the increasing complexity of cystic fibrosis in adulthood, full care should be delivered by a specialist CF centre. For more information on clinical care, including diagnosis, paediatric and adult care, and complications related to cystic fibrosis, please contact The Cystic Fibrosis Trust, where more information, contacts and links will be found.

Presentation to Ms Anne Rogers.

Presentation to Ms Anne Rogers.

Wor Bro Rice took the opportunity to thank his Committee Secretary and Treasurer for all the help and support that they had given him during his year of office. He thanked the other members of his committee for their ongoing support and thanked Ms Anne Rogers for all the help and support provided by Mount Charles Catering, both on the day of the Charity Breakfast and for the excellent refreshments that she had provided earlier this morning.

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Larne and District Charity Committee Carol Service in Cairncastle.

Rev Fiona Forbes.

Rev Fiona Forbes.

We set out for Cairncastle on the evening of the 10th December and enroute we were confronted with hail showers, high winds, snow falls and dropping temperatures. As always, the road over the Collin was quite busy, but very slippery in places. But it wasn’t long until we arrived at 1st Cairncastle Church, where we were met with a warm welcome from the Rev Fiona Forbes and members of the Larne and District Charity Committee. The Church was well filled with Masons, families and friends and service started promptly at 7.30pm

Rt Wor Bro Norman Carmichael.

Rt Wor Bro Norman Carmichael.

We were delighted to see one of our Provincial Organists Rt Wor Bro Norman Carmichael in attendance and providing some of the music as the evening proceeded.

The Harlandic Male Voice Choir.

The Harlandic Male Voice Choir.

Our main guests of the evening were The Harlandic Male Voice Choir. This is a choir which came into being in the latter days of November 1944 when the statement “Let’s form a choir” was made to a group of men singing round a coke fire in the Victoria Works of the famous Belfast shipyard of Harland and Wolff during a lunch time break. The sing songs of these men sounded good to the listeners and were a daily feature to help break the monotony of men working long hours during the war years. At the first meeting called for those interested in the formation of a choir the response was so encouraging that rehearsal began the next week. They encountered problems immediately – Where would rehearsals take place? And when? as the men were working twelve hour shifts. Agreement was soon reached, and an outside air-raid shelter was placed at the disposal of the men during lunch-breaks for the first choir rehearsals.
One member, Norman Fitzsimmons, agreed to act as conductor and so rehearsals commenced. Progress was good, so good in fact that a room in Belfast city centre was hired and the first full time Director of Music, Adam Donaghy was appointed in 1945. Under Adam’s guidance the choir grew rapidly in competence. The membership became larger and more dedicated, the scene of men coming directly from work in boiler suits and overalls was a common one such was the enthusiasm, which pertains to this day. The decisive moment had arrived, the choir entered for Larne Competitive music festival, which they won with an average of 92 marks. They have won many competitions since those early days, and we were delighted to welcome them to Cairncastle, where we were able to enjoy their contribution to an interesting and entertaining musical evening. We were also delighted to welcome a group of young performers from Uplift, a locally based theatre and dance group, under the guidance of Ryan Moffett, one of their joint founders and the current creative and production director. They too added their voices to add to our enjoyment of the evening.

Wor Bro Gary McAllister.

Wor Bro Gary McAllister.

The evening began with a few words of welcome followed by an Opening Prayer and The Lord’s prayer. Then we sang “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, the first of a series of well known Christmas Carols interspersed with nine readings from the Holy Bible. Amongst our readers were representatives of some of the bodies making up the Larne Charity Committee including :-Wor Bro Gary McAllister, Wor Master of Cairncastle Masonic Lodge No 788 I.C.

Wor Bro Sam Ayre.

Wor Bro Sam Ayre.

Wor Bro Sam Ayre , Secretary of Cairncastle Masonic Lodge No 788 I.C.

Wor Bro Graham Todd.

Wor Bro Graham Todd.

Wor Bro Graham Todd from Larne and District Charity Committee.

Bro Roland Spottiswoode.

Bro Roland Spottiswoode.

Brother Roland Spottiswoode representing the Management Committee of The Irish Lodge of Research No 200 I.C.

Ex Comp Alan Tweed.

Ex Comp Alan Tweed.

Excellent Companion Alan Tweed Glenarm Royal Arch Chapter No 45.

Sir Knight Robert Arnold.

Sir Knight Robert Arnold.

Sir Knight Robert Arnold representing Glencloy Council of Knight Masons No 47.

Very Eminent Sir Knight Basil Elliott.

Very Eminent Sir Knight Basil Elliott.

Very Eminent Sir Knight Basil Elliott representing Latharna Preceptory.

Very Wor Bro Ted Geery.

Very Wor Bro Ted Geery.

Very Wor Bro Ted Geery representing The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim.

Right Wor Bro Sam Brennan.

Right Wor Bro Sam Brennan.

and Right Wor Bro Sam Brennan Representative of The Grand Lodge of Ireland.

Presentation of Part of Collection to Cairncastle Presbyterian Church.

Presentation of Part of Collection to Cairncastle Presbyterian Church.

Over £ 800 was collected in the Church collection and the evening was brought to a close with a Closing Prayer and The Benediction. We all then retired to the adjacent Lecture Hall, attached to the Church where we enjoyed a warm cup of tea, mince pies and biscuits. The Rev Fiona Forbes was presented with 50% of the overall collection for the use of the Church and the other 50% will be forwarded on the one of our Masonic charities.

Presentation to Rev Forbes.

Presentation to Rev Forbes.

Then Wor Bro Graham Todd, on behalf of The Larne and District Charity Committee presented the Rev Forbes with a large hamper, donated for the occasion by The Ballygally Spar.

Harlandic Male Voice Choir.

Harlandic Male Voice Choir.

Special thanks was expressed to Ann’s Pantry in Main Street, Larne and Ballygally Spar for their support to this carol service. The evening was brought to a close with a couple of impromptu numbers by the members of the Harlandic Choir, who finished their rendition with a verse of Jingle Bells.

Representitives of Provincial Grand Lodge and their Hosts.

Representitives of Provincial Grand Lodge and their Hosts.

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Visit to Saintfield Masonic Hall by The Irish Lodge of Research.

Crest of The Irish Lodge of Research. No 200 I.C..

Crest of The Irish Lodge of Research. No 200 I.C..

Brethren, the Irish Lodge of Research will be going to Saintfield, Co Down to visit the Masonic Hall and learn about a significant Masonic Anniversary on Saturday the 28th November 2015 from 1.30PM in the afternoon. Saintfield has a fascinating Hall and contains many items of Masonic interest. I have taken this opportunity to re-publish an article previously published on the 29th July 2013, which will give you all a good idea of some of the history that we may hear on the day, and some of the many curio’s that are preserved in the Hall. I hope that as many of you as possible will try to come along on the day, and join with the Irish Lodge of Research, as we assist the Brethren of Saintfield to mark their special year. So Happy Reading, and we will look forward to greeting you all in person, on the day.

Saintfield Masonic Lodge.

Saintfield Masonic Lodge.

I am very grateful to Wor Bro David Woodrow for the kind invitation to visit the Saintfield Lodge-room home to Union Band Lodge No 35 Saintfield. This is one of the older Ulster Lodges, tracings its origins from the year 1765 to date. It is a Lodge packed with history, and quite a bit of this history has been previously recorded by one of its own members, the late Wor Bro W.G.Simpson H.K.T. Belvoir,P.P.G.I.G. in the Masonic Province of Armagh, P.D.G.C.S.V. in the District Grand Chapter of Armagh etc, in his excellent book – The History & Antiquities of Freemasonry in Saintfield, Co Down – published in Downpatrick at the Down Recorder office in 1924.

In the early days of our Order, minute keeping was very brief, and not always in chronological order. Entries such as Lodge opened – Degrees given to Bros so & so and such & such – Lodge closed. would appear to have been quite comprehensive at the time. Membership was strong

This Warrant was first issued in 1734 to the 28th Regiment of British Foot, under Major-General Nicholas Price, a member of the Price family, of Saintfield House. This famous regiment, known in military circles as “The Slashers,” won undying glory in Egypt during the Napoleonic wars. Attacked at once both in front and rear, the rear rank get the order to “turn about.” Fighting back to back the front rank beat off the enemy in front, and the rear rank beat off the enemy in the rear. As a reward for this valiant feat the men of the 28th, now the Gloucestershire Regiment, wear their regimental badge both on front and back of the cap.

Warrant 35 is marked “erased” in Downes’s list, 1804; it was issued to Kingston, Jamaica, in 1814, and to Saintfield in 1840, in direct succession to Lodge 107, and there it remains.The Lodge Secretary’s list of the members of No. 107 for 1839 gives “Wm. Shaw; Wm. Thompson, S.W.; and James Shaw, J.W.” The Warrant of Lodge 35 gives “Robert Shaw, senior, W.N.; Wm. Thompson, S.W.; and James Shaw, J.W.” The two Wardens thus retained their places, while the former Master, Wm. Shaw, is enrolled as P.M. under the new Warrant. The election of “Officers for the year 1840” resulted thus: William Dick, Master; Samuel Craig, S.W.; Andrew Patterson, J.W.; Robert Shaw, jun., Secretary; Wm. Smith, S.D.; Hugh Watson, J.D.; Thomas Harper, High Priest.

Saintfield Royal Arch Chapter

Saintfield Royal Arch Chapter

It will be seen from the above chain of Warrants that the Saintfield Union Lodge, or Union Band Lodge, as it is now called, by virtue of the By-law’s of 1921, has laboured in Saintfield since 1865, though the date against it in the Calendar is 1840. This is regarded by the Brethren as very misleading. They hold that in case of a Lodge continuing under a succession of Warrants without a hiatus, the original date should be retained.On the 14th July following “the Instalment of the Warrant” Lodge 35 adopted the following quaint rules:-

“Any member that has not settled his Acct. in the Lodge Book of Nr. 107 will not be allowed an office nor a vote in this Lodge Nr. 35.”

“No member will be allowed to smoke in the Lodge room while the Lodge is open.”

“Those who are not present at the time of refreshing will not be refreshed till it is going round again.”
Since there is no smoke without fire we infer that old Lodge 107 must have been a free and easy sort of place. But Lodge 35 was going to end all that!

A view of the Master's Throne.

A view of the Master’s Throne.

A Tyler “to attend us at the door and do our outside business” was appointed on 15th December, 1840.
Warrant No. 35 appears to have had a more chequered career than its predecessors. It was suspended from the 1st till the 9th of December, 1858, on account of the Lodge walking in procession on St. John’s Day, and an endorsement to that effect appears on the Warrant. The Lodge having made due submission the suspension was quickly removed.

In this instance the transgression was wilful and deliberate. An edict prohibiting Masonic Processions was published by Grand Lodge in 1836 by circular and by newspaper advertisements. The brethren of those days always rebelled against any legislation by Grand Lodge which impinged upon their inherited liberties, as we have seen already in connection with the proposed control of the higher degrees. They set this new decree as defiance for a period of twenty-two years. But there must have been doubts in their minds at times as to the wisdom or propriety of their action. The following illustrative entry appears under date June 9, 1852:-

A rare Puffer Fish landed in Kilkeel in 1850.

A rare Puffer Fish landed in Kilkeel in 1850.

“Resolved by the majority of Lodge 35 that they will walk on 24th June, 1852, with the exception of J.F. Lowery and Jas. Clifford.”

One cannot accuse the Grand Lodge of impatience or want of forbearance. In quietness and in confidence lay their strength, for eventually the edict became universally obeyed, no doubt greatly to the advantage of the Society.The Warrant was again suspended on 4th April, 1861, for non-payment of dues to Provincial Grand Lodge. It was restored in 1863, when payment was made.During the first decade of its existence Lodge 35 suffered greatly from neglect and want of support. In 1848 the Committee resolved:-

“That on account of this place falling into decline, and to revive it, we have agreed that anyone that is not FREEBORN may be initiated in this Lodge.”

The reference is to illegitimacy. A belief still existed in 1924, in some old-time Lodges that an illegitimate person was not freeborn, and therefore ineligible to join Masonry. The Grand Lodge does not support that theory.

A Wedding Gift to a Brother.

A Wedding Gift to a Brother.

The concession does not seem to have introduced much new blood into 35, for the decline continued. In 1854 the membership had fallen to 16. Little by little its virility deserted it, and the state of affairs was so bad in 1898 that a proposal was made in Lodge to transfer the Warrant out of Saintfield, in the hope that a change of venue might accomplish some good. This proposal was turned down as a specially convened meeting on 26th November, 1898, and a resolution was unanimously adopted “that the Warrant remain in Saintfield.”

Few members, even after this warning, appear to have cared whether it lived or died. They neglected to attend when summoned and withheld their dues. The officers, who should have set a good example, were as bad as the rest; for example, out of 42 possible attendance marks (officers only) for the first half of 1899, only 6 were registered. But the second half-year was worse, for they made no attendance’s at all, consequently there were no meetings of the Lodge. Then a spasmodic effort was made which kept the Lodge alive, and little more than that, for a couple of years with a roll of about 10 or 12. Most of the time they “could not open.”

An example of Lodge china.

An example of Lodge china.

This kind of thing was bound to result in ruin. The Provincial Grand Lodge at last took action, and recommended the withdrawal of the Warrant, which Grand Lodge ratified. Accordingly the Provincial Grand Secretary, V.W. Bro. James H. Barrett, formally demanded it, but the demand was not complied with. Prolonged correspondence ensued between him and Bro. Hugh Rea, P.M., secretary of Lodge 35, but despite all means and arguments Bro. Rea would not consent to the Warrant leaving Saintfield. He was absolutely adamant on this point. An official visit by Provincial Grand Officers also proved abortive, and matters went on in this unsatisfactory way until 1906. Then something happened.

On 8th November of that year several members of 35 and other local Masons held a meeting, prepared and forwarded to Grand Lodge a memorial “praying for the restoration of Lodge working, and the removal of the ban on the Warrant.” Grand Lodge, though in a conciliatory mood, felt bound to vindicate its authority, so it insisted upon the surrender of the Warrant, but gave an express promise to re-issue it to Saintfield on receipt of £4. 9s. 6d. [£4.471/2] accumulated dues against it.

The Brethren met again and agreed to take Grand Lodge at its word. They surrendered the Warrant and paid the dues, the full amount being subscribed by nine brethren. Grand Lodge re-issued the Warrant to these Brethren on 7th March, 1907 and they became the first officers under the restoration.Its continuity in Saintfield thus remains unbroken, for which happy result sincere gratitude is due to Bro. Hugh Rea, P.M. The first Stated Communication under the restored Warrant was held in the Lodge room on 28th May, 1907, Bro. T.B. Maxwell, P.M., 556 in the chair, Bro. Hugh Rea, P.M., acting as secretary. The scene was an extraordinary one, and was thus described by W. Bro. S.H. Kinghan, P.M. 301, present on the occasion:-
“The rooms in which the Lodge had been accustomed to hold its Communications were rented from Mr. G.E. Minnis, J.P., of Saintfield. During the dormancy of the Warrant most of its equipment had been removed elsewhere, but became available shortly after the Lodge resumed its labours.

The Old Lodge Warrant

The Old Lodge Warrant

“At this first meeting (28th May, 1907), we had to proceed without proper seating or lighting; chairs and lamps were not purchased in time for that night, there being no funds on hand, nor had we any authority to purchase if there had been.”Messrs. Minnis Bros. carry on, amongst their various activities, a large undertaking business, and for a considerable time had been using the deserted lodge room as a store for coffins. The coffins had to be utilised to make seats for the brethren that night, while for light we had to be content with three small candles fixed upon an improvised altar, which by day was a bacon-box or something of the kind. “The business consisted mainly in proposing for affiliation those of us who were not already members of Lodge 35.

“It was certainly an occasion never to be forgotten; the fewness of our members, the dim light `making darkness visible,’ and the gruesome coffins, all combined to impart an eerie feeling to the heart of every brother in the room. Yet on that memorable night we laid the solid foundation of that Masonic prosperity and success which we enjoy to-day.”

The newly organised Lodge started on its career with a roll of 14 members, who met in a small rented room; their labours have been crowned with success, for there were, in 1924, upwards of 100 Masons meeting in a beautiful hall of their own, which is held free of all rent for ever.

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Update on Charity Events.

Some of the Members of The Cary & Dunluce Charity Committee last Saturday.

Some of the Members of The Cary & Dunluce Charity Committee last Saturday.

We are pleased to record that some 143 guests attended last week’s Cary & Dunluce Masonic Charity Committee Breakfast last week, raising around £ 2,000-00 to go towards the work of our two nominated Masonic Charities. Despite the awful weather, all present enjoyed a convivial and excellent breakfast, provided by helpful staff in comfortable surroundings. We were particularly pleased to welcome the Right Wor Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Londonderry and Donegal – Rt Wor Bro Raymond Robinson to our Breakfast, even though, we arguably, were meeting within the boundaries of his Province.

East Belfast Charity Carol Service.

East Belfast Charity Carol Service.

On Sunday the 6th December 2015 the United Masonic Charity Committee in Belfast are hosting their annual family carol service in the Skainos Centre ( East Belfast Mission )located at 239 Newtownards Road, Belfast. The service will start at 3.00pm and afterwards any children present will be able to meet with Santa. So if you are free on the afternoon of the 6th December, bring the family and friends to The Skainos Centre for a relaxing and enjoyable family service.

1st Annual Charity Committee Larne.

1st Annual Charity Committee Larne.

On Thursday the 10th December at 7.30PM the Brethren of the Larne and District Charity Committee have organised a Carol Service which will be held in Cairncastle Presbyterian Church. On this occasion the host Lodge will be St John’s Lodge No 788 Cairncastle, who will provide refreshments at the end of the service. The Lodge has also arranged that The Harlandic Male Voice Choir and local church group Uplift will both be in attendance to take part in the service. It is hoped that this Service will be the first in what is planned to be an annual Carol Service held under the auspices of the Larne and District Charity Committee.

On Tuesday the 8th December 2015, the Six Mile Valley Masonic Charity Committee will also be holding a Masonic Charity Service, which will start at 7.30PM that evening, and will be held in St Brides Church of Ireland Church, located at 7 Rectory Road, Kilbride. We hope that as many as possible will participate in both of these services in the run-up to the Christmas festivities.

Whiteabbey Masonic Centre.

Whiteabbey Masonic Centre.

On Sunday the 13th December at 3.00PM, there will be a Carol Service held in the Whiteabbey Masonic Centre to raise funds on behalf of The Northern Ireland Hospice. Here too, the Brethren are hoping for a good turn-out of Brethren and their families to support this important Northern Ireland Charity.

And finally for now, the Brethren of Lisburn have organised to hold a church service in St Mary’s Church of Ireland Church, 98 Ballymacash Road, Lisburn at 3.00PM on Sunday the 13th December 2015. Here too, they would appeal for the support of their local Brethren and their families at this
worthwhile event.

And of course Brethren, even if you do not live in the immediate areas of these services, the local Brethren will be delighted to welcome you and your family and friends, should you decide to come along and support these local events.

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Remembrance 2015.

A Soldier  - always.

A Soldier – always.

Brethren the annual wreath laying ceremony will take place at Fort Dunree First World War Memorial on Saturday 7th November at 2.30pm Donegal Time. As usual I hope to lay a wreath from Irish Freemasonry in memory of the many Irish Freemasons killed and wounded, as a result of answering the call to King and Country. We as a people still owe a great debt to all those brave men and boys, who answered the Call, and fought for the freedom of all peoples against the massed forces of those with different intentions. It is also the time to think of all who died and were wounded in the Second World War and all the regional conflicts that have taken place ever since. Freedom is a right hard fought, that needs to be defended regularly from all who would try to change it, to other less equal forms of Government.

In August 1914 ,one hundred and one years ago, the world was plunged into yet another European war which was shortly to become a world war, the Great war, the war to end all wars, the First World War. As it progressed ,it brought with it new and devastating technologies and the armies became more and more expert in killing each other.
1915 was the year that the 10th Irish Division were sent to Gallipoli along with colonial troops from India, Australia and New Zealand. On the 25th April 1915, after a prolonged naval bombardment Allied troops landed on all five beaches along the peninsula. This was the year that the Zeppelin Air-Ships were first deployed on a bombing raid against Great Yarmouth and then on actual air-raids on London. On the first London attack by air ships on 31st May 2015 some 28 people were killed and 60 wounded. 1915 was also the year that Chlorine poison gas was first used by the Germans at the First Battle of Ypres on 22nd April 1915. Later that year by the time that the battle of Loos took place, the British too, were using Chlorine Gas.

While the war was fought in many theatres across the globe it was most chillingly known by the “western front” that 500mile long trench line that wove its way from the Belgian coast through France to Switzerland. For four years the British and allied armies faced the German and central powers armies across no man’s land in deadly pursuit to push each other east or west. Men ,machines and mud combined into an ever growing cauldron of death and destruction, which decimated a generation of youth in its path until an end was brought about by the armistice of 11th of November 1918 at 11.00am when all hostilities finally ceased.

In recognition of that armistice and all that had gone before it, the Inishowen Friends of Messines IFOM, will hold its armistice commemoration for the men and women of Inishowen who went off to war and never came home, on Saturday November 7th at 2.30pm at Fort Dunree. Some 1500 people from the Inishowen peninsula went to war between 1914 and 1918, and almost 250 of them, whose names are cited on our Memorial at Fort Dunree, never returned.

Fort Dunree /IFOM extend a warm invitation to everyone with an interest to come along to this event.

Refreshments will be served in the Saldhana suite to all present, following the ceremony at the Memorial. There will also be an opportunity to relax in the warm, visit the collection of Irish Army memorabilia on display, meet old friends and have the opportunity to meet new friends with similar interests.

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Cary & Dunluce Annual Charity Breakfast.

Cary and Dunluce annual charity breakfast will take place on Saturday the 7th November 2015 in the Coleraine Campus of The University of Ulster. Meals will be served from 7.00 AM to 10.00AM that morning. Our chairman this year Wor Bro Bertie Rice ( Lodge 17 Vowferry ) and his team are hoping for a good turn-out of Brethren, family and friends from the Cary and Dunluce district of County Antrim and also from the town of Coleraine and the surrounding district of North Derry. We are delighted to be using the excellent facilities of The University of Ulster based on the Cromore Road site in Coleraine. There will be plenty of signage and stewards available to take you to the correct part of the University complex.

This year our two selected charities will be Cystic Fibrosis N.I. ( North Coast Branch ) and the Friends of The Cancer Centre. We shall have representitives from both Charities available on the day, and they will try to inform us on the works that their charities do. In
the case of Cystic Fibrosis, we will learn that this is a life shortening genetic condition that slowly destroys the lungs and digestive system. We will also learn that you cannot catch Cystic Fibrosis, or develope it in later life.. The only way to have CF is to inherit a copy of the faulty gene from each of their parents. The faulty gene is carried by one in twenty five people in the population, and if two carriers have a baby, there is a one in four chance that it will be infected.

On reading the attached details on Cystic Fibrosis, you will be able to understand why we have selected this particular charity for support, along with The Friends of The Cancer Center. We hope that as many of you as possible with your friends and families will give up a couple of hours on Saturday morning to join with us all in a £ 10.00 Ulster Fry, and in this way give strong support to the Cary and Dunluce Charity Committee, as they raise funds to help both of these worthy causes.So Brethren we look forward to greeting as many of you as possible, as we help support the ongoing work of Cystic Fibrosis N.I. and The Friends of The Cancer Centre. And if you are unable to be there in person, then you may want to speak to your Lodge Charity Steward and give him your donation directly.

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1946 Victory Stamp issued by the British Post Office.

The  1946 Victory Stamp.

The 1946 Victory Stamp.

I was recently asked to provide some information on the 1946 British Victory Stamp. which is also known as The Masonic Stamp. Rather than researching and rewriting the explanation that is currently available on the web, I have, on this instance went to the excellent internet resource hosted by The Grand Lodge of British Columbia and The Yukon and have used their excellent article, which gives a very full and detailed explanation of the symbolism used and how it relates to Freemasonry. So without further ado and with full acknowledgement to British Columbia and The Yukon, I would present the following for your information, education and consideration, and gratefully acknowledge the copywrite of Bro R.J. Meek of Nelson Lodge No 23 Yukon.

Since England first issued postage stamps—the famous “Penny Blacks”—in 1840, only five special issues have ever been printed. It is singularly gratifying to the Fraternity that the “Victory Issue” put on sale in June 1946, in Gt. Britain contains much of masonic interest.

The 3 penny denomination of the Special Issue, illustrated herewith, displays several masonic symbols with unmistakable prominence. H.M. the King chose the design himself from several submitted to him for the commemorative Victory Issue.

The dominating feature of the three penny stamp is the face of King George VI surmounted by a crown. Significantly, if the stamp is properly oriented, as a map with north to the top, the King is in the east.

In the centre flies a dove carrying the olive branch, from time immemorial the symbol of peace. It is a familiar emblem, being found on the wands and collars of the Deacons.

Brotherly love amongst men is symbolized by the juxtaposition of the square and compasses. The former reminding us “to act on the square,” and the latter “to keep in due bounds with ail mankiind. The compasses are at an angle of 45°, one point above and the other below the square, the position of Fellowcraft. It should be noted that the older form of square is portrayed, this type is seen particularly in connection with the Master’s jewel, also that of the Past Master. The two arms are of unequal length and represent the Greek letter “G” or “Gamma,” denoting “God, the Grand Geometrician of the Universe.”

The presence of a trowel and portion of a brick wall are not without significance, both in the operative and the speculative sense. While the trowel is not now recognized under the Irish, English or Canadian constitution, it is still an important symbol in the Scottish and the American Craft, emblematically spreading the cement of brotherly love among mankind. Also cleverly depicted in the curlicue engraving are five Ys denoting the 15 Fellowcrafts associated with the legend in the English work. The other symbols are surrounded or nestled and protected by this emblematical group.

The Freemason’s Chronicle of London, states: “It is singularly appropriate that the message thus conveyed by these emblems should be found, one may be almost permitted to surmise with purpose aforethought on the part of our M.W. Brother, the King, Past Grand Master, on the 3d. issue of the new stamps, used only for postage to foreign lands where the full significance of these emblems may not be lost, and the need for their reminder have greater force.”

Reynold Stone, a descendant of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the celebrated portrait painter, is the designer. Although a relatively young man he achieved a degree of fame for his engravings of the Royal Coat of Arms for the Coronation Service.

Of interest to stamp collectors, the photogravure process was used for the Victory Issue. They are printed on special paper supplied by the firm making paper for the Bank of England notes. Only 24,000,000 of the 3d. have been issued. Post Office officials expect the issue to last about two months, after which no fresh supplies will be printed.

After World War I, several “Peace” or “Reconstruction” issues were printed. The 25 mark German Republic stamp of 1919 depicts a trowel and bricks similar to the English 3d. King Solomon’s Throne was featured some years ago on an Abyssinian stamp—their “King of Kings” claims direct descent from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Many other issues of more obscure symbolism can be found by keen philatelists.

The appearance of masonic symbols on a postage stamp in such a distinctive manner must surely be without precedent, and from this point of view the 3d. English “Victory Issue” is perhaps the most interesting stamp ever printed.

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Horatio Nelson : Hero and Freemason.

The_Battle_of_Trafalgar_by_William_Clarkson_Stanfield

The_Battle_of_Trafalgar_by_William_Clarkson_Stanfield

The Battle of Trafalgar was a naval engagement fought by the Royal Navy against the combined fleets of the French and Spanish ( on the 21st October 1805 ) during the War of the Third Coalition of the Napoleonic War. The battle was the most decisive navel victory of the War. Twenty Seven British Ships of the Line led by Admiral Lord Nelson aboard the Victory defeated Thirty Three French and Spanish Ships of the Line under the command of the French Admiral Pierre – Charles Villeneuve, in the Atlantic off the south west coast of Spain just west of Cape Trafalgar in Canos de Meca.

The Franco Spanish fleet lost 22 ships without the loss of a single British ship. Admiral Nelson was shot in the chest in the closing part of the battle and subsequently died of his wounds. The French Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve was captured by the British and brought back to London. He was, as was usual at the time released under his own cognisance , and in fact attended Nelson’s funeral, held at evensong in St Paul’s Cathedral, London.

Obverse Nelson Crimson  Medal.

Obverse Nelson Crimson Medal.

Amongst the many memorials to Admiral Lord Nelson is a very enigmatic medal bearing on its Obverse a head and shoulders portrait of the Admiral with his decorations looking out to the left in a sombre and ship-shape manner. Around the edge is the legend “Gallant Nelson died Oct 21st 1805 off Cape Trafalgar”

Reverse Nelson Crimson Oakes Medal.

Reverse Nelson Crimson Oakes Medal.

The reverse of the medal is even more interesting with its legend “Nelsonic Crimson Oakes – Commenced Jany 19th 1808”. At the top of the medal is a representation of The All Seeing Eye and under it is a set of Compasses set at an angle of 45 degrees. There are representations of The Sun, The Moon and The Seven Stars, The Christian Cross resting on the third of a series of Steps and the representation of an Anchor and Hawser similarly resting on the third of a series of steps. Along the bottom of the medal is a representation of Noah’s Ark, set on a stormy sea under a rainbow. The medal was struck by a body known as The Nelsonic Crimson Oakes, which is believed to be basically a benevolent society for Sailors. We find surviving information on this organisation from the year 1811, but no explanation of the Masonic Symbols, so prominently exhibited on the reverse of the medal

These, of course stimulate the natural enquiry – Was Nelson a Freemason? Here again, we find very little firm evidence. One interesting discovery was the publication of Nelson’s Purse, an interesting record of the discovery of Nelson’s blood stained purse and other artefacts recovered by the author Martyn Downer ( ISBN-10-05521 50851 ). However from the Masonic point of view, they again provide more circumstantial support to the case that Nelson was in fact a Freemason. Fortunately we can find some assistance on the web-site belonging to Lodge St Patrick No 468 I.C. located in the town of Dunedin on the South Island of New Zealand. Here in an article entitles Admiral Nelson : Hero and Freemason we learn that considerable research has been carried out on this topic by John Hamill of the UGLE in London and he has found that at a meeting held in the Amphibious Lodge No 407 ( a Lodge for Royal Navel Officers and Marines ) held in Stonehouse Plymouth on the 15th August 1787 were several visitors including a Bro Nelson, who had just arrived back in England from Nevis in the Caribbean on the 4th July 1787 aboard HMS Boreas. The Boreas paid off at Sheerness, West Yorkshire on the 30th November 1787. Nevis is important as it was the island, on which as a young sea captain, Horatio Nelson met and married his wife Francis Nisbit, the young widow of a plantation owner.

Frontis of Downer's Book - Nelson's Purse.

Frontis of Downer’s Book – Nelson’s Purse.

It is also known that in 1787, Nelson was invited to Plymouth by HRH Prince William ( later William IV ) to witness a stone laying ceremony with members of the Amphibious Lodge No 407 in attendance. Prince William had been made a member of the Amphibious Lodge in Plymouth on the 9th March 1786.
Harmon Le Strange, in his history of Freemasonry in Norfolk records the fact that amongst the furniture of The Lodge of Friendship No 100 at Yarmouth is a carved stone bearing an inscription to Nelson. On one side of the stone there is a text commemorating the foundation of the Lodge of United Friends No 564 on the 11th August 1697 and on the other side is the inscription reading “In Memory of Bro V Nelson of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe in Norfolk, who lost his life in the arms of victory in an engagement with the combined fleets of France and Spain off Cape Trafalgar Oct 21st 1805. Proposed by Bro John Cutlove.
At the Masonic Hall in Reading, Berkshire may be seen a framed print with a representation of a banner carried at a procession in York on the day of Lord Nelson’s funeral in London. The banner was made for the Members of Union Lodge at York ( now York Lodge No 236 ) and was decorated with the Bible, Square and Compasses, the Sun, Moon and Seven Stars, and bears the inscription – “England expects every Man to do his duty. In Memory of Horatio Viscount Nelson who fell in the Moment of Victory off Cape Trafalgar Oct 21st 1805. We rejoice with our Country, but Mourn for Our Brother.

Banner of Emblems Trafalgar.

Banner of Emblems Trafalgar.

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Sidelights on Belfast History.

Sidelights on Belfast History.

Sidelights on Belfast History.

On Saturday’ past Bro Roland Spottiswoode and I spent some time wandering round the Wellington Park Hotel in a search through the many thousands of books at the Belfast Book Fair. And what a treat it was, as we looked at a variety of volumes recording all aspects of history, biography, the sciences, geography, local history and a large assortment of first editions from some of our more famous local authors. And as I suggested in my original posting, we indeed did find a fascinating volume filled with aspects of Masonic history in the city of Belfast.

Preface to The  Sidelights Book.

Preface to The Sidelights Book.

The Book, entitled Sidelights on Belfast History was written by a Belfast Barrister – Stephen Shannon Millin B.A. and published by W & G Baird Ltd in 1932. It is dedicated to the memory of his Mother accompanied by a short verse – ” Virtue grows like a vine around the Memory of the Dead; and every sweet unselfish Act is now a perfumed flower.” At the very bottom of the Preface is an intriguing reference to the Research Lodge of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland for the use of their ( printing ) blocks of the Belfast Banknote, 1794 and the Title-page of Ahiman Rezon 1782 respectively. Clearly our interest was aroused, and we began to look closer at the content of this work.

The Belfast Banknote - No 56.

The Belfast Banknote – No 56.

One reason, we of The Irish Lodge of Research might be interested in The Belfast Bank note number 56 is that in the midst of the guarantors named on the note is John Brown, Master of Lodge No 257 I.C. – The Orange Lodge of Belfast, and past sovereign of Belfast. There are no political inferences in this name, as this Masonic Lodge was only using the colours of its apron trim to identify its own members from the members of other Belfast Masonic Lodges at the time, say for example True Blue Lodge Belfast No 272 I.C. Here you will find the entire history of the Brown family tracing their roots from John of Mauchlin, a Scottish landowner near Glasgow who settled near Belfast in 1640. The family moved to Peters Hill, Belfast, where it grew and prospered during the 18th Century.

Portrait of John Brown Master of The Orange Lodge, Belfast.

Portrait of John Brown Master of The Orange Lodge, Belfast.

John Brown’s great claim to fame Masonically was the fact that he, as Master of The Orange Lodge was the man who laid the Foundation Stone to The White Linenhall in Belfast ( fore runner to Belfast City Hall ) with Masonic ceremony at the dedication held on site on the 28th April 1783.At that time he laid a collection of documents, some coins and medals and a commemorative copper plaque into the small specially formed cavity under the Foundation Stone, with all the usual ceremony.

Laying the Foundation Stone.

Laying the Foundation Stone.

Brethren, you may be surprised to learn that this is the only place that I am aware of, where you can read the text of this early Masonic artifact
so closely associated with Masonic History and the social history of Belfast. The actual artifacts including the commemorative copper plaque were transferred into the safe keeping of The Ulster Museum in the 1950’s. Sadly these artifacts were eventually lost and are no longer available for view. Other parts of the book includes a detailed entry on the history of The Belfast Orange Lodge with details on some of its members in the 18th century. All in all, a fascinating book with much information on the early history of Belfast Freemasonry.

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33rd Annual Belfast Book Fair.

One Man's Selection of Good Reading.

One Man’s Selection of Good Reading.

The 33rd Annual Belfast Book Fair will take place in the Wellington Park Hotel, Malone Road, Belfast on Saturday the 10th October 2015, opening to the public at 10.00AM and closing at 5.00PM. There is an admission charge of some £ 2.00 per head, and for this sum, you will have the opportunity to explore and examine the contents of some 30 stands set up by leading antiquarian, rare, secondhand and out of print book-sellers, located throughout the island of Ireland and further afield.

As usual there will be books available for purchase, on a wide range of subjects including Local History; Irish History & Topography; First & Second World War Histories; Ulster Scots & Irish Language titles; Children’s titles, Irish Regimental Histories; Aspects of Church History; Works published by The Linenhall Library and Books published by local history societies.

One of the star turns of the day, will be an appearance by Dr Alan McCutcheon, the eminent industrial archaeologist who will not only have some of his many publications on sale and for signing on the day, but will also have a number of books and pamphlets for sale from his own personal research collection.

On the literary front, there will be a large number of signed first editions available from such notable authors as W.B. Yeats, James Stephens, Flann O’Brien, Seamus Heaney and Paul Muldoon to name but a few. There are many more unsigned First Editions including works by Jules Verne, P.G.Wodehouse, Flann O’Brien, Patrick McGill and some early first editions of the works of Samuel Beckett.

Plate from old French Masonic publication

Plate from old French Masonic publication

One of the great joys, on a day such as this is the unexpected discovery of books that you were not expecting. Last year we found a copy of the Templepatrick Masonic Bazaar buried in a box of oddments, and a copy of a 1690’s illustration by Richard Blome of the building known as King Solomon’s Temple. This was an important illustration taken from Blome’s work entitles “History of the Old Testament” originally published between 1688 and 1690. If you are really lucky, you should be able to pick up a copy of Freemasonry in Northern Ireland by the late Rt Wor Bro Samuel Leighton, first Librarian and Archivist of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim and a past Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim Organist. It should be available in the £ 20 – £ 25 range and is full of interesting facts on the history of Freemasonry throughout the county of Antrim from the 18th to the early 20th century. So, if you happen to be in Belfast tomorrow, find some time and pop in for a look through this magnificent collection of interesting, unusual and challenging books. Who knows, you may find something of interest that will keep you reading for the next week or two.
Finally, if you do catch the bug and develop an interest in antiquarian and similar books, then please put a note in your diary to remind you that the Dublin City Book Fair will be held on Sunday the 27th October 2015 in the Tara Towers Hotel, Merrion Road, Dublin. Happy Hunting!

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Irish Lodge of Research are off to Kinsale 25th September 2015.

Crest of The Irish Lodge of Research.

Crest of The Irish Lodge of Research.

This year, our weekend meeting will be held in The Masonic Hall Kinsale on Saturday the 26th September 2015. Some thirty-three Brethren and their wives will be heading towards Kinsale at the end of next week for a restful couple of days in the Trident Hotel, Kinsale, before visiting the Lodgerooms at 2.00pm on Saturday, to hear a paper on the history of Freemasonry in the Kinsale area.

Saint Multose Church Kinsale

Saint Multose Church Kinsale

As a town, Kinsale has a marvellous collection of interesting historical buildings, starting with St Multose Parish Church dating from it’s foundation in the year 1190AD. The Church,located on Church Street, contains many items of interest including a Williamite flag from the 1690 period and another flag, belonging to the Highland Light Infantry, which was carried through the Battle of Waterloo. This Church contains a memorial chapel, known as the White Memorial Chapel which contains the remains of various members of The Southwell family ( including one past Grand Master of Ireland ), who were all benefactors of the town.

The Firemans Memorial Ringfinnan.

The Firemans Memorial Ringfinnan.

A few miles outside the town of Kinsale is the Ringfinnan Garden of Remembrance, which is a unique memorial in Ireland. It commemorates the memory of every one of the 343 firemen killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack on The Twin Towers in New York. The site was set up in memory of the late Kathleen Murphy and contains a feature tree dedicated to each individual fire fighter. It is a centre of calm and contemplation in an otherwise busy world and is certainly well worth a visit.

The Entrance to Ringfinnan.

The Entrance to Ringfinnan.

Memorial Plaque to Kathleen Murphy.

Memorial Plaque to Kathleen Murphy.

Charles Fort, located down at Summer Cove is one of the most striking examples of a 17th Century Star Fort still surviving in Ireland. It is in the case of the State, contains an excellent Visitors Centre and costs 4 euros per adult for an afternoon visit. If you have the opportunity, then call and visit this most interesting structure.

Ariel View of Charles Fort Kinsale.

Ariel View of Charles Fort Kinsale.

View from The Guardhouse Charles Fort  Kinsale.

View from The Guardhouse Charles Fort
Kinsale.

Across the Bandon River on the Castlepark Penninsula is the earlier James Fort, built in the year 1601 to defend the town and river from further seaborne attack. This is an earlier version of the Star Fort, and was enhanced with a hexagonal blockhouse, built at the Waters Edge.

The Lodge Rooms located at Higher O’Connell Street contain many items of interest for visiting Brethren. Amongst their many treasures will be seen some of the following.

A View of The Lodgeroom in Kinsale.

A View of The Lodgeroom in Kinsale.

Inscriptionon The Master's Maul, Kinsale.

Inscriptionon The Master’s Maul, Kinsale.

An image of The Old Lodge Chest.

An image of The Old Lodge Chest.

Lodge Crest 234 Kinsale

Lodge Crest 234 Kinsale

Brethren, as you can see, there is plenty to see around the town and environs to maintain our interest, and in the evenings we have a choice of excellent restaurants and watering holes. Amongst the best of these facilities are The White House in Pearce Street, The Armada Bar in Market Street, The Spaniard Inn, The Folkhouse Bar, noted for its music and entertainment, The Lord Kinsale onMain Street and The Greyhound Bar on Market Square. Last but by no means least is The Speckled Door, located on The Old Head in Kinsale, noted as a centre of excellence for food and refreshment.

Map of Kinsale.

Map of Kinsale.

As on all Lodge visits organised by The Irish Lodge of Research, we are always delighted to welcome visitors, from the local area or from further afield, who are always welcome to join with us on our journey of discovery, as we try to gain further insights into the growth of Irish Freemasonry, throughout the Island of Ireland.

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Masonic Coverage in The Sunday Independent Newspaper 13/09/2015.

Article in The Sunday Independent.

Article in The Sunday Independent.

Pleasant surprise in yesterday’s Sunday Independent, where we found a very good article by Irish Independent reporter Liam Collins on his recent visit to 17 Molesworth Street, Dublin, home to the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons of Ireland. Like all non-masons, he had a few doubts before entry, but these were quickly laid to rest by the warmth of his welcome from our Most Wor Grand Master – Most Wor Bro Douglas T Grey, who proceeded to give him a full tour tour throughout our many interesting rooms, on the various floors of our building. So having visited the Museum and Library,they made their way around The Grand Lodge Room, The Egyptian Room, The Council Room, Preceptory and Princes Rooms, before ending up in the Grand Master’s Office and Study for an interview.

Most Wor Bro Douglas T. Grey Grand Master of Ireland.

Most Wor Bro Douglas T. Grey Grand Master of Ireland.

Having made themselves comfortable, Liam took the opportunity to learn a little about our history, and some of the personalities associated with Irish Masonry. People like The Duke of Leinster, The Earl of Charlesville, Lord Donegal and Daniel O’Connell. They discussed aspects of our Order such as the bar on discussions on politics and religion, and Liam was interested to learn that we have members from most faiths throughout the Island of Ireland. As our Most Wor Grand Master summarised the discussion on secrecy, with the words – We are known as a secret organisation, but you will find out all our secrets in any good library – We really have nothing to hide.

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2nd International Workshop in Athens 26th – 30th August 2015.

Crest of the Workshop.

Crest of the Workshop.

Wor Bro McClintock and I travelled to Dublin, enroute to Athens, and got caught up in all the excitement and disruption arising from the Hanger Fire at Dublin Airport, on our morning of departure. We were boarded onto our plane and then held on the ground for two hours, before finally being allowed to take off. Needless to say, this played havoc with our travel plans and it took considerable time, and an extra flight to finally get us to our destination in Athens. But all congratulations to The Philotection Society in Greece, their car was waiting for us at the airport and took us straight to the Workshop Hotel, where we met up with our hosts for a quick chat and some liquid refreshment.

A View of the Acropolis.

A View of the Acropolis.

On our first morning in Athens, we set off on a bus tour to the Agora – the ancient marketplace of Athens, where people gathered to tak, to listen to Orators such as Socretes, to trade and to conduct all the business required to run govern the City State of Athens. As most of you probably know, this was the site where Democracy, as we now know it, first came to the fore as a political model to rule the state. Above, on one of the surrounding hills is the Temple of Athena, located on The Acropolis, the spiritual centre of Athens.

Dr Anthi Dipla ( in the red ) guiding our group around the Agora.

Dr Anthi Dipla ( in the red ) guiding our group around the Agora.

Dr Dipla, from the University of Athens, gave our group a comprehensive presentation on the Agora, explaining the history of the site and the use and structures of the many buildings spread over the site. As we approached the site, we first saw The Library of Hadrian, a name that we tend to associate with the wall between England and Scotland. Hadrian however had been governor of Athens before he went to the wilds of Britain. Next, we wandered over to visit a number of the other sites including Stoa, which is the greek term for Porch or covered way. One such Stoa is the Stoa Poikile, the Painted Porch from where Zeno of Citium taught the philosophy of Stoicism.

Stoa Poikile.

For the religious in our midst, you may be interested to learn that there was once a jewish synagogue located in the Agora, a few metres from the north east corner of the Metroon, an ancient Greek temple dedicated to the Mother Goddess Demeter. In the Book of Acts it is said thet the apostle Paul visited this synagogue and delivered a sermon, on his way to Rome in 50AD. Across the way is the glorious Stoa of Attalus located along the Eastern boundary, 115M long x 20M wide. The Stoa still survives, and was renovated in the 1950’s by an American Architectural Practice to turn it in to a modern exhibition space to exhib the many statues and artifacts recovered from this area in Athens.

Stoa Attalus - the current exhibition space in the Agora.

Stoa Attalus – the current exhibition space in the Agora.

By now Dr Dipla had been speaking continuously for some three hours, so we took the opportunity to thank her for her very informative lecture on Greek History and then returned to our air conditioned chariot, and made our way back to the Conference Centre for Lunch.

Printed Volume of All the Papers Presented at the 2014 Workshop.

Printed Volume of All the Papers Presented at the 2014 Workshop.

Rt Wor Bro Dimitrios Kontesis opened the afternoon session at 18.30PM with a review of the previous Workshop in 2014 and a report on the progress being made by the Philotection Society on the back of last years Workshop. Finantially the Workshop just about broke even, an excellent result from their First Workshop. They have now published a bound copy of the complete proceedings from 2014 and all attendees this year received an individually numbered copy, as part of their welcome pack. Some of the remaining copies will be sent to Masonic Liberies throughout Europe and the remainder ( a relatively small number ) will be available from the Philotection Society in Athens at a cost of 35 euros plus postage.

Part Two will follow shortly.

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Annual Open Day at Larne Masonic Centre 2015.

Larne Summer Fete and Open Day.

Larne Summer Fete and Open Day.

Its hard to believe that another year has passed, but, for those in any doubt, the Annual Larne Summer Fete and Open Day was once again held on Saturday the 15th August 2015. We had the usual plethora of events including Face Painting, Bouncy Castle, Police Van with mobile cell in the rear, Ice Cream, Music, Barbeque, Fire Engine, TA Reserves,Nail Games, Refreshments, Airsoft, Tombola, Barbeque, St John’s Ambulance and Scottish Dancing. As usual, THe Irish Lodge of Research had a Historical Display with various local Lodge jewels, artifacts, china plates and Mark Lodge tokens on display, Photo Albums and Transactions, and the Larne Hall Management Team ran a number of tours of the Lodgeroom.

Visitors from The Grand Lodge of the Netherlands  get the Guided Tour

Visitors from The Grand Lodge of the Netherlands get the Guided Tour

Rt Wor Bro Christiaan Koning and his good lady wife have been touring Ireland for the past couple of months, and I had previously met them at Downhill in County Londonderry. THey have visited a Summer Lodge in Limavady, Grand Lodge in Dublin and hope to visit the Rosemary Street Museum before the end of August. I had invited them to Larne and they were fascinated to see the extent of outreach carried out in the Irish Constitution. Christiaan
is currently in the chair of Lodge Opgang No 173 Hilversum, is active in the Dutch Royal Arch and is a 30th degree Mason in the Dutch Scottish Rite. They spoke to a number of the Larne Brethren present, had a meal in the Social club and enjoyed the range of activities outside for the kids and families.

Two Well Known Brethren.

Two Well Known Brethren.

Some of the Lodge CC Representitives Present.

Some of the Lodge CC Representitives Present.

Some more of the Senior brethren present..

Some more of the Senior brethren present..

We had a busy day on the historical stand, so much so, that I did’nt get an opportunity to take any photos outside. As usual, we found that our exhibits reminded people of some of the items they had in their own homes, with family and Masonic collections. This always encourages them to question us, and before we knew it, it was nearly 4.00pm and the end of the show. We always see a lot of the same faces every year, but in one or two instances they were looking a bit different this year. For example “Junior” looks a bit different, but I just could’nt put my hand on it.

Junior.

Junior.

All in All, it was a great afternoon’s craic, and the people of Larne are quite happy with the Freemason’s in their midst. The Masonic Lodge-Room has been used for a recent Wedding, and I’m gratefull for the following photograph, showing how the room looked, after being dressed for the occasion.

Larne lodgeroom Dressed for a recent Wedding.

Larne lodgeroom Dressed for a recent Wedding.

And on that Happy Note Brethren, we will bring this posting to a close.

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Update on The 2nd International Summer Workshop.

Frontis from the McClintock Lecture for Athens 2015.

Frontis from the McClintock Lecture for Athens 2015.

Preparations are now well advanced for the Irish Contingent, as we make our final arrangements for the Athens Workshop which commences next Wednesday – 26th August 2015. Once again, we shall take the opportunity to promote interest in the History and origins of Irish Freemasonry, to a gathering of international Masons in Athens between 26th and 31st August 2015. We look forward to building on the success of the First Workshop held in 2014, and it is a testament to the success of that event that our Greek Brethren have had the confidence to hold a further event this year, despite the many difficulties encountered in Greece over the last eight months. As usual, we will keep a record of the occasion with matching photos and will publish same on our return.

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75 Years in Masonry – Very Wor Bro Tommy Frame.

Presentation at Friendly Brothers Lodge No 609 I.C.

Presentation at Friendly Brothers Lodge No 609 I.C.

On the 22nd May 2015, a celebratory evening was held in the Lodgeroom of Friendly Brothers Lodge No 609 I.C. to celebrate the Masonic career of Very Worshipful Brother Tommy Frame. Tommy’s Masonic career began on the 20th June 1940 when he joined St John’s Lodge No 98 I.C. This Lodge used to meets in the Arthur Square Masonic Hall, where it was one of the original 23 Foundation Lodges that subscribed to the building of the new Hall in 1873. Tommy was born in 1917, at a time when the population of Belfast was around 350,000 people. He joined the Craft, aged 23 and has spent the past 75 years as an active Mason. Rt Wor Bro Jack Dunlop, an Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Antrim had the great pleasure of presenting Tommy with his certificate and bar marking 75 years service to Irish Freemasonry.

Presentation to Tommy by Rt Wor Bro Dunlop P.A.G.M.

Presentation to Tommy by Rt Wor Bro Dunlop P.A.G.M.

In his Masonic career, Tommy has witnessed many changes in his city and country. In 1941 the Germans bombed Belfast, and as a result Tommy missed his Lodge Meeting, one of the very few occasions in his 75 year career that he missed a meeting. He served as Master of St John’s Lodge No 98 in 1955, and was delighted to take the chair of his Mother Lodge for another year in the year 2000. In 1977 Tommy served as Senior Deacon in the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim. In the mid 1980’s he became an Honorary Member of Golden Pillar Lodge No 156 I.C. This Lodge began life in the old Beechpark Masonic Hall, on the Oldpark Road, before moving to the new Hall on the Crumlin Road, which opened in 1898. The Lodge has been in the Crumlin Road Hall ever since. He has always had a great interest in the Masonic Charities, having been elected a governor of the Masonic Boys School in 1953 and the Masonic Girls School in 1963. He became vice-president of the Belfast Masonic Widows Fund in 1976. He has been an active member of the Crumlin Road Craft and Royal Arch Classes of Instruction for approximately 65 years and has served with distinction in other branches of the Order. Tommy joined the Friendly Brothers of St John Lodge in 2006, after his Mother Lodge returned their Warrant, and continues to enjoy his Masonry right up the the present time.

A Final View of the Presentation to Very Wor Bro Tommy Frame.

A Final View of the Presentation to Very Wor Bro Tommy Frame.

IU’m sure Tommy might be intereswted in the ode written to commemorate the centenary of his current Lodge in the year 1882, which is still preserved in the old Lodge records of this Lodge still held in the Rosemary Street Museum.

“TRUE TO THE MOTHER LODGE.”
That unity is strength we’re told, and where is finer proof
To show this proverb true ? ‘Neath our own Masonic roof,
With heart and hand whene’er we meet, we meet as friend and brother;
All children of one family ; the dear old Lodge our mother.

CHORUS.
True to your Mother Lodge always be;
Work well together, friends in harmony.
Square your actions day by day where the Compass points the way,
And help a needy brother when distress you see.

In every quarter of the earth does Masonry abound.
The grips, the signs, the passwords, too, in ev’ry land are found.
From deadly peril oftentimes a brother has been freed,
And through the Craft has found a friend in darkest hour of need.

Tho’ mighty nations rise and fall midst warlike strife and crime,
Our glorious Temple stands erect, defying age and time.
‘Twill last until old Father Time his earthly course has run,
And our Grand Master calls the roll, and tells us, “Work is done.”

Our Mother Lodge, famed six-nought-nine, in seventeen-eighty-two
Received its Charter first, to which it always has been true.
This is her first Centenary; none here the next will see;
So I want each brother heartily to say along with me —

CHORUS

True to your Mother Lodge always be;
Work well together, friends in harmony.
Square your actions day by day where Compass points the way,
And help a needy brother when distress you see.

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The Teddy Bear’s Picnic at Larne Masonic Centre.

Teddy Bear's Picnic at Larne Masonic Centre.

Teddy Bear’s Picnic at Larne Masonic Centre.

On Saturday the 23rd May 2015 the Larne and District Masonic Charity Committee organised a Teddy Bear’s Picnic to raise funds for T.L.C. The Committee including Brethren such as Wor Bro Graham Todd, Jock McToal, Jeff McWhirter and others, too numerous to mention spent considerable time and effort getting all their arrangements in place to ensure the smooth running of the event for Members, Family and Guests, on the day.

Tiny Ted and his Wheels.

Tiny Ted and his Wheels.

Back on the 9th February 2015, the local Larne paper – The Larne Times ran a very informative article in their HAVE YOUR SAY section, where The Larne and District Masonic Charity Committee has highlighted its contribution to the community. Beneficiaries have included local groups and national charities which have received cheques range from £500 to £4,000.

A Very Happy Customer.

A Very Happy Customer.

Some of the local charities that benefited include: The Larne Beacon House Club; The Donkey Sanctuary Templepatrick; NI Childrens Hospice; Larne branch of the RNLI; The Hearing Hub (NDCS) Larne branch; Factor 50 (melanoma skin cancer); East Antrim branch of Alzheimer’s Society; Larne branch of St John Ambulance; Roddensvale School (Friends of); Cystic Fybrosis; Pump Aid (provides a well in African village for safe drinking water). A Charity Breakfast in the Masonic Centre, Mill Brae, takes place annually. The proceeds of which go to a local charity or a local branch of a national charity. This year’s designated charity was the “ Stroke Association ” which received £1,000.

Hello, Hello, Hello!

Hello, Hello, Hello!

Brethren in Ballycarry also held an annual charity breakfast on Easter Monday raising £1000 for the Larne branch of the RNLI. Other activities have included bed pushes from Carrickfergus to Larne; a fancy dress sponsored walk from Ballygally to Larne; sponsored cycles, barbecues, ballots and many more.

Graham gets an Early Christmas Present.

Graham gets an Early Christmas Present.

The local charity committee also assists with funding “TLC Teddies” which provides sterile wrapped teddies into every hospital in Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland at a cost of £35,000 per annum. In this way, every child admitted into an Accident and Emergency Department can be given a free Bear compliments of T.L.C. Reports from the Hospital staff confirm just how useful Ted can be in distracting their smaller patients, when needing to avail of the services in A & E. On this occasion, they decided to hold a Teddy Bear’s Picnic, and, on the day, they were very lucky that the weather was excellent – Warm, Dry and Sunny. The local Committee enjoyed active support from the Northern Organising Committee of the Teddies for Loving Care Charity Fund and thanks to the hard work and effort of all concerned some £ 1,700-00 was raised on the day to support the ongoing work of T.L.C.

Having spoken with some of the Committee Members, I know they were delighted with the success of the day, and thanks to the generosity of Wor Bro Graham Todd, you will be able to go to our photo galleries and see some of the memories from that glorious day in the Sun.

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Report from the Tattoo Parlour.

Poster for the Event.

Poster for the Event.

On Friday evening after work, I set off to Belfast, to visit my first Tattoo Studio, and see what all the excitement was about. The Skullduggery Tatu Studio is located halfway up Dublin Road, at number 75 and was quite easily found, due to its distinctive shopfront.

The Skullduggery Tatu Shopfront at 75 Dublin Road.

The Skullduggery Tatu Shopfront at 75 Dublin Road.

I arrived at 8.00pm and once inside I was welcomed by the owner Ms Helen McDonnell and her friendly staff. I was disappointed to learn that I had just missed Wor Bro Alan Earle, who had just left for another engagement. I was offered a selection of refreshments and a few nibbles to fortify me, before I set off for a look around. Most of those present were in their twenties and thirties and were very interested to learn a little about Freemasomnry and its role in Northern Ireland society. Indeed for a group of non Masonic artists, they all had provided works of great interest to anyone interested in symbolism and The Journey of a Freemason through life.

Order of the Orient by Chris Crooks.

Order of the Orient by Chris Crooks.

One thing that was immediately apparent was the high standard of workmanship from all of the artists concerned, who quite clearly have expended a lot of time and effort in the completion of their pieces. One particularly striking piece, entitled “Lesser Lights” by Aoife Fitzgerald stood out in terms of content and quality of workmanship. She used one very interesting quotation from the writings of the late Rt Wor Bro W.L. Wilmshurst which goes as follows – The Lesser Triad is the instrument by which one beholds the Greater. That so small a thing as the eye can behold the expanse of the Heavens and the Finite Mind can contemplate Infinitude.

Lesser Lights by Aoife Fitzgerald.

Lesser Lights by Aoife Fitzgerald.

I’m not sure how Aoife made her choice of topic, but as we in the Grand Lodge of Ireland will know, that our First Grand Master in 1725 was The Earl of Rosse, and that one of his descendants William Parsons, the 3rd Earl would built the largest telescope in the world and make many fascinating astronomical discoveries. It would be a very close friend of Wilmhurst who penned the lines –

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with the golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams…

Here, I refer of course to the poem – He Wishes for the Cloth of Heaven by William Butler Yeats, and in the National Library building in Dublin, down in the basement is the permanent display of Yeats Golden Dawn material including his Apron and other regalia involved in the Golden Dawn. Wilmhurst was one of those great Victorians, a man with an enquiring mind who was not only a Freemason, but was one of the main Founders with Yeats and McGregor Mathers of the whole Golden Dawn organisation in England.

Aoife and Bob discuss her Exhibit.

Aoife and Bob discuss her Exhibit.

Brethren, there are many items of interest to be seen here and I do not intend to give all the details away just yet. The detail in some of the other exhibits is very good, such as

Detail from One of the Exhibits.

Detail from One of the Exhibits.

So, if you have a chance, call in with Helen and her team and have a look at the display. She has done a first class job in raising the question of Freemasonry with her friends and customers and certainly brought an enquiring crowd along to her opening night.

Turn-Out on the First Night.

Turn-Out on the First Night.

In conclusion, for those of you, who are pain resistant, set on what they want and determined, then they may want to consider something like this.

Now There's a Tattoo.

Now There’s a Tattoo.

And, as all of you who asked already know, I’m not that brave.

bob in pain

bob in pain

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The Third Annual Historical Lecture hosted by Harmony Lodge No 555, Cork.

Lodge 555 Historical Lecture.

Lodge 555 Historical Lecture.

We are grateful to The Munster Mason – Wor Bro David J. Butler for keeping us informed on forthcoming events in Munster. On Monday the 25th May 2015, starting at 7.45PM in the Tuckey Street Masonic Hall will be a very special meeting of Harmony Lodge No 555 Cork. There will be a brief meeting to deal with any ongoing business and then they will welcome Wor Bro Mike Neville, Past Provincial Deputy Grand Registrar of Surrey, U.G.L.E. who will present the Third Annual Historical Lecture to the Lodge and Guests. Mike is a detective chief inspector with the London Metropolitan Police where he is head of the Central Forensic Image Team located at New Scotland Yard.

He is also an author, whose book – Sacred Secrets looks in depth at the biblical and historical setting for Freemasonry. On this occasion, Mike will be speaking on the topic of Freemasonry, The Bible and the Christian Faith, which should provide the opportunity for discussion and deliberation as the evening progresses. In the usual Cork manner, there will be a complimentary sit down supper in the magnificent Ground Floor Museum cum Supper Room where all present will enjoy a selection of savories and sweets to conclude their evening.

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The Art of The Masonic Tattoo.

Masonic Tattoo Lodge 545.

Masonic Tattoo Lodge 545.

I’m extremely grateful to the two Maonic Brethren who have drawn my attention to an unusual event, which is being launched tonight at 8.00PM in the Skullduggery Tatu tattoo studio located at 75 Dublin Road, Belfast. Here you will have the opportunity to view a selection of textile based exhibits on the theme of Freemasonry and other Esoteria. The salon owner Ms Helen McDonnell has confirmed that some 13 artists are participating in this exhibition that she hopes to retain in place over the next month ( approximately ). I’m sure some amongst you will have recognised the Lodge number above No 545, which belongs to a Lodge based within the Province of Antrim. I’m very grateful to the Brother concerned for sending me this photograph.

The Tassellated Pavement Tattoo.

The Tassellated Pavement Tattoo.

Tattoo Masonic 01.

Tattoo Masonic 01.

All Seeing Eye Tattoo.

All Seeing Eye Tattoo.

I often recall a story told by the late Rt Wor Bro George Powers, who published in one of his fascinating books the tale of the drowned mariner, whose body was washed ashore in San Fransisco Bay in the 1880’s. His entire body was tattooed from head to foot including a number of Masonic Tattooes. Before his body was finally interred, the skin was removed, and is, if I remember correctly preserved in the scientific of UCLA to the present day. In any event, the thoughts of the Tattooed Man has stuck with since that night some 40 years ago, and I was fascinated to see Dan Brown use the same symbolism in his book – The Lost Symbol.

The Three Great Lights.

The Three Great Lights.

Interesting Phoenix Tattoo.

Interesting Phoenix Tattoo.

The Tattoo Man

The Tattoo Man

The Great Triangle.

The Great Triangle.

So there are some Masonic Tattoo’s for you to consider, and I hope to see a few of you up in the Salon later tonight, between the hours of 8.00 and 10.00PM. Should you of course have a senior moment and decide on the possability of a tattoo for yourselves, then you are on your own. We of course will take no responsibility for such a decision, although we will wish you all good fortune with your new image. In the meantime, we would thank Helen McDonnell and her staff for organising this exhibition and wish her every success in this novel and innovative idea.

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The Social Whirl – Forthcoming Social Events in the next few Weeks.

Hog Roast in Lisburn Masonic Centre.

Hog Roast in Lisburn Masonic Centre.

The Brethren of Maze Masonic Lodge No 356 I.C. will be hosting a Hog Roast and evening of Blue Grass music played by local band “Down and Out”, in the Lisburn Masonic Centre on the evening of the 22nd May 2015, starting at 7.30PM and running till late. If this is the sort of musical evening you canm relate to, then you will be pleased to learn that tickets are available at a cost of £ 15.00 per person, from Jim Grey at the telephone number shown.

Whiteabbey Masonic N.I. Hospice Support Group.

Whiteabbey Masonic N.I. Hospice Support Group.

Whiteabbey Masonic N.I. Hospice Support Group are holding “A Night at the Races” and a late night disco in The Masonic Centre, Whiteabbey on Friday the 22nd May 2015, starting from 7.30PM. Admission to the Hall is free, and food will be available for purchase. It is hoped that you and your friends will support the evening by buying a horse, sponsering a race or betting on the outcomes, as the Brethren concerned try to raise much needed funds to support this very worthwhile charity.

Teddy Bear's Picnic at Larne Masonic Centre.

Teddy Bear’s Picnic at Larne Masonic Centre.

Now we have a popular event for all ages from the very young to those much much older. Larne and District Masonic Charity Committee presents a Teddy Bears Picnic in Larne Masonic Centre on Saturday the 23rd May from 12.00 Noon to 3.00PM. Everyone welcome and the cost per child including a free gift is £ 5.00 each. On site you will find Bouncy Castles, Inflatable Slide, Assault Course, Reptile Show, Kids Disco, Balloon Modelling, Magic Show, Face Painting and Temporary Tattoos. There will be prizes presented for the best Teddy Bear, the best Fancy Dress and d’ont forget your picnic. On sale within the grounds will be a particularly fine range of Dinky Donuts and Marti will be providing a barbeque for those of a peckish nature.

Ulster Scots Night in Portglenone Masonic Lodge No 450.

Ulster Scots Night in Portglenone Masonic Lodge No 450.

Our Brethren in the Entertainment Committee attached to Portglenone Masonic Lodge No 450 I.C. are holding an evening of Ulster Scots music with Bro Willie Drennan and Friends, who will entertain and amuse allcomers from 8.00pm on Saturday the 23rd May 2015. THe event will take place in Portglenone Masonic Hall and tickets will be available at a cost of £ 10.00 per head.

The Provincial Priories Golfing Society Annual Tournament.

The Provincial Priories Golfing Society Annual Tournament.

For all those budding Golf Pros in our midst, the Provincial Priories Golfing Society will hold their annual Golf Tournament on the 26th May 2015 in Killymoon Golf Club, Cookstown. They will be raising funds for the Harold McMaster Taggart Fund, Prostate Cancer and Crohn’s and Cotilis. Competition will be held under stableford rules with various prizes as detailed on the Flyer above. Entrance Fee is £ 30.00 sterling including a meal in the Clubhouse Restaurant. See balance of details above.

Annual Barbeque for Lisburn & District Masonic Charity Committee.

Annual Barbeque for Lisburn & District Masonic Charity Committee.

Once again it is back to Lisburn on the evening of Friday the 29th May 2015 at 8.00pm till late to support the Lisburn and District Masonic Charity Committee, as they present thair annual Steak barbeque in the Belsioze Road, Masonic Centre in Lisburn. On this occasion for your Steak Barbeque, you will have to pay the princely sum of £ 12.50 per head. So why not round up the bride, getting yourselves dickied up amd moosey along to Belsize Road to support this worthy endeavour.

Broomhedge Spuds & Scallions Night.

Broomhedge Spuds & Scallions Night.

Broomhedghe Star of the North Masonic Lodge No 335 I.C. are holding a Spuds an Scallions night in Broomhedge Masonic Hall located at 55 Halfpenny Gate Road, Moira BT67 0HW, on Saturday the 30th May 2015 at 7.00PM. The Worshipful Master’s Charity for 2015 is The Cancer Fund for Children and all profits from the night will go to support this most worthy cause. Entrance costs on the night are set at £ 5.00 per head, but please do not hesitate to add a small donation to support this worthy cause.

A Social Night organised by the James Chambers Lodge No 318.

A Social Night organised by the James Chambers Lodge No 318.

The Social Committee of the James Chambers MBushmills Lodge No 414 present a Charity Evening at Drumadoon. Bushmills Lodge No 414 present a Charity Evening at Drumadoon.[/caption]

The Worshipful Master, Officers and Brethren of Royal Blue Masonic Lodge No 414 Bushmills will be holding a Garden Party at Drumadoon, 236 Frosses Road, Cloughmills on Saturday the 20th June 2015 at 5.30PM. Music will be provided by the Limavady Big Band & Surprise Guests and dancing will continue to Twilight. Cost per head for the Sparkling Wine Reception, Banquet and Vintage Teas will be £ 20.00 per head.

Brethren over the next few weeks our Masonic Brethren throughout the Masonic Province of Antrim have planned a mixture of daytime and evening events, so diverse, that I’m sure you will all find something to take your interest. This is a rare opportunity to support a variety of occasions, enjoy yourself and still help support the wide variety of Charities listed above. So I hope you will all make an effort, to gather up your friends, and come along for a great night’s craic and do some fund raising at the same time. Look forward to seeing some of you at some of these occasions.

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Seventy Years of Freemasonry.

Rt Wor Bro Rodney McCurley. Deputy Grand Master of Ireland.

Rt Wor Bro Rodney McCurley. Deputy Grand Master of Ireland.

Our Rt Wor Deputy Grand Master will be travelling to the Leslie J.Thompson Masonic Lodge No 61, Ballymacarrett for a 7.30pm meeting on Friday the 22nd May 2015. On this occasion RT Wor Bro McCurley will be accompanied by RT Wor Bro Roger Matthews. Provincial Grand Master of Down, and they will both be present to mark the long service of two members of the Lodge. Firstly Wor Bro Tom Ferrett a Past Master of the Lodge and a Past Lodge Secretary with some 25 years of service, will be presented with a seventy year bar to his 50 year service jewel. Wor Bro Ferrett is 95 years old this year. lives in Bangor and still drives in to attend Lodge Meetings in Ballymacarrett. It was back in 1935 when Wor Bro Ferrett joined the Order, in those carefree days between the Wars, and he has lived through the Belfast Blitz, the Second World War, the growth of Belfast in the 1950’s and 60’s and survived over 30 years of civil unrest from the late 1960’s until the 1990’s. Our second presentation will be made to Wor Bro James Bain who will receive his 50 year Star for completion of 50 years service to the Masonic Order. The evening will conclude with tea and sandwiches at the en d of the meeting.

Whilst preparing this short report, I was asked where the Lodge name came from, and I’m pleased to report that the Lodge took the name Leslie J Thompson, at the time of Constitution, as their Constituting Officer was none other than Rt Wor Bro Leslie J. Thompson the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Down. The name has survived and is still in use some 124 years later. One other interesting name associated with the Leslie J. Thompson Lodge is that of Wor Bro Tom Maxwell, who first received the light of Freemasonry in this Lodge in Ballymacarrett. Tom has now retired to the south of France and spends his time attending meetings in Ireland, England and further afield. He is the current Master of the Thomas Harper ( Collectors ) Lodge No 9612 U.G.L.E. and earlier this year he brought a number of Members from Thomas Harper over to Belfast, to visit the Provincial Grand Lodge Museum and to visit an Irish Lodge. The Thomas Harper Lodge is made up of Brethren interested in Masonic collecting. Amongst their membership are Brethren who are members of the Masonic jewel collecting group known as Jewels in the Craft. Other members come from the Masonic Philatelic Society and the Mark Token Collectors Club. Tom also hopes to be over, on Friday evening to enjoy the celebrations.

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A Night with the Clogher Historical Society.

Blue Plaque to Major David Nelson V.C.

Blue Plaque to Major David Nelson V.C.

On a glorious sunny afternoon, I set off, on a road-trip through Tyrone and Armagh until I finally reached the Cahans Presbyterian Church on the outskirts of Monaghan, on the road to Cootehill. The Church was closed a number of years ago and as a consequence, it deteriorated quite severely. Now works are underway trying to bring the building back into use as a community facility. It was here that the Clogher Historical Society organised their meeting, and on arrival, the first item of interest that I spotted was the blue plaque in memory of Major David Nelson. V.C. David was a local boy, born at Darraghlan, Stranooden, Co Monaghan and with his family he attended the Cahans Presbyterian Church. He joined the Royal Field Artillery as a private in 1904, and later transferred to the Royal Horse Artillery. When War started in 1914, he was one of the many Irish soldiers who served in the British Expeditionary Force was promoted to Sergeant of L Battery on the day after War was declared. On the 1st September 1914 whilst serving at Nery in France his battery of six guns came under sustained German attack. Five of the guns were destroyed but Sergeant Nelson and his three men crew kept firing and the accuracy of this remaining gun was such that the Germans suffered serious losses and were forced to retreat. During the battle Sergeant Nelson received a serious shrapnel wound on his right hand side and a less serious wound on the thigh.

The Last Gun at Nery.

The Last Gun at Nery.

Most people have never heard of the village of Nery, but this was one of the many bloody battles that made up the story of “The Retreat from Mons” when the British Army suffered a serious defeat at the hands of vastly superior forces. And as the story of L Battery clearly shows, the Germans did not have it all their own way. Sergeant Nelson was invited to Buckingham Palace where he was presented with his Victoria Cross by King George V himself. He returned to the front and fought on, through most of the major battles of the War. He was steadily promoted, reaching the rank of Major and his final posting to France in 1918 was on an eight week reconnaissance mission. Sadly his Battery Mess was hit by a shell and Major Nelson was seriously wounded. He died the following day from his injuries and his remains were buried at Lillers Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais in France. Its sad to think that here was a man who served right through the horrors of the First World War winning the supreme award for gallantry and then gets killed in the last year of the war. This is the story of a very brave Monaghan Man, whose memorial plaque sits quietly on the wall of an old Church, on a back road to Ballybay.

However, on this particular evening there was a crowded car-park, overflowing into the adjacent road and a good turn-out of locals to hear Wor Bro Gerald Reilly speak on the topic entitled – A Strange Confluence – Bleachers, Presbyterians and Freemasons in Rebellion 1764 – 1797. Our hosts The Clogher Historical Society had laid their arrangements very well, and as we arrived we had the option to peruse their extensive collection of books etc that were available for purchase, and then we could also enjoy a cup of tea and a bun, until the presentation finally begun.

Our Host introducing Bro Reilly.

Our Host introducing Bro Reilly.

As a boy in the year 1948 Gerald Reilly first arrived at Lakeview, Lower Main Street, Ballybay to spend the summer with relatives. This started his interest in the district, which has now culminated in his appearance at the Cahans Church tonight. For the next hour he would regale us with the story of the various Linen families in the area,the Breakey’s, the Jackson’s, the Cunningham’s and particularly the Brunkers of Cootehill who were not only important Bleatchers in the district with several bleach greens, but who were the first to develop the use of diluted sulphuric acid in the bleaching process, and in effect converting a natural process into an industrial process. Most of the Linen Families in the area were Presbyterian and the male members of these families nearly all joined the local Masonic Lodge – number 419 Ballybay. Interestingly, their membership in the local Lodge gave these men the opportunity to relax together, get to know each other and discuss their various business interests in a private and confidential manner. In many ways, the Lodge-room, in Gerald’s view came to act as the local Chamber of Commerce in the Ballybay area.

Bro Reilly accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Armagh.

Bro Reilly accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Armagh.

He then went on to address the birth and growth of the Volunteer movement in Monaghan, with particular focus on the Ballybay district. It was once claimed that each Company of Volunteers should be made up of local Freemasons and that each Masonic Lodge should have its own Volunteer Battalion. Certainly it is correct to claim that there was widespread joint membership between both bodies in the latter half of the 18th century.

An Example of a Volunteer Belt-Plate.

An Example of a Volunteer Belt-Plate.

It is of course important to say, that the Volunteer Movement was of course legal at the time, and arose as the result of the American War of Independance, when large numbers of British Troops were sent out of Ireland to fight in the States. This left the coasts of Ireland virtually undefended, and as a result local Volunteer companies were formed to assist in the defence of the Realm. However, one unexpected result of this development was the politicalisation of the movement to reduce the punitive English tax system on exports from Ireland and to give the ordinary people of Ireland a voice, in a way that they had not previously enjoyed. Indeed, there were some in Ireland, who watched with interest the Revolutions in France and America, and seeing these international events as a possible catalist for similar developments in Ireland. The Volunteers became less influential after the end of the war in America in 1783, and rapidly declined except in Ulster. Whilst volunteering remained of interest in counties Antrim and Down, in other places such as neighbouring County Armagh, interest was in serious decline as was membership. Internal politics too played a role in the Volunteers demise with sharp divisions of opinion regarding political affairs, possibly including “disapproval of the revolutionary and republican sentiments then being so freely expressed”, especially amongst northern circles.

The ultimate demise of the Volunteers occurred during 1793 with the passing of the Gunpowder Act and Convention Act, both of which “effectively killed off Volunteering”, whilst the creation of a militia, followed by the yeomanry, served to deprive the Volunteers of their justification of being a voluntary defence force. The more radical Volunteers went on to join the United Irishmen movement whilst the majority were inclined towards the new Yeomanry movement, which was used to help put down the United Irishmen’s rebellion in 1798. Interestingly some of these United Irishmen and Yeomen had received their military training in the same Volunteer company; for example, the Ballymoney company’s Alexander Gamble became a United Irishman, whilst George Hutcinson, a captain in the company, joined the Yeomanry.

I found Gerald’s presentation to be very interesting in relation to the work he has done in naming names and telling the story of relationships in the Ballybay area. There may need to be more work done to clarify who all took the step from Volunteer to United Irishman, but that will be work for another day. The talk was well received by all present, and I was please to see a goodly number of local Masons out in support of the evening’s activities.

Some of the Visitors and Members in attendance at Cahans Church.

Some of the Visitors and Members in attendance at Cahans Church.

Memorial ti the Fallen in the First World War.

Memorial ti the Fallen in the First World War.

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International Masonic Events – Philotection Society

Our Hosts in Greece - International Masonic Events.

Our Hosts in Greece – International Masonic Events.

Planning is now underway for the Second International Summer School which will, once again be held in Athens from the 26 of August to the 30th August 2015. Our hosts the Philotection Society have set up their 2015 website which can be accessed at HERE. As last year, the event is a unique opportunity for Freemasons around the world, as well as for anyone interested in Freemasonry, and their families to meet, get acquainted and discuss options and opinions on Freemasonry, whilst they enjoy a summer break next to an idyllic beach on the Athena Riviera. THe participants, sharing an interest in the Craft will have the chance, in a casual laid-back atmosphere to communicate, exchange ideas and thoughts, to see old friends and to make new ones.

Last Year's  Delegates enjoying Summer Sun at Cape Sounion.

Last Year’s Delegates enjoying Summer Sun at Cape Sounion.

The workshop, which is not affiliated to any Masonic or Academic body, focuses to host important discussions, to present different perspectives in modern Freemasonry, to offer options for expression, to bridge the fields of tradition and research, to expose participants to new ideas and to foster a transfer of knowledge between all of those in attendance. One should note that the workshop is not in any way a tyled event nor is there going to be any associated tyled meetings.

Intenders Relaxing after a busy day.

Intenders Relaxing after a busy day.

So Brethren, if you are not yet decided on a Summer Break, then please give some thought to joining us all over in Athens.

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Strange Ballybay Bedfellows.

Strange Ballybay Bedfellows 15.05.2015

I received the following e-mail at the end of last week, and would take this opportunity to let you all read the message contained within. It begins with the heading:- Subject: Talk on the Freemasons and the United Irishmen in Cahans Presbyterian Church, Tuesday 12th May at 8pm, all welcome. Then we learn that our hosts for the evening will be Clogher Historical Society who will host a talk on this unusual topic on Tuesday evening. The speaker is Gerald Reilly, a member of the society who spent his childhood summers in Ballybay and has visited several times since. He consulted with the late Peadar Murnane and others in the area before completing an MA thesis last year, on which his talk is based. If you require directions to Cahans Church, please contact the society.

Clogher Historical Society/Cumann Seanchais Chlochair St Macartan’s College Mullaghmurphy Monaghan
047 71984
info@clogherhistory.ie
www.clogherhistory.ie

Benefits of Membership

* a copy of our annual journal
* participation in the society’s events
* advice on research
* free access to all of our back articles, and many other Irish history periodicals online – the Ireland Collection at www.jstor.org
* use of our library and archival material, by appointment

In addition, you will be helping to support the society, which is a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting local history on a cross-border, cross-community basis. The society provides a platform for those who wish to publish their work for the benefit of others.

If I may, I would also add that Gerald Reilly is in fact a Brother who is a member of UGLE, and a well known contributer on the old Masonic Light website. He is one of the authors with Bro Josh Heller of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania who produced a book entitled “The Lodge that never Sleeps” which was one of the first studies on Freemasonry and the Internet. It should be an interesting presentation, and I would encourage any of our viewers who are able to attend to go along and give Bro Gerald some support on the evening.

Old Seal from Ballybay Lodge No 192.

Old Seal from Ballybay Lodge No 192.

If you would like to learn a little about the history of Freemasonry in Ballybay, before you go along on Tuesday, then I invite you to click HERE, where you can read about a visit to Ballybay Lodge back in 2012 with photographs of the Hall and its contents and a short talk on its history. Ballybay is of course, an integral part of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Armagh, where one of its members Rt Wor Bro M.Osborne Steenson is the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Armagh.

Rt Wor Bro M Osbourne Steenson. D.P.G.M. Armagh.

Rt Wor Bro M Osbourne Steenson. D.P.G.M. Armagh.

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Freemasonry and The Lusitania.

Press Report on the Sinking of the RMS Lusitania.

Press Report on the Sinking of the RMS Lusitania.

About 20 kilometres off The Old Head of Kinsale, on the 7th May 1915, the Royal Mail Ship RMS Lusiutania was torpedoed by a German submarine, in what was possibly one of the worst attacks carried out by the German Navy against American,European and British civilians. Some 1198 passangers and crew lost their lives in this tragic event, and the coastline of Southern Ireland around Queenstown was inundated with dead bodies and other detrius being washed ashore from this awful and unexpected attack. The Germans had tried to dissuade passangers from embarking on the ship as their intellegence machine were of the view that a considerable amount of explosives were being transported from America to Britain, in an attempt to help the British War effort. Indeed, initially the Germans were quite delighted to have prevented these war materials reaching the British Isles and they struck a special medal to mark the event.

Sinking of The Lusitania medal

Sinking of The Lusitania medal

However, the British were quick to understand the Propoganda value of this medal, against their version of events in that this had in fact been an attack by an alien power against a Royal Mail Ship carrying civilian passangers including non combatant Americans and ordinary freight, such as foodstuffs, incoming fancy goods from America and other non military materials. So the British produced thousands of these German medals and used them to great effect to alienate American support for the Kaiser, and eventually bring American Forces into the War on the side of the British. It is worth remembering that some 128 American civilians including one of the United States richest men – Mr Albert Vanderbilt lost their lives as a result of this ruthless German attack.

Sinking of the RMS Lusitania

Sinking of the RMS Lusitania

Ireland were not to get off scott free, with the loss of some 140 Irish passangers and crewmen. Our most significent loss was Sir Hugh Lane, the famous Cork born art collector, who left most of his art collections to the people od Dublin, and to this day, his collection of Artworks can be viewed in The Hugh Lane Gallery at the top of O’Connell Street in Dublin. Another well known Irish arts figure to lose his life was the composer Thomas O’Brien Butler. Amongst the international crew employed by Cunard, on the ship were the Ship’s surgeon – James McDermott, another Cork man, and his assistant, a Dr Joseph Garry from County Clare, to name but a couple of the Irish contingent of victims.

Propaganda Stamp on Sinking RMS Lusitania.

Propaganda Stamp on Sinking RMS Lusitania.

As you can see from the selection of Propoganda materials illustrated above the British were able to use these events locally in Ireland to encourage men from all over the Island of Ireland to come forward and join the various Irish Regiments of the British Army and play their part in defeating the Hun. But it was to be in the International Arena, that the British were to be most successful by generating worldwide outrage and odium against the German forces for their perceived wrongdoing.

We have only managed to identify one Freemason on the Lusitania. He was called Peter Smith, and was one of the Master-at-Arms on the ship. Peter Smith was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England, in 1856, the son of Thomas and Ann Smith. The family owned the firm of Potter’s Shipbuilding in Blackston Street, Liverpool, Lancashire. In 1915, he was living with his wife Faith Eaton Smith (née Marlow), whom he married in Liverpool on 24 July 1879, at the family home, 48, Monfa Street, Bootle, Liverpool, Lancashire. He was a prominent Freemason and a member of Trafalgar Lodge, No. 225 based in Liverpool.

He joined the Cunard Steamship Company in the 1880s and at the time of his death, had completed over 30 years of service with the company. By 1915, he was employed as a master at arms in the Deck Department on board the Lusitania, a position which was to all intents and purposes, that of ship’s policeman. On the 12th April 1915, at the Cunard offices at Water Street, Liverpool, he engaged in this rank for the Lusitania’s voyage to New York which was scheduled to leave Princes Landing Stage on the morning of 17 April. His rate of pay was £5-10s-0d., (£5.50p.), £1-10s-0d., (£1.50p.), of which was advanced to him at the time. There were two masters at arms engaged for this voyage, the other one being 46 year old William Williams.

Having successfully completed the liner’s westward voyage, Master at Arms Smith was still serving in the same capacity when the Cunarder left New York after a delayed start just after mid-day on 1st May, to begin her return to Liverpool. Then, on the afternoon of 7th May 1915, the Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-20, off the southern coast of Ireland and only about twelve to fourteen hours away from the safety of her home port.Peter Smith sadly and unfortunately lost his life as a result of this action and as his body was not recovered and identified afterwards, he has no known grave. Consequently, he is commemorated on the Mercantile Marine Memorial to the Missing at Tower Hill, London. He was aged 59 years. Despite being a Freemason, however, his name is not embossed on the bronze roll of honor dedicated to Mersey-side Freemasons lost in the Great War, at the Masonic Hall in Hope Street, Liverpool.

Brethren the tale of the Lusitania is a tragic story with many twists and turns, and was the cause of much heartbreak among’st the families of the passengers and crew. Great confusion still exists over the actual manifest of the ship before she sailed, and the official records of this great ship are still not released, even at today’s date, some one hundred years after the event. There have been commemorations in Cove Harbour, County Cork, and divers have been down at the ship leaving a wreath and a casket with the names of all 1198 dead passanger’s and crew. Our thoughts and Prayers go out to all these troubled souls, as we recall the terrible death that they had to endure.

http://[archiveorg Sinking_of_the_Lusitania width=640 height=480 frameborder=0 webkitallowfullscreen=true mozallowfullscreen=true

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Some Notes on the Lodge CC Visit to Dundalk.

Dundalk Masonic Hall, Jocelyn Street, Dundalk.

Dundalk Masonic Hall, Jocelyn Street, Dundalk.

Hidden away at 23 Joceyln Street, Dundalk is a fascinating old Masonic Hall, which has been a home to Freemasonry in the town for the last one hundred and twenty eight years. We had a good attendance from the local Lodges at our Lodge of Research meeting and were delighted to welcome Very Wor Bro Gilbert T. Irvine, the Provincial Grand Secretary of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Armagh as our Guest of Honour.

Wor Bro Tommy Dowds checks out The Master's Chair.

Wor Bro Tommy Dowds checks out The Master’s Chair.

Meanwhile Wor Bro Harry Thompson checks out the Junior Warden's ornate Chair.

Meanwhile Wor Bro Harry Thompson checks out the Junior Warden’s ornate Chair.

The centrepiece of the day, was the reading of extracts from a comprehensive paper written by the late Wor Bro Larry Conlon FRSAI entitled Eureka Masonic Lodge No 47, Dundalk and its Membership from 1847 – 1974. This fascinating study, will be found amongst the Articles section of this web-site and will repay close study as it clearly sets out the genesis of the Lodge and the individual histories of the many Brethren who were members of the Lodge over its existance. Some of the names are well known from the local aristrocacy and professional classes, and other may well come as a surprise. I must confess that I had not expected to see the name Victor Meldrew amongst the membership registers.

Some of the Brethren present.

Some of the Brethren present.

More of the Brethren present.

More of the Brethren present.

And some More.

And some More.

We were particularly pleased to be joined by Wor Bro Charles Winston, a senior Scottish Freemason intimately involved in the current Oral History Project that is underway in Scotland with the full support and encouragement of The Grand Lodge of Scotland. Simply put Charles and his team have been going round a number of our older Brethren and orally recording their stories about life in general and Freemasonry in particular. Each individual interview takes about an hour and a half and is then given a particular index number and catalogue reference, before it is recorded on DVD and stored in the archives of The Museum and Library Committee of THe Grand Lodge of Scotland. Charles enjoyed his day in Dundalk, and a couple of us returned to The Hilton in Templepatrick to learn a little more about the Oral History project, and how it might eventually be rolled out here in Ireland. WE are hoping to get Charles back over on another occasion to tell us more about this initiative and let us see some of the DVD stories recorded to date.

In Deep Conversation waiting for the Tea.

In Deep Conversation waiting for the Tea.

A View of The Dining Room.

A View of The Dining Room.

All in All Brethren, we enjoyed a great day’s craic with our Brethren in Dundalk. There was a good turn out on the day, an excellent paper was presented, and we enjoyed the food and fellowship of our hosts in Dundalk.

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TLC Team Running in The Belfast Marathon Tomorrow.

TLC Runners in The Belfast Marathon.

TLC Runners in The Belfast Marathon.

Brethren spare a thought to our five worthies who will be running the Belfast Marathon tomorrow, to raise money for Teddies for Loving Care. 26 miles is quite a distance, and I wish them God Speed in their endeavours. I also hope that the weather is kind to them with not too much rain and not too warm. I’m told that one can run roughly 7 miles per hour so the entire venture may take 4 hours. So I hope you will all give them a bit of financial support by donating your money via

Ted the Belfast Marathon Runner._n

Ted the Belfast Marathon Runner._n

text to the TLC APPEAL 2015 BELFAST MARATHON. To donate use Just Text Giving on your mobile by texting your amount to 70070 for example “TLCA14£5” or alternately “TLCA14£10” or “TLCA14£15” – Just pick your own amount. Any problems contact Wor Bro William Somerset on facebook. And best wishes to all concerned for a safe and satisfying day on the roads of Belfast.

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The Wilde Weekend – Enniskillen’s Latest Festival 1st- 4th May 2015.

Oscar in the dress of an Apollo Mason, Oxford.

Oscar in the dress of an Apollo Mason, Oxford.

A new, international, multi-arts festival celebrating the life and times of Irish playwright, essayist and wit Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde, A Wilde Weekend by Lough Ernest, is set to take place in Enniskillen and County Fermanagh over the May Day Bank holiday weekend, 1 – 4 May 2015.

A first of its kind in the world, the Festival is solely dedicated to celebrating Wilde through a full range of Wildean related art forms including prose and poetry, theatre, talks, music, film, literature, domestic and decorative arts and even garden tours.

Funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the new Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, events and performances take place in over 20 spectacular venues across the island town where Wilde spent his formative years as a pupil at Portora Royal School between 1864-1871. Festival venues include the Big Houses of Fermanagh – Castle Coole, Florence Court and Royal Portora School, the Masonic Hall, the Ardhowen Theatre by the lake, the Old Gaol located within the grounds of the South West College, Forthill Park (returned to its old name of Camomile Hill for the Festival) and The Clinton Centre. The fairytale aspect of the town will be animated with flowers, epigrams and shop window decorations.

The Festival also celebrates some of the best talent in Northern Ireland, with actors Adrian Dunbar, Ciaran McMenamin and Stanley Townsend, former Lyric Director David Grant, Paula McFertridge from Kabosh Theatre Company and Festival Associate sculptor Alan Milligan all taking part.

Oscar's Blue Plaque at Portora School.

Oscar’s Blue Plaque at Portora School.

Oscar’s parents William and Jane Wilde decided to send Oscar to Portora Royal School, which in those days was considered to be the Eton of Ireland. Here he would excel at English and Literature. Wilde left Portora with a royal scholarship to read classics at Trinity College, Dublin, from 1871 to 1874,sharing rooms with his older brother Willie Wilde. Trinity, one of the leading classical schools, placed him with scholars such as R. Y. Tyrell, Arthur Palmer, Edward Dowden and his tutor, J. P. Mahaffy who inspired his interest in Greek literature. As a student Wilde worked with Mahaffy on the latter’s book Social Life in Greece. Wilde, despite later reservations, called Mahaffy “my first and best teacher” and “the scholar who showed me how to love Greek things”.

The University Philosophical Society also provided an education, discussing intellectual and artistic subjects such as Rossetti and Swinburne weekly. Wilde quickly became an established member – the members’ suggestion book for 1874 contains two pages of banter (sportingly) mocking Wilde’s emergent aestheticism. He presented a paper entitled “Aesthetic Morality”. At Trinity, Wilde established himself as an outstanding student: he came first in his class in his first year, won a scholarship by competitive examination in his second, and then, in his finals, won the Berkeley Gold Medal, the University’s highest academic award in Greek. He was encouraged to compete for a demyship to Magdalen College, Oxford – which he won easily, having already studied Greek for over nine years. And it was in Oxford that Oscar joined the Apollo Lodge and began his interest in Freemasonry.

The Lodge-Room at Enniskillen.

The Lodge-Room at Enniskillen.

For those interested in The Wilde Experience, there will be a talk in Enniskillen Masonic Hall at 2.00 PM today ( Saturday the 2nd May ) which will be given by Toby Carson, Owen D Edwards and Eibhear Walshe. Then tomorrow, at 12.00 Noon Robert Hewison will give a further talk in the Hall. We hope you will, if you can, go along and take part in these most interesting occasions.

Other highlights of the 4 day Festival include the gilding of Coles momument as The Happy Prince, a story inspired by Enniskillen and its reeded lakes. Oscar Wilde at Home, performed at Florence Court House, will see actors will perform extracts from Wilde’s most popular texts Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Importance of Being Ernest. NI’s Kabosh Theatre Company will be performing Ballad of Reading Gaol, at the Old Gaol in South West College, and Adrian Dunbar will be directing The Decay of Lying in the Morning Room at Castle Coole.

There will be a programme of Wilde Talks given by leading authors, thinkers and academics inspired by Wilde features. Booker Prize winner Alan Hollinghurst will be speaking on his personal library, its importance to him and the books that matter most. Eibhear Walshe, Owen Dudley Edwards and Toby Carson (grandson of the politician Edward Carson) talk about the trial of Oscar Wilde and the role of Edward Carson in this. There will be a specially commissioned lecture written by Will Self in which he responds to Wilde’s The Soul of Man under Socialism, plus Franny Moyle: an illustrated talk on the life of Constance Wilde. There will also be a live video link-up with Ralph Steadman for a studio tour and a discussion on how he came to create the illustrations for Alice in Wonderland and other work.

For classical music enthusiasts the Festival has three fairytale concerts with top International singers – Marcus Farnsworth, winner of Wigmore Hall song competition; Katherine Broderick, a Kathleen Ferrier Award Winner; and a chamber ensemble led by Julius Drake. The last concert of the Festival is also one to look out for – The Strauss Four Last Songs in the Graaan Passionist Monastry; it was a Passionist priest who assisted Wilde in converting to Catholicism on his death bed in Pairs in 1900.

The Wilde Weekend Facebook Page

The Wilde Weekend Facebook Page

www.facebook.com/WildeWeekend” target=”_blank”>

There is an excellent paper on the Masonic history of Oscar Wilde by Wor Bro Yasha Beresiner under the title Oscar Wilde – A University Mason, which can be accessed on the Pietre Stones Review of Freemasonry website, for anyone that wants to read a little more about Oscar and his involvement in Freemasonry.

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Portrush Mason Survives Earthquake in Nepal.

The Officers and Brethren of Union Lodge 1008 Portrush.

The Officers and Brethren of Union Lodge 1008 Portrush.

Wor Bro Barry Torrens, a past master of Union Lodge 1008, Portrush is currently on a trekking holiday in Nepal. He and his party were outside the city of Kathmandu on Saturday, crossing a local river when they were caught up in a 7.8 magnitude earth quake. Wor Bro Torrens was subsequently interviewed by the BBC and informed them that they experienced a tremendous rumbling sensation, which caused great concern to their local guides. It was a very gutteral shake underneath the feet and they were able to observe landslides on the face of a nearby mountain, which swept down the slope, blocking a nearby highway and eventually reaching the far bank of the river.

Wor Bro Barry Torrens in Nepal.

Wor Bro Barry Torrens in Nepal.

Once the party had crossed the river, their guides, using mobile phones quickly learned that two of their number had lost their homes in Kathmandu. The city was a scene of devestation and some 2000 people are believed to have lost their lives in the Kathmandu / Pokhara region, as a result of this quake. I’m sure that you all will be relieved to learn that our Brother has survived this awful event. When asked about his feelings on the Quake, Wor Bro Torrens commented that the Nepali people are a lovely, lovely people and they just don’t have the infastructure to deal with this kind of situation at all.

Map of the Everest Region.

Map of the Everest Region.

We acknowledge the work of the BBC in providing the initial report on the Nepali Earthquake and Bro Paul Davis Photography and THe Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim Newssheet 2013 for the use of the Officers and Members photograph on Union Lodge 1008.

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Saturday 25th April 2015 – A Very Busy Day.

Start the Morning at the Annual Larne Charity Breakfast.

Start the Morning at the Annual Larne Charity Breakfast.

Up early next Saturday and off to the Annual Charity Breakfast in The Larne Masonic Centre, Millbrae in Larne. Here you will be able to enjoy an excellent Ulster Fry and help raise funds for The Stroke Association, another of the very worthwhile local charities, supporting the work of our overstretched Health Service.And whilst you are there, you can enjoy a free mini health blood pressure test, just to set you up for the day. Then, its back to the car, and off to join the members and guests of The Irish Lodge of Research at their stated communication in the Masonic Centre, Jocelyn Street, Dundalk, where we will receive an excellent paper by our late Wor Bro Larry Conlon FRSA, well known and well regarded local historian, on the histories of the various Brethren associated with Eureka Lodge No 47, which used to meet in the Dundalk Hall.

April Circular Lodge CC 2015.

April Circular Lodge CC 2015.

Today Brethren, I would like to set the scene for our forthcoming visit to Dundalk by giving you all some background to Freemasonry in the area.This is the text of a talk that was given a few years ago on a previous visit to the Hall, by the Companions of The Irish Chapter of Research No 222 I.C.

Lodge of Research Crest.

Lodge of Research Crest.

Afternoon Companions

And welcome along this afternoon to the North East corner of Louth, an area which has a fascinating history with many Masonic connections and references. Our story today, starts in the mists of time, in a period when the Red Branch Knights ruled Ulster and amongst their number is the mighty figure of Cuchulain, a legendry warrior known as “The Hound of Ulster. As most of you know, Cuchulain was based in Dun Dealgan, one of the old Irish names for Dundalk and his entire tale is written around this part of North Louth. At the turn of last century Lady Augusta Gregory, in conjunction with and at the inspiration of W.B.Yeats completed a translation and study of Cuchulain which was published in 1902 as “Cuchulain of Muirthemne”.

Companions, this is a fascinating book, telling the entire history of the Hound of Ulster, in great detail. Lady Gregory was one of a select number of people involved not only with the Celtic revival of the time, but also was an active member of The Order of The Golden Dawn, under the stewardship of the poet William Butler Yeats. It is quite possible that this book, like some others, at the time, was intended to be a script for use, in the formation of an Irish Celtic society based in the old castle remains at Lake Isle Innisfree. There is currently an excellent exhibition on in the basement of The National Library in Dublin highlighting The Golden Dawn and its influence on the works of W.B.Yeats.

Yeats of course was never a Freemason, as far as we can find, but he was clearly aware of many of our rituals. Probable as a result of information received from the three Founders of The Golden Dawn. William Robert Woodford, a past Grand Sword Bearer in UGLE, William Wynn Westcott, a crown coroner outside of London, another UGLE Freemason and an elected member of Ars Quatuor Coronati, the World Lodge of Research and Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, Master Mason in Hengist Lodge No 195 UGLE. All three of these men were also very active in the many Masonic side degrees available at the time, especially the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia ( S.R.I.A. ).

The entire Cuchulain story is full of Astronomical and Masonic references, too many to record today. But most importantly the death of Cucuhulain
is exactly similar to the death of Hiram, when it took three attempts to finally kill him. He too was quickly buried, before finally being disinterred and his remains being returned for proper burial at Emain Macha, better known to us all today as Navan Fort just outside the city of Armagh. And as for his killers, they fled southward, were quickly caught and dispatched with the rude justice of the day.

The Senior Warden's Chair Dundalk.

The Seniore Warden’s Chair Dundalk.

We now move our story forward by a thousand years to the time of Sir Bertram de Verdun. Bertram was a Norman Lord given a number of land grants around the modern day town of Dundalk, which back in the 11th century was the northern limits of Norman influence, that area better known today as “The Pale”. As befits a Norman Lord, Sir Bertram founded a number of churches dedicated to “St John the Baptist” and also founded a house for the Cruciferi, an unusual monastic grouping which came to Ireland from the Middle East, via Italy. This particular monastic grouping was dedicated to “St Leonarde” the patron saint of captives and prisoners of war. This may well have been an influencing factor on Sir Bertram, as he prepared to take his men and participate in the Third Crusade to the Holy Land in the late 1180’s. The Cruciferi, were better known locally as the crutched or crossed Friars, a mendicant order, identified by their brown cloaks, staff with a wooden cross on the top. Their more formal name was the “Fratres Cruciferi”.

Despite his great distance from London, Sir Bertram was in fact a loyal subject and good friend to King Richard III The Lionheart. In fact, he seems to have been on good terms with Richard’s father King Henry, accompanying him on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella in Northern Spain. He was in the party accompanying Prince John on his visit to Ireland in 1185 and now in 1189, he took his men at arms and retainers to join with Richard’s army on the long march to Jerusalem. He was to achieve great things on this trip, playing his part, supporting the King in many sieges and skirmishes, before being appointed Governor of St John of Acre. He survived the entire campaign, but sadly was grievously wounded in a skirmish, just before King Richard signed a peace treaty in September 1192. He died a few days later in the coastal city of Jaffa, better known to most of us here as Joppa. His shield, armour and battle banner were returned to one of the family castles at Alton in England, where they can be seen by the many visitors to the nearby Alton Towers Amusement Park.

It is interesting to note that, at around this time, the Knights Templar, another well known body, to some in this room were given extensive lands in and around the Cooley Peninsula. They established a fortified perceptory in the district and one of their first Constables or Castellan was a Knight called Simeon.

One fascinating story, which still survives in local folklore is the tale of Rohesia, the grand daughter of the late Sir Bertram de Verdun. She had been married to Theobald le Butzilen Butler, but he was to die unexpectedly in Poitou in France. At the time of his death, Rohesia had been living in Castle Roche, which is located just a few miles to the north of the town of Dundalk.

She had been trying to modernise the castle and improve its defences and had great difficulty in finding an Architect. So finally she offered her hand in marriage, to the man who could complete the works, and a suitable man came forward. He raised the Castle keep by another floor, modernised the entire building and brought the defences up to 13th century standards. On their wedding night, they retired upstairs to the new Master suite, where Rohesia urged him to look out the large Bedroom window, where he would see all his lands and estates. As he duly did so, she pushed him out the window and he fell to his death in the Courtyard below. Needless to say, this action impressed the local Irish immensely and she was given the Irish name”Rois mhor ni ghairbhe” – which translates as “Rohesia Great Lady of the Rock”.

The Verdun family held the site for many years. Nicholas de Verdun, was in charge defending the Castle and lands from the incursions of Edward Bruce, who made an attempt to become King of Ireland in the years 1315-1318. Edward was finally killed at the Battle of Faughart just outside Dundalk in the year 1318, and his remains were buried on the “Hill of Faughart” on the Cooley Pennisula. Castle Roche would survive for a further 300 years before finally being laid to waste by Cromwell in the year 1641.

But before we leave the Middle Ages, I would like to draw attention to another interesting link between Dundalk and the wider history of Masonic legend. As we all know, Philip the Fair, brought the Papacy to Avignon in 1305 and from there, in conjunction with Pope Clement V, he planned the destruction of the Knights Templar. His plans came to fruition on the 13th October 1307 when the Templars in France were arrested in mass and lodged in the Royal dungeons. Various inquisitions took place and a number of the Knights were found guilty of heresy. Interestingly one local Dundalk man – Richard Fitzralph, Arhbishop of Armagh, was over in Avignon on several occasions immediately after this black period in our history and finally died there in 1360. Fitzralph was a well liked and respected Archbishop, noted for his work in separating the different areas of responsibility between monks and priests. Through his work Priests got primacy for christenings, weddings, funerals and other pastoral duties, whilst the monks were confined to the works required to maintain and grow the influence of the various monasteries throughout the land. So once again Companions, we have another Dundalk man with his hand close to the tiller of Masonic history.

In fact his hand may have been closer than we think, On the 28th June 1355, in Drogheda, Archbishop Fitzralph spoke out against the discrimination being faced by native Irish townspeople on a regular basis. He was particularly incensed that members of the trade and craft guilds in the town of Drogheda were regularly breaking the laws of Charity, by binding themselves on oath to refuse admission to Irishmen. I’m pleased to report that he and others did indeed transform the Irish guilds, so that they became working bodies open to all. And we as Freemasons of Ireland still maintain his principles right up to the present time.

And now Companions, we are moving into the officially recorded history of Freemasonry in the Island of Ireland. Part of this story was well covered by our Excellent King in a paper presented in this very Lodge room to the Irish Lodge of Research in the year 1997. It is my intention to concentrate mainly on the Higher Degrees worked in this area, although I will briefly sketch in the history of the various Craft Lodges associated with both the County of Louth and the Town of Dundalk.

Surprisingly, over the years some fifteen Warrants have been issued to hold Lodges in County Louth. This number includes two Warrants No 482 and 786 issued to hold Lodges in the town of Ardee; One Warrant – number 302 issued to hold a Lodge in Carlingford; five different Warrants – numbered 237, 411, 435, 450 and 469 to hold Lodges in the town of Drogheda; One Warrant – number 297 to hold a Lodge in Drumconra ; and one Warrant – number 934 to hold a Lodge in Dunleer. Dundalk, itself has also been home to five Warrants in its two hundred and fifty year Masonic History. The earliest of the Dundalk Warrants number 222 was issued in either the month of April or November in the year 1751.November 1751. Clearly the original Warrant must have got damaged as a replacement Warrant was issued to the Lodge on the 24th June 1763. The first four names of Brethren from Dundalk, recorded against this Lodge number were Thomas. Brady; Robert McAllister; Pat. Healy and Edward. Higgins, and these names were registered on the 18 June, 1764. A total of 105 brethren are shown as registered up to 11 November,1812. At least one member of Lodge 222 was associated with the Ballymascanlon Rangers, and as you will see Bro John Thompson, was the proud owner of a very nice silver volunteer medal with several pictorial references to Freemasonry on the reverse side.

Medal of the Ballymascanlan Volunteers..

Medal of the Ballymascanlan Volunteers..

There still exists a perfect specimen of engraved G.L. of Ireland Certificate, with G.L. seal intact, issued 21st November, 1787, to John Edmiston, of Lodge No. 222, Dundalk, Co. Louth. Signed by Francis Fetherston, Gd Secy, and countersigned by Thos Corker, Deputy Gd Secy. However, of most interest to us today, is a copy of an entry dated 9th April 1796, posted in the Minutes of St John’s Lodge No 675 Donahue is the following, :-
“A night of Emergency being called on by Br. Henry and Br. Greer, of Dundalk, 222 they were with Br. G. Lemon got the honour of Royal Arch and Sir Knight Templar.”

As far as I can find, this is the earliest reference to the Higher Degrees being given to Dundalk Brethren, and as they had to travel quite a way, they may well have been trying to learn the content of the degree, so that they could then become the lecturers in Dundalk. A further early reference from the 1st July 1796, has been found in the Minute books of Anahilt Union Band which reads as follows :-

“The Temple being duly opened the following Brethren were admitted:- Hugh Fraser, Robert Wilks, Robert Scott, Saml. Denis, Richard McAvoy, Jas Sturrock, John Byrne, William McCrumb, John Todd. Reported at sd. meeting:- William Charlton; Robt. McCully, No. 427; John Sturgeon, 544; William Dewart, 544; Richard McCarriston, 632; John Hill, 477; Richard Peden, 807; Wm. Heyland, 734; Hugh McKay, 682; Wm. Hill 222; John Redmond, 222; Thomas Sheils, 336.

The Temple being duly closed it was unanimously agreed by the Masters of the Band that the next meeting be at Banbridge, under the sanction of Lodge 336, at the hour of 12 o’clock, on the 1st of October, 1796”.

This Warrant was Cancelled by Grand Lodge, as part of a general updating of their Masonic records on the 5th July 1821. At that time Lodges that had been out of communication for five or more years, and who had not been forwarding Dues had their Warrant Cancelled at that time. A second Warrant No 667 was approved in the Minutes of the Grand Lodge meeting of the 5th April 1787. The actual Grand lodge minute reads as follows :-

5 April, 1787 – Ordered a Warrant to Brs. Rev. Jno. Gillian Hawkey and Anthony Sillery, Esq., and the Rev. Andrew Magowan to hold a Lodge in the Town of Dundalk, Co. Louth.

A further Grand Lodge Minute dated the 6th September 1787 reads as follows :-

“6 September, 1787 – Ordered that the Warrant No. 667, granted on the 5th April last to be held in Dundalk be transferred to Kings Count in the County of Cavan and that the name of Nich. Metcalf, Esq., be inserted in
the room of the Rev. Andw. Bryson as Junior Warden”.
Clearly, there is a tale to be told as to why Bros Hawkey and Sillery, dropped Bro Bryson and replaced him with Bro Metcalf Esq. However the truth of the matter is that too much time has passed to clarify matters at the present time.

The 1780’s were a particularly interesting period with the advent of The Volunteer Movement and the development of a prosperous middle class in the town of Dundalk. Shipping was an important activity, which kept the locals well informed in respect of national and international news. Some printing and book binding took place in the town. One interesting book, published in 1780 by Lawrence Dermott, Grand Secretary of The Grand Lodge of The Ancients in London, was a Dundalk edition of his seminal work on Masonic Laws and Constitutions, better known to us all as Ahiman Rezon. Similar editions were printed in Belfast, Cork and of course Dublin, each having some local content at the front of an otherwise standard English edition. Bro Dermott, was an enthusiastic Irish Mason, Past Master of Lodge 26 Dublin, who used his Irish background to great effect, when he completed this work.

A third Warrant was issued by Grand Lodge on the 2nd May 1799 to hold a Lodge in the 1st Regiment of Fencible Light Dragoons, and after its reduction, the Warrant would move to the town of Dundalk in County Louth. This Warrant was issued to Bros James Short, Henry Neill and John Rutherford.

It. was during the Wars of the French Revolution, that Lord Roden, raised the 1st Fencible Light Dragoons in the town of Dundalk, which was later to become known as Lord Roden’s Fox-hunters. This regiment was placed on the Irish Establishment on 21st July.1794, and disbanded 7th October, 1800. The above Warrant was granted to the Earl of Rodens’ 1st Fencible Light Dragoons; when at the time the regiment was deployed in the town of Bandon, in Cork. The Earl of Rodens’ Fencible regiment returned to home to Dundalk in December of 1802, where it was quartered on part of Lord Roden’s Estate, and as a result of their return, our Lodge No. 384 has continued in. the town of Dundalk ever since. The wording of this original Warrant signed by Donoughmore still survives in the Grand Lodge archive, along with another very interesting certificate issued by the Royal Assembly of Knights of the Red Cross. This certificate issued on the 7th of July 1819 and makes reference to the fact that Sir Samuel Jameson was duly installed and dubbed Knight of the Illustrious and Royal Order of Knights of the Red Cross, and that he was at the same time into those magnanimous and glorious orders of Knights of Patmos, Knights of Jerusalem, Ark & Mark Mason, Link & Chain, Jacobs Wrestle and Mother’s Word. The certificate on this imposing document had light blue, black. Dark blue and yellow ribbons threaded along its length and had an impressive wax seal from Dundalk Red Cross Knights, sealing the entire document. We now find a number of interesting references to the Higher Degrees amongst the Minutes of Craft Lodge St John’s No 384 Dundalk. These include ;-

8 May 1822 – “Lodge met on Emergency at which time Brother John Blacklock and Richard Gray had been initiated to that Degree of Excellent, Super-Excellent Royal Arch Mason.”…..

11 August, 1825- “Lodge met on Emergency, at which time Brother Wm. Storey and Brother Dan’s McCraith O’Brennan, passed the Chair Excellent Super-Excellent Royal Arch Masons.”….

Similar meetings held 9 February, 1826; 4 September, 1828; 9 September, 1828; 7 April, 1829; 13 January, 1830; 28 January, 1830; 4 February, 1830, 21 April, 1830, 27 September, 1830,

4 February, 1830 – “We, the following Sir Knights, met on Emergency to lecture on the Order of Knight Templars, and Knights of Malta, Rods, and Jerusalem, for the good of the Order.”…..

10 February, 1830
“Lodge met on Emergency, at which time Br. Wm. Stepheson, Robt. Luke Page, Richard Peete, Edward Harrison, Wm. Russell, James White, James Robt. Eastwood, were initiated to that Sublime Degree of High Knights Templars.”…

11 May, 1830
In a Royal Arch Chapter assembled this night, on Emergency, for the purpose or returning nine names of R.A. Masons, pursuant to the G. Sec’s. request so as to obtain a R.A. Chapter Warrant, the following R.A. Members attended.”…..

It is quite clear from the foregoing that the Brethren of Dundalk were well used with working The Higher Degrees, and had a quite and smooth transition to the authority of Supreme Grand Chapter in 1830. Indeed works on the higher degrees continue as below :-

23 March, 1831 – Lodge met on Emergency – Visited by the following Red Cross Knights, viz…..” there follows a list of seven names ..”when the following High Knights Templar, and Knights of Malta, became Knights of the Red Cross, Mark, Link, and Chain, and Patmos.”…

13 December 1848 – “We, the undersigned, have met, and have found every article in our chest correct, with the exception of the Master, Royal Arch, and Knight Templar Seals, also one of the Senior Deacon’s Jewels”.

24 March, 1849 – “By Order of the W.M., to issue Summonses to bring Brethren forward to become Excellent, Super-Excellent, Royal Arch Masons.”

5 June, 1850 – “A letter was read from Brother Secretary Warren expressing his desire to retire from the duties of his office. Moved by Bro. James Neale Macneill, seconded by W.M. and several other Brethren – “That in accepting Bro. Warren’s resignation, this Lodge feels bound to record in the strongest terms its sense of the deep obligation which as Masons we owe to him for having been mainly instrumental in keeping the Warrant in existence, and preserving the Masonic Light of 384, in the midst of the surrounding darkness, from being wholly extinguished: that the W.M. be requested to convey to Brother Warren the feelings of the Brethren; and that a copy of this resolution be also sent to him.”…..

21 January, 1851 – “Br. Dr. Sidney presented 3 very handsome Ivory Mauls to the Lodge, for which a vote of thanks was passed.”

18 March, 1851 – “The Lodge was called up to the Mark Degree when…….”

21 June, 1852 – “The Lodge was opened on the 1st Degree, called up to the 3rd Degree, after which it was regularly proposed and seconded that certain Brethren be exalted to the R.A. Degree.”

12 September, 1859 – “The Lodge was opened on the 3rd Degree, called up to the Mark Degree, and Bros. Whan and Bloomfield, having been properly prepared, were raised to that Degree.” A similar meeting was held on 1st April 1863.

On the 4th September 1848 at the Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes – Read a Memorial signed by Bro. the Hon. Augustus Jocelyn, Sir John McNeill, Samuel James Morton and several other registered Master Masons praying for a New Warrant to be issued to them to hold a Lodge in Dundalk. The Board recommend a Warrant to be issued to Memorialists. Confirmed. Warrant No 47 was then issued on the 12th October 1848 to the named Brethren in Dundalk, who selected the name “EUREKA” as the name of the Lodge.

The Master's Throne.

The Master’s Throne.

Masonic Funeral – Bro. John Hutcheson, late commander of the “Dundalk” steamer, whose death occurred on the 3rd instant, was, on Thursday, the 7th December 1850 interred, with Masonic honors, in the Church-yard of Dundalk. Mr. Beatty delivered an affecting address to a numerous and respectable concourse of fellow-townsmen, who had assembled to pay the last tribute of respect to the deceased, after which the Brethren, being all assembled around the grave, Bro. James Neale McNeill, W.M. of Lodge 384, of which the deceased was a Member, delivered an appropriate address and lecture, which made a deep and solemn impression on all present. The W.M., in the course of his address stated that, in common with his Brethren of the Lodge, he regretted that they had been unable to appear in full Masonic costume as time did not permit of their obtaining a dispensation from the Grand Lodge for that purpose. The Brethren then separated, having first saluted their departed Brother in the usual Masonic manner.

Now Companions, you may well be interested to learn how our Companions in Dundalk dealt with their festive boards. One interesting report in the Louth Advertiser issued on the 6th January 1852 reads as follows :-

The Brethren of Lodge 384, celebrated their half-yearly festival in honour of their patron, St. John, on Monday last, the 29th ult., it having been postponed from Saturday in order that it might not trench on the Sabbath. After the duties of installing their officers at their Lodge-rooms, Church-hill House, they adjourned to the Assembly Rooms, where a splendid dinner was provided – covers being laid for 60: the viands and wines were
of the choicest description. When the company were seated at dinner, the scene was most striking, from the costly description of the dresses worn by the Brethren, and the rank in life, as well as in Masonry, of the wearers – the gorgeous robes and jewels of the Prince Masons, intermixed with the sable uniform and red cross of the Knight Templar, and the crimson and gold of the Royal Arch, intermingled with the gay blue and silver of the Master Mason.

The Chair was ably filled by the Worshipful Master, Sir John Macneill, supported on the right and left by Brothers the Honorable Captain Jocelyn, Sir John S. Robinson, Doctor Peel, Captain Croker, John Townley, James N. Macneill, P.M.; T.J. Purcell, P.M.; R. Murray, Torquill Macneill, John Murphy, L.S. Deniay, J.W.; James Skimming, R. Godby, S.W.; – McCulloch, Secretary; Captains Bennett and Dunne, H. Nelmes, W.M.; J. Lawless, 7c. 7c. The Stewards, Brothers Dickey, Godbey, Whan, and Caraher were most efficient.

After the usual loyal and charitable toasts had been duly honored and responded to, some excellent songs were rendered by the Brethren, and the company separated at an early hour, delighted at the progress Masonry had made in Dundalk since their last festival, and happy to think that there is at least one hallowed spot, where Irishmen of all classes, creeds, and ranks may rest as one, at the festive as well as at the mystic board, in brotherly love and affection.

The New Masonic Hall, Dundalk, was dedicated for the purposes of Masonry, on Tuesday evening last [16 Aug. 1853] as stated in our paper of Wednesday, according to the forms of the Order, after which the Brethren retired to the Guildhall, where a sumptuous banquet was prepared for them. A letter from His Grace the Duke of Leinster was read, apologising for non-attendance, owing to his having to attend the Royal Agricultural Society Cattle Show at Killarney. Among those present were Sir John Macneil, S.G.W., R.A. Wallace, S.G.D., Sir John L. Robinson Bart., James M. Macneill, John Murphy, Capt. McCreagh, 4th Dragoons, Capt. Croker, amongst many other distinguished Brethren.

The usual Loyal and Masonic toasts were drunk & the brethren separated at an early hour, each delighted with the progress of Masonry in Dundalk & Louth.

As always, Companions, “Tempus Fugit”, our final Dundalk Lodge No 212 was issued on receipt of a memorial from Bros P.T.Logan, Francis S. Morrison and Samuel Whan and eight others praying for a Warrant to establish a Lodge in Dundalk. This memorial was supported by The P.G.L. of Armagh and by Lodges 352,354 and 411. Grand Lodge Minutes of the 4th March 1897 confirmed the issue of Warrant 212. Warrant was dated the 8th March and the name Victoria was adopted for the Lodge, to mark the Diamond Jubilee of her Royal Majesty. However their story is for another day.

Before closing these remarks, I would draw your attention to the various seals illustrated on the front of your document. Of particular interest, is the curious depiction of a Dragoon, used in the early days of the history of 384, when the Warrant was held by Lord Rodon’s 1st Regiment of Fencible Light Dragoons. This is probably the most unusual seal that I can ever recollect seeing and is of course totally illegal as there is neither hand nor trowel in sight.

Brethren, as you can see, Dundalk has a fascinating history, ans the late Wor Bro Conlon has presented a tour de force on the family histories associated with the Eureka Lodge. It will be a fascinating meeting, and we hope that as many of you as possible will come along on the day, to enjoy more of the fascinating history of this place.

Bob Bashford.

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Iveagh Masonic Lodge No 184 on a Trip to Meet the Mayor.

Tiny Ted - Official Spokesman for Teddies with Loving Care.

Tiny Ted – Official Spokesman for Teddies with Loving Care.

Our very first mention of Teddies for Loving Care was in relation to their arrival at the A & E Department of Craigavon Area Hospital, on the 7th September 2013, making them the first Northern A & E Department, to receive their Teddies. Now every Accident and Emergency Department in Ireland have their own supply of bears to distribute to incoming child patients, and we continue to get very positive feedback from Doctors, and other front-line Hospital Staff. It appears that Ted has been very successful in deflecting child patients and preventing them from getting too worried about their immediate medical problems.

Poster for the Fr Brian D'Arcy Visit.

Poster for the Fr Brian D’Arcy Visit.

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Brethren around Ireland began fundraising to meet the £ 37,000 annual costs of funding the scheme. In that time we have had Lodge auctions, raffles, charity runs, barbeques, Lodge collections etc and then in June 2014, along came the Brethren of Iveagh Lodge. Their idea was very novel in that their Secretary proposed to invite Frater Brian D’Arcy along to a Hall where they could sell tickets and have an evening of discussion and chat on the life of this well known and fascinating man. The event proved to be very popular, and a larger venue had to be found to accommodate all of the Brethren, Friends and guests that bought tickets. The event was held in the Jethro Centre in Lurgan and ultimately raised some £ 3,300-00 ( Three Thousand Three Hundred Pounds ) which has now passed on to the coffers of Teddies for Loving Care.

Brethren from Iveagh in The Mayor's Parlour, Craigavon.

Brethren from Iveagh in The Mayor’s Parlour, Craigavon.

Clearly the efforts from Iveagh Lodge No 184 have not passed unnoticed and Bro Colin McKusker, the Mayor of Craigavon very kindly invited a party from Iveagh to come along to his Parlour and mark the magnificent collection lifted in support of the Teddies for Loving Care funds. There was a good turnout of Brethren from the Iveagh Lodge along with Rt Wor Bro Ivan Boreland Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Down and Rt Wor Bro Ian Ritchie of the Banbridge and District Charity Committee.

Wor Bro Trevor Waddell presents a Teddy to Bro Colin McCusker, Mayor of Craigavon.

Wor Bro Trevor Waddell presents a Teddy to Bro Colin McCusker, Mayor of Craigavon.

The Mayor with his Principal Guests.

The Mayor with his Principal Guests.

Brethren, like me, I’m sure you are all watching with interest to see what novel fund-raising ideas will be promoted this year, to keep our funding on track for the year 2015. We need an average of £ 100 per Lodge per year to sustain the fund and I know that the Trustees would like to have some money in reserve in case any other unexpected demands arise. You may be interested to know that in the last couple of days Teddies for Loving Care have had a stall in the Royal Victoria Hospital, which was well supported by members of the General Public using the Hospital. Indeed the whole Teddies initiative, has generated great interest and support from the Public at large, which can only be good for the Order at large.

Little Ted in St Anne's Cathedral Belfast.

Little Ted in St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast.

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Some Thoughts from The Chapter of Research.

Ex Comp Frank Lee - EK Chapter of Research.

Ex Comp Frank Lee – EK Chapter of Research.

We are very grateful to Excellent Companion Frank Lee, the incoming Excellent King of The Irish Chapter of Research No 222 I.C. for his permission to publish his thoughts on the importance and role of The Irish Chapter of Research and a view of some thoughts for the future.

Painting of The Arthur Square Hall at Night.

Painting of The Arthur Square Hall at Night.

Companions, I would take this opportunity to thank you all for entrusting me with the office of Excellent King in this, the Royal Arch Chapter of Research No222 I.C. I may not be an outstanding orator, but fully intend to address you all this afternoon with some of my thoughts on Irish Royal Arch Masonry, and the work that we do here in the Irish Royal Arch Chapter of Research. I’m particularly proud to be in the chair this year as we issue our third collection of Irish Royal Arch papers covering the period 1996 – 2003. And what a fascinating collection it is with some thirty papers written on a range of interesting aspects of the history of Royal Arch Masonry in Ireland. So I hope you will all, spend some time studying these papers and enjoying the memories of our travels, as a chapter during that fascinating period of our history.

Arthur Square Masonic Hall.

Arthur Square Masonic Hall.

Today we meet in the Arthur Square Hall, where so much of my Freemasonry has been focused, over the years. This Hall was initially proposed in 1863, and the foundation stone was finally laid by Sir Charles Lanyon Provincial Deputy Grand Master of Antrim on the 28th June 1868. That event attracted much public interest at the time, and certain streets were closed to traffic so that a formal Masonic Procession could walk from the Ulster Hall to Arthur Square. Balconies were constructed along the way, so that ladies could have a good view. About 10,000 people watched the proceedings, and Masonic visitors attended from Londonderry, Dublin, Portrush, Ballymena, Antrim, Larne, Cargycreevy, Lisburn, Ligoniel, Straid, Glenarm and elsewhere. The Hall was finally completed in 1870 and has given great service to the Freemasons of Belfast over the past 145 years. In more recent times it has been recently renovated. The hall now provides the main accommodation for Masonic Lodges in the city of Belfast.

I hope Companions, that you will all avail of the opportunities this afternoon to have a wander round this magnificent building, visit our various Lodge and Chapter rooms, the Donegal Street Club, and our suite of Dining Rooms on the fourth floor. Here you will find a range of interesting portraits of distinguished Brethren associated with the Hall including :-

James H. Stirling: Provincial Grand Master of Antrim. Initiated in Lodge 36 in 1891. W.M. in 1894. Representative from Grand Lodge of Denmark. Member of Belfast City Council President of N.I. Chamber of Commerce. Chairman of Governors of Belfast Royal Academicals Institution (“Inst.”) Hon. Treasurer of Queens University. Managing Director of York Street Mill. Foundation Member of The Irish Lodge of Research No 200 I.C.

Samuel Leighton: Initiated in Lodge 51. Provincial Grand Organist, Provincial Senior Grand Warden. Trustee of Arthur Square Masonic Hall. Author of Hall History 1863 – 1927 and The History of Freemasonry in Northern Ireland. Foundation Member of The Irish Lodge of Research No 200 I.C. and First Curator and Archivist of the Masonic collections of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim, now held in the Rosemary Street Hall.

Thomas Valentine: Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Antrim 1885 – 1897.

Hugh Doey: Lodge 609. Portrait was presented to the hall by a number of his Brethren in recognition of his life-long labours in the cause of Masonic Charity.

Watercolour Sketch of THe Good Samaritan Window - Sir Robert Baird.

Watercolour Sketch of THe Good Samaritan Window – Sir Robert Baird.

Sir Robert H. Baird: Initiated in Lodge 109. Grand Treasurer of Grand Lodge of Ireland. Rep. to the Grand Lodge of Virginia U.S.A. Managing Director of “Belfast Telegraph” Knighted (K.B.E.) for services during World War 1. Foundation Member of the Irish Lodge of Research No 200 I.C.

William Thomas Braithwaite: Provincial Senior Grand Warden. Specially interested in, and generous to the Charities. Distinguished sportsman and famous rifle shot. Water Commissioner in Belfast. Foundation Member of The Irish Lodge of Research No 200 I.C.

William Redfern Kelly: Grand First Principal of the District Grand Chapter of Antrim. Foundation Member of the Irish Lodge of Research No 200 I.C. Initiated about 1860. Provincial Inner Guard and headed the great procession to the laying of the foundation stone of the hall in 1868. Interested in astronomy, psychical investigation and structural engineering. The portrait was provided in 1914 by a number of Masonic friends to recognise his long and faithful service on behalf of Freemasonry.

Robert J. Hilton: Provincial Deputy Grand Master, Antrim, 1897 – 1916 and previously Provincial Grand Secretary. Was one of the members of the first House Committee of the Arthur Square Hall in 1869 and one of the original Trustees under the 1870 lease. He resigned from his position as deputy Provincial Grand Master due to failing health, and died soon after.

I’m sure most of you will have spotted the common theme in the midst of these portraits which is that quite a number of these distinguished Brethren have been members of The Irish Lodge of Research. Indeed Masonic Research both in the Craft and here in the Chapter are still strongly supported in this building right up to the present time. I have long been of the opinion that Companions should be well informed on our history, artefacts and traditions, as well as developing a competence in the proper performance of our ritual. In my life I began with the study of ritual – how we do things, before I moved on to an interest in research – why we do things. And what an interesting history we have. I am fascinated by the fact that we in Ireland use the Josiah legend of the repair of the Temple of Jerusalem as the basis of our ritual, yet most other Royal Arch Constitutions use the Zerubbabel legend based on the rebuilding of the Temple instead. And this important theme is investigated in some depth in our most recent transactions in important papers by Redfern Kelly and John Heron Lepper, that were originally presented to the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Instruction in 1923, but which are now made available to a wider audience in The Chapter of Research.

Ancient Crown of A High Priest in the Royal Arch Chapter.

Ancient Crown of A High Priest in the Royal Arch Chapter.

Royal Arch Masonry has been an integral part of Irish Freemasonry from our origins, when aspects of our ritual can be found in that section of our earliest Craft ritual known as The Master’s Part. By the 1740’s in Ireland, it had evolved into two separate rituals, as evidenced in the 1743 reports from Youghal when the Royal Arch was carried in the St John’s Day procession through the town of Youghal by two Excellent Masons. Here again in Belfast, we are very fortunate, as we still have a surviving Royal Arch, in the collections in Rosemary Street, that was once carried in similar public processions. And on another shelf in the Rosemary Street collection, we also have surviving examples of the three crowns worn from earliest times by the Excellent King, Chief Scribe and High Priest. Sadly surviving examples of these artefacts are now very rare and restricted to collections in Belfast, Cork and Limerick. It is interesting to note that in those early times, all our degrees were given under the sole authority of our Craft or Blue Warrant. And usually if we find that a Lodge worked the Royal Arch ritual it would also work the Early Grand Encampment degrees. Again in the Rosemary Street collections we have a full set of 18th century Royal Arch officer jewels which includes the Triangle of Lights, more commonly associated with the Early Grand Encampments.

Triangle of Lights amongst Other RAC Officer Jewels.

Triangle of Lights amongst Other RAC Officer Jewels.

One of the great joys of Membership of the Irish Chapter of Research is the opportunity to travel around the Masonic Halls of Ireland, receive papers of their history and have the opportunity to inspect the many curious and unusual Masonic artefacts preserved therein. In my time I have seen the original Baal’s Bridge Square preserved in the St John’s Masonic Centre in Limerick and dated from 1507. Then there was the Canopied Royal Arch Chair, Apron and Jewel that belonged to the Lady Elizabeth Aldsworth that are preserved in the Tuckey Street Hall in Cork. More recently in Coleraine, I had the opportunity to examine the Dominic Heyland Royal Arch officer’s jewels dating from the year 1747, making them possibly the earliest Royal Arch jewels still in existence, anywhere in the world. Then we have the excellent 1749 bannerette preserved in Enniskillen bearing a portrait of the Master in the Royal Arch degree beside the Master in tricorn hat of the Craft or Blue Lodge. Some of our visits to places such as to Donaghadee Masonic Hall or the Hall in Boyle, Co Roscommon took us to rooms filled with Masonic History and time and again, in the most modest of Lodge rooms, we see examples of old jewels, certificates, lodge furniture, Lodge flags and banners, books, paintings and circulars that all contain interesting information on the history of our Craft and Chapter.

The original Baal's Bridge Square in its Victorian Frame.

The original Baal’s Bridge Square in its Victorian Frame.

One of my ambitions this year is to try and encourage more of our Companions to take a greater interest in our history and get them to come along and participate in our Meetings and other historical activities. Should we consider, some Saturday in setting up a tour of the Lodge-rooms in Belfast, including the Rosemary Street museum, ensuring that each Hall has the opportunity to exhibit its most interesting artefacts and then sell tickets to the Brethren and Companions and donate all ticket monies to Teddies for Loving Care or some other needy Masonic charity. I remain convinced that if we can only show our Companions at large, some of the fun and enjoyment we get from our activities as Members of The Royal Arch Chapter of Research, we would have no difficulty in bring new members along.
And here Companions, I would ask you all to play your part, and as you travel around and visit the various chapters and district chapters in our Constitution, when bringing greetings, mention the Chapter of Research and tell them all a little about our organisation, activities and visits. If we put our minds to it, we should all be able to bring in a couple of new members each, and in this way continue to promote the study of Royal Arch Masonry and encourage more new thinking into our Chapter. We, in many ways, are a thermometer on the health of Royal Arch Masonry as a whole, and it is thus important for us to take every opportunity to grow and expand our activities.

Other thoughts that cross my mind, is the possibility of holding a formal dinner in a venue, such as The Reform Club, and use the occasion to again draw attention to our activities. If such a night was held, we should try to encourage as many senior Companions, not yet members of the Chapter, to come along, see what we do and see if it might be of interest to them.

As the year progresses, I intend to raise the issue of making our Most Excellent Grand King the Patron of our Research Chapter and consider the possibility of making his Deputy and Assistant both honorary members of our Chapter of Research.

And finally Companions, I intend to play my part, to the full, to ensure that this year will be memorable, enjoyable and educational to you all, as we travel around in the search for more information on the history of Royal Arch Masonry.

Excellent Companion Frank Lee.- – – Excellent King The Irish Chapter of Research.

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Easter at Redhall Masonic Lodge No 260, Ballycarry.

Redhall Charity Breakfast

Redhall Charity Breakfast

Brethren, I hope that we will see a few of you up, on Easter morning, at the annual Redhall Charity breakfast, held every year in the Ballycarry Masonic Hall located at 41 Island Road, Ballycarry. This is a popular event every year attracting Provincial Officers and other supporters from all arts and parts of County Antrim.Their nominated charity in the R.N.L.I.

What else can I say.

What else can I say.

I enjoy this Breakfast, usually the first of the season and find that its a great way to start off the Easter break. So, as you are heading off for your Easter break, take a runm over to Ballycarry, before you head off to enjoy the nerw walks, bridges and magnificent views of The Gobbins Cliff Walk Islandmagee.

Some of the usual crowd.

Some of the usual crowd.

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Golden Jubilee Certificate.

Grand Lodge of Ireland Golden Jubilee Certificate.

Grand Lodge of Ireland Golden Jubilee Certificate.

We, in the Grand Lodge of Ireland mark long and distinguished service to our Order with the presentation of a Golden Jubilee Certificate on completion of some 50 years service. This is accompanied with a 50 years service star which is usually inscribed with the name and details of the recipient. This Jewel and Certificate marks a significent milestone in the Masonic Career of a Brother and is greatly treasured by its recipients. Further awards follow for Brethren who reach their 60th year of servive, 65th year of service and 70th year of service.

The Fifty Year Star complete with Irish Shamrock.

The Fifty Year Star complete with Irish Shamrock.

In my Mother Lodge Number 280 Moyarget, one of our longest serving Brethren Wor Bro Ernie Shields has now given some 50 years service to our Lodge, the Province of Antrim and the Irish Constitution as a whole. Ernie received his Entered Apprentice degree on the 15th February 1965, and went on to play his part in the life of our Lodge. Sadly, Ernie has not been enjoying the best of health in recent times, so a number of us went to visit him in the Bohill Care Home where we had the great pleasure to present him with his jewel and certificate, and as you can see, he was delighted with same.

Wor Bro Gordon Chestnutt Lodge Almoner and Wor Bro Sam Matthews Director of Ceremonies making the Presentation to Wor Bro Ernie Shields.

Wor Bro Gordon Chestnutt Lodge Almoner and Wor Bro Sam Matthews Director of Ceremonies making the Presentation to Wor Bro Ernie Shields.

Our Most Wor Grand Master and Officers of The Grand Lodge of Ireland recognise the valued contributions of all Brethren such as Bro Shields, and their service is recorded in the quarterly issues of the Grand Lodge News-sheet for all to see. Here in the March 2015 edition of the News-sheet at page 4, you will find the names and Lodge details of some 46 Brethren, who between them, have give just over 2300 years of service to Irish Freemasonry.And in the midst of this list is the name and details of Wor Bro Samuel Ernie Shields.

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Grand Lodge Meeting in Limerick.

GL Limerick

Our annual tour of Ireland begins on the 5th March 2015 when the Grand Lodge of Ireland meet in The South Court Hotel in Raheen, Co Limerick, when the main business of the day will be the Installation of Rt Wor Bro Thomas H Peirce as the new Provincial Grand Master of North Munster. We will of course have all the content and ceremonial associated with The Grand Lodge of Ireland, and I’m sure that the event will, as usual, be well supported. There will be a luncheon in the hotel at 12.30 and anyone wishing to attend can follow the booking arrangements set out on the attached advertisement.

Rt. Wor. Bro  G.  Hugh Milne Outgoing PGM North Munster.

Rt. Wor. Bro G. Hugh Milne Outgoing PGM North Munster.

Brethren it is hard to believe that Rt Wor Bro Hugh Milne has completed his term of office already, as it seems to be only a few years since he took over from Rt Wor Bro Geoffrey G. Ashton, the previous incumbent of this important office. Hugh has been a very active Provincial Grand Master and has developed the St Johns Masonic Centre on Kings Island, Limerick, into one of the best local Masonic collections in Ireland. And who knows, you may be lucky enough to get one of the remaining small number of fascimile Baals Bridge Squares, as a memento of your visit.

The Famous Baals Bridge Square, Limerick.

The Famous Baals Bridge Square, Limerick.

is is a small museum that is well worth a visit, and Rt Wor Bro Hugh will be more than happy to arrange a visit for you, if you are ever down in Limerick.

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Some New Provincial Honour’s at P.G.L. Installation Rosemary Street.

Wor Bros Joe Boyd, Stuart  Leitch and Samuel Rodney at a recent Dinner.

Wor Bros Joe Boyd, Stuart Leitch and Samuel Rodney at a recent Dinner.

In a Masonic Province as large as The Province of Antrim, it can be difficult to acknowledge the service of individual long serving Brethren, who have worked tirelessly in promoting and supporting Freemasonry in their local Lodges and Districts. These Brethren quietly work away in the background and their services are rarely acknowledged formally by Provincial Grand Lodge. Our current Provincial Grand Master, Rt Wor Bro John Dickson has now taken steps to recognise such Brethren officially, and taking into account their advanced years, has decided to acknowledge their years of service by investing such Brethren with the rank of Honorary Past Provincial Grand Stewards. Today two Brethren will become the first recipients of this award and they are Wor Bro Samuel Rodney of Olive Lodge No 467 Doagh and Wor Bro Joseph Boyd of Kilwaughter Lodge No 762 Larne.

A Warm Welcome for Bros Sam / Joe at Kilwaugher Lodge 762.

A Warm Welcome for Bros Sam / Joe at Kilwaugher Lodge 762.

Bros Sam and Joe have known other for many years and are firm friends. I’m sure you will join with me in wishing both of these worthy Brethren continued health and happiness to enjoy their new honour’s as Honorary Past Provincial Grand Stewards.

Time for a Dram.

Time for a Dram.

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How the Victorians dealt with Guests in The Lodge of Israel No 126.

Frontis Picture from Lodge of Israel Welcome Booklet.

Frontis Picture from Lodge of Israel Welcome Booklet.

Our story begins on the 4th December 1865 when the Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes record receipt of a Memorial from R.W. Br. The Revd. Simpson G. Morrison, G.C. and other Brethren, who applied to Grand Lodge for a Warrant to hold a new Lodge in Dublin. Grand Lodge Register shows that Warrant No 126 was issued on the 8th December, 1865 to Revd. Simpson; G. Morrison ( Lodge 245 ), Wor Bro Simon Callisher ( Lodge 500 ), and Wor Bro Maurice Harris ( Lodge 247EC ),to form a new Lodge to be known as The Lodge of Israel No 126.

Bro. J.J. Irwin, P.M., P.K., &c., was initiated in Lodge of Israel No. 126 (Dublin), in 1882, and became W.M. In 1889. In conjunction with Bro. E. Phillips, secretary of 126, and Bro. Thomas Pickering – now of Newcastle-0n-Tyne, and Prov. Grand S.W. For Northumberland (whom Bro. Irwin initiated into Lodge of Israel) – he instituted the famous visit of Newcastle and Tyneside Masons to Dublin in 1891. In connection therewith, and the visit of 1895, he prepared a handsome guide book with illustrations, programme, &c., one which was presented to each brother, by the Lodge of Israel, as a souvenir of the occasion. It is worthy of remark that on both occasions the party were received at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, by soldiers of note – in 1891 by Lord Wolseley, and in 1895 by Lord Roberts – both of these illustrious brethren personally showing the old weapons and other military relics collected in their residence. The visit of 1891 was the forerunner of other exchange visits of brethren to Newcastle, Bristol, and elsewhere, all tending to cement that brotherhood amongst men which all true Masons desire.

Introduction Page from Fraternal Visit of the Brethren from St Nicholas Lodge No 1676EC Newcastle - on-Tyne.

Introduction Page from Fraternal Visit of the Brethren from St Nicholas Lodge No 1676EC Newcastle – on-Tyne.

Detailed Programme for the Visit.

Detailed Programme for the Visit.

Membership of The Lodge of Israel at time of Visit.

Membership of The Lodge of Israel at time of Visit.

The visitors left Newcastle on Tyne at 5.00PM in special reserved carriages from Central Station, Newcastle and began their journey under the care of the North East Railway. Three hours later they arrived at Carlisle, where they changed lines and again in special reserved carriages on the London and North West Railway line, they continued on via Warrington, Chester,until finally they arrived at Holyhead some six hours later at 2.27AM. Here they transferred to the steamer for a further 4 hour crossing to Kingstown Harbour, before travelling for a further 45 minutes by train to Westland-row Station in Dublin. Considering that there were some 28 guests in the party, they then were taken in a virtual fleet of Irish Jaunting Cars to their ultimate destination in the Gresham Hotel, located on Sackville Street, where their rooms awaited them. I’m sure a few of you are already exhausted, just reading this report, but our Brethren from Newcastle were made of stronger stuff, and after a full Irish Breakfast at 8.15AM, they set off again by Jaunting Cars to drive through Dublin via Sackville Street, Westmoreland Street, Nassau Street, Kildare Street, Molesworth Street, Dawson Street, St Stephen’s Green. To assist them in their travels Bro J.J.Irwin had prepared some excellent notes and views of the better known highlights of a visit to Dublin.

christ's church cathedral

christ’s church cathedral

Masonic Girls School.

Masonic Girls School.

Masonic Boys School.

Masonic Boys School.

St Patrick's Cathedral.

St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Other sections in Bro Irwin’s booklet give details on many of the various streets of the city, Glasnevin Botanic Gardens,The Bank of Ireland Headquarters building, which is based in the old Irish Parliment Building, Trinity College, Glasnevin Cemetery with especial mention of the grave of Wor Bro Daniel O’Connell, The Phoenix Park, The Castle, National Gallery, Science and Art Museum and The National Library. Brethren, we too can learn a lot from the quality of this production, which, I think reflects well on Bro Irwin and the members of Lodge of Israel, giving us an insight into the importance that they placed on welcoming and looking after their guests, who had travelled so far to visit them in Dublin. And, as I have said on many occasions, it is amazing what little gems you can find sitting quietly in Collectors Markets and Second Hand bookshops.I found this interesting little article down in Belfast in an Oxfam bookshop and was able to add it to the collection for the small sum of £ 5.00 sterling. Happy Hunting.

Bob

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Cottown Masonic Lodge No 430 I.C. and a Piece of its History.

Cottown Lodge No 430I.C.

On the 2nd March 1918 a group of North Down Farmers, their friends and Brethren met in Bangor Masonic Hall to Constitute Cottown Masonic Lodge No 430 I.C. The ceremony was carried out by the Provincial Grand Master of Down Rt Wor Bro Col R.G.Sharman Crawford MP, supported by the officers of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Down. Bro Dr Robert Lee Moore ( Lodge 170 ) became the Foundation Master supported by James A. MacIntosh (Lodge 746) and Robert P. Mayne (Lodge 675) to form `Cottown Lodge’ in BANGOR, Co. Down.There were nine other Foundation Brethren, eight of whom came from Union Lodge No 746 Bangor, and together they quickly found their feet, and five years later in 1923, they had some 75 members registered to the Lodge.

The Ceremony of Constituting the new Lodge was carried out in an impressive manner by the Provincial Grand Master and Officers the Provincial Grand Master installing W. Bro. Dr. R.L. Moore as Worshipful Master of the Lodge the remaining officers being afterwards installed.The Provincial Grand Master said it was a pleasure for him to attend and Constitute the ‘Cottown’ Lodge called after a place situated so near, and with which his family had been connected for 300 years. With such a good Mason and good man as Bro. Dr. Moore for their first Worshipful Master the Lodge was bound to make a good start which was a great matter in a New Lodge. At present there was no Hall at Cottown but he understood that as soon as this dreadful War was over it was the intention of these brethren to have a Hall there and he would lend that scheme every assistance in his power. It was a great thing to see Freemasonry increasing as no one could foretell what would happen when the War was over. It had stood the test of many Centuries and in his opinion a man was improved by joining the Order. He felt certain the new Lodge would be a great success and a source of strength and credit to the Province. W. Bro. Dr. D.L. Moore thanked the Grand Master for the kind words addressed to members of the New Lodge which was started by farmers in the Cottown district with a few outside friends like himself and all were then Masons which he thought was a good augury of success for the Lodge.

Close-up Cottown Lodge No 430 I.C.

Here Brethren we have a beautiful 9ct and silver Past Master’s jewel dating from 1929, which the members of the Lodge presented to their then Wor Master – Wor Bro James McClelland. The jewel was made locally by William Pollock, a jeweller and silversmith whose shop was located on the Main Street in Bangor. Many years have now passed since this Lodge was Constituted, and it still meets in the Hamilton Road Hall in Bangor right up to the present day. And, if anyone is interested, this jewel is currently under offer on the e-bay site ( item reference 3216 5391 9986 ) with the sale finishing tomorrow the 8th February 2015 @ 19.21 pm.

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Jewels of The Craft visit to Rosemary Street.

Visitation to The Rosemary Street Museum.

Visitation to The Rosemary Street Museum.

Throughout the Irish, English and Scottish Constitutions, there are many Brethren who collect Masonic Jewels, token, circulars, certificates and similar artifacts of Masonic Interest. Back in the year 1990, a number of Masonic Collectors came together at Edgebaston Masonic Centre in Birmingham and formed a new collectors and study Society which was known as J.O.C.T. ( Jewels of the Craft ). This Association grew quickly in numbers and produced a magazine The Diadem filled with short articles, illustrations and details of rare and unusual jewels, their manufacturers and other articles of interest to Masonic collectors. Twice a year they held Swap Meetings in the Edgebastion facilities in Birmingham.

Founders Jewel Thomas Harper Lodge.

Founders Jewel Thomas Harper Lodge.

By the middle of 1995, it became clear that there was support amongst the members of Jewels of the Craft to support the foundation of a new Lodge, comprised of members from Jewels in the Craft. The necessary application was submitted to the Board of General Purposes of U.G.L.E. and Warrant No 9612 was duly issued to the Brethren concerned to hold a new Lodge, to be known as The Thomas Harper Lodge and they were also granted permission to strike a Founder Jewel, based on one of the original jewel designs produced by Thomas Harper in the 18th Century. Anyone seeking further information on Jewels of the Craft and the Thomas Harper Lodge will easily find same on the internet.

Members Jewel - Jewels of the Craft Lodge.

Members Jewel – Jewels of the Craft Lodge.

Since its consecration on the 22nd June 1996, the Lodge has progressed and grown right up to the present day. This year, the Lodge Master, Wor Brother Tom Maxwell, an Irish Mason originally from County Down has become the first Master of the Thomas Harper research Lodge. To mark his installation, he brought a party of members from the Thomas Harper Lodge to Belfast, to attend an Irish Installation, and then on Saturday I opened the Rosemary Street Museum and welcomed the group, who spent a lively couple of hours looking at our many artifacts. They eventually, and reluctantly left to resume their visit to Belfast, before their return to the UK this morning.

Greeting our Visitors.

Greeting our Visitors.

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PGL of Antrim Act of Remembrance.

The Lodge Decorated for Act of Remembrance.

The Lodge Decorated for Act of Remembrance.

Rt Wor Bro John Dickson, Provincial Grand Master of Antrim decided to mark the Hundred’th Anniversary of The Great War by arranging to hold An Act of Remembrance, which was held after a meeting of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim on Monday the 24th November 2014. It was decided to arrange a small historical display and cup of tea in the Ground Floor Dining Areas, between the hours of 7.00 – 8.00pm, for wives and non Masonic visitors, whilst the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting was underway. Our P.G.L. Archivist, also arranged a short video presentation in the Dining Room, which was enjoyed by all present.

Part of The Historical Display.

Part of The Historical Display.

Opening Prayer used by P.G.L. in time of war.

Opening Prayer used by P.G.L. in time of war.

By 8.30pm Brethren and Guests were all in place in The Provincial Grand Lodge Room in Rosemary Street, and proceedings got underway with a comprehensive welcome to all present by Rt Wor Bro John Dickson P.G.M. Then a short parade took place from back to front of The Provincial Grand Lodge Room, as the Colour Party, brought in the Colours and took their rightful position, on the steps of the Dias.

The Colour Party,

The Colour Party,

Bro Billy Thompson, in the uniform of a First World War Squaddie, spent a few moments briefing us all on some of the facts and figures from the Great War. Some 200000 irishmen, north and south Answered the Call to serve King and Country in Foreign Fields. Amongst this number were some 25,000 Irish Volunteers who joined and served in the 10th and 16th Irish Divisions and some 26,000 Ulster Volunteers who served in the 36th Ulster Division. In terms od deaths and injuries in British and Commonwealth soldiers, some 880,000 paid the supreme price and a further 1.5 million volunteers came home suffering from a wide range of injuries. In the Grand Lodge of Ireland, a total of some 5,600 volunteers signed up to fight in The Great War, and of that number some 435 men were killed and a further 363 suffered injury. On the home front, here in The Province of Antrim, some 912 men volunteered for service, of which some 96 men made the supreme sacrifice. One final statistic to record, is that on the 1st July 1916, the First Day of The Battle of the Somme, the 36th Ulster Division suffered some 5104 Casulties, which included some 2069 men who died of their wounds. These Brethren, are the Men who gave their all, so that we can continue to enjoy all the freedoms that we still have today.

Wor Bro Billy Thompson.

Wor Bro Billy Thompson.

The Act of Remembrance continued with Prayers by The Provincial Grand Chaplin, the Hymn “The Lord’s My Shepherd was sung and a Scripture ( Psalm 46 ) was read. The exhortation – They Shall Grow not Old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the Sun and in the Morning We will remember them. Then Wor Bro Morrison played the Last Post.

The Last Post.

The Last Post.

After a Moment’s silence then Reveille was played, followed by a lament on the pipes played by Bro Wright.

Bro Wright, the Piper.

Bro Wright, the Piper.

The wreath of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim was then laid by one of our oldest members( in terms of years of service) Rt Wor Bro David McCauseland and by one of our newest members Bro D. Kelly. Rt Wor Bro Jim Patterson,spoke at length on The Spirit of Comradeship, relating examples
from Flanders in The Great War to Camp Bastion in Afganistan.

The Wreath Laying Party.

The Wreath Laying Party.

Rt Wor Bro Jim Patterson.

Rt Wor Bro Jim Patterson.

A further hymn – O God our Help in Ages Past was sung, then the Kohima Epitaph was read by Bro Kirk – When you go home tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave our today. The Chaplain receited the Benidiction and the evening was brought to a close with a verse of the National Anthem.

Some of the Attendees Present.

Some of the Attendees Present.

The Colour Party and the Chair representitive of the 96 Brethren Killed from the Masonic Province of Antrim.

The Colour Party and the Chair representitive of the 96 Brethren Killed from the Masonic Province of Antrim.

Two of the Main Organisers.

Two of the Main Organisers.

Belfast First World War Poster.

Belfast First World War Poster.

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Presentation to Lodge Hope of Kurrachi No 337 S.C.

Lodge Hope of Kurrachi.

Lodge Hope of Kurrachi.

At the kind invitation of Right Worshipful Master Thomas McGregor, I packed my bags and headed off across the foam to Scotia Minor.I took an early morning flight across to Edinburgh and spent some time strolling around the city. On arrival my first stop was in Georges Street, where I spent an hour in the marvelous museum of The Grand Lodge of Scotland. Here I saw the original of the famous painting – The Inauguration of Robert Burns as Poet Laureate of The Lodge Canongate Kilwinning Edinburgh on the 1st March 1787. This of course is only one of a plethora of fascinating Freemasonic artifacts from around the Scottish Constitution worldwide.One banner, particularly caught my eye was the banner used by The District Grand Lodge of Scottish Freemasonry in North China.

District Grand Lodge of North China.

District Grand Lodge of North China.

So, if you ever find yourself in Edinburgh, with an hour to spend, make your way to 96 George Street, where you will find a fascinating collection of spectacular Masonic artifacts ranging from the Visitor’s Book signed by by Edward Prince of Wales, on his visit to the Hall in December 1924 to a wide ranging collection of Books, Aprons, Certificates, Glassware, Silverware, Paintings, China, Clocks, Medals, Jewels, Tokens and Jetons. I attach a further example of the old brass dial of a Grand Father clock, just to give you an idea of the quality of the materials on view

Clock bears the name Alex Nimmo of Linlithgow Lodge No 48.

Clock bears the name Alex Nimmo of Linlithgow Lodge No 48.

Next port of call was The Scottish National War Memorial, located, right at the upper level of Edinburgh Castle. This is a spectacular and moving venue, which acts as the focus for National Grief in Scotland. Sadly, we in Ireland have no similar facility in Ireland, and as a consequence, our remembrance does not have the same ability to unite our mourning into one homogeneous mass, as in Scotland. One particularly moving aspect of the memorial is the scope of people and activities remembered, that played a part in The Great War. So one of the aspects remembered was the sacrifices of Canaries and Mice – The Tunnellers’ Friends – These small creatures were used by miners to give early warning if the air was becoming unfit to breath. On the individual memorial to the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, we find the Gaelic Inscription – CUIMHNICHIBC . NA . SUINN. NACH . MAIREANN . MAIRIDU . AN . CLIU BEO . GU . BRATH which loosely translated as Remember the Heroes who are no more : Their renown will live for evermore. Again Brethren, this should be another visit, if you get the opportunity. It is rare to find a building where Proportion, Light and Shade, Dignity and Appropriateness to Purpose come together so successfully to provide the most fitting memorial to the sacrafices of a people in The Great War.

Entrance to The Scottish National War Memorial,

Entrance to The Scottish National War Memorial,

By now I was starting to get a trifle peckish, so thankfully a suitable venue was easily found at 352 Boswells Court.

Treat Yourself at The Witchery

Treat Yourself at The Witchery

Now, it was time to make my way out to Rosyth, to the comfort of my hotel, for a rest and the opportunity to freshen up, before my lift arrived to take me to the Masonic Hall in Rosyth. My taxi driver, one of my oldest friends in Lodge Hope was Past Master Jim Swan, who arrived dead on time and took me to the Lodge.

Wor Bro Jim Swan Lodge Hope.

Wor Bro Jim Swan Lodge Hope.

Rt Wor Master Thomas McGregor .

Rt Wor Master Thomas McGregor .

I am very grateful to the Brethren of Hope for their invitation to present a Paper, and it reminded me of my first visit in 1994 to present a paper at one of their first symposiums. We have had several visits since and made many good friends including Bill Howie, John Wade, John Acaster, John Belton, Alan Turton, and the late Neville Barker Cryer. There have been many changes from those early days, not all for the better, yet it remains one of those places that you can walk straight back into and its just like you have only been away for a few days.

Diversity of Regalia.

Diversity of Regalia.

My presentation, by powerpoint was a review of communication within a research Lodge, and looked at how we have traditionally presented our researches, before going on to consider the many electronic options now available to us in the 21st century. I then went on to detail the Indiana Initiative, the seminal work carried out by Wor Bro Albert McClelland OSM and his helpers in presenting a series of 46 one hour dvd presentations on the world wide web during the year 2011. Interestingly, and fittingly the first Presentation was made by Wor Bro John Wade, a past master of Lodge Hope of Kurrachi, and the second presentation was made by myself on behalf of Irish Freemasonry. Anyone interested in learning more about these presentations will find some of them in our video section, on the main www.irishfreemasonry.com site.

Some of our Attendees.

Some of our Attendees.

Brethren, we brought the evening to a close with some thoughts on the way forward. I suggested that we, as Research Lodges in Ireland Scotland and England should take steps to work much closer together and use our combined strength to promote Freemasonry in a much stronger way. We have many excellent Masonic Researchers in our midst, and we should be making much more of this pool of talent in the three home Constitutions, tp provide interest and diversity to our members with an input of fresh research from across the United Kingdom and Ireland. One way this can be developed is by holding an annual meeting of representatives from the Research Lodges in England, Ireland and Scotland, hosted by one Constitution at a time, when they can showcase their ongoing works to all present.The next year another Constitution can take up the baton and so on. I certainly seemed to hit a chord with this proposal, which along with other aspects of the Presentation were discussed in depth in the subsequent Question and Answer session at the end of the evening. It was a very enjoyable night, and my hosts looked after me very well, as they always do. Bro Swan collected me on the morning and made sure that I made it to the airfield in time, and I’ve now returned to the home sod, ready for the forthcoming Act of Remembrance in the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim headquarters in Rosemary Street, Belfast, at 8.00PM on Monday the 24th November 2014. P.G.L. have a short meeting starting at 7.00pm on the night, and all Brethren and their spouses are welcome. We have a special video presentation prepared before the servie begins and there will be a display of First World WAr and Masonic material, including a few First World War recruitment posters on display, on the night. Tea and biscuits will be provided, and we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible, as The Provincial Grand Lodge mark the centenary of the start of The Great War, which had a colossal effect on the history of the 20th Century.

The Lodge Memorial in Rosyth.

The Lodge Memorial in Rosyth.

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The Tenth Annual Act of Remembrance at Fort Dunree.

A Stormy Day at Fort Dunree.

A Stormy Day at Fort Dunree.

On a wet and blustery day at the start of November, a few of us set off for the scenic drive up through Fanad and Buncrana, out the Inishowen Penisula to Fort Dunree. The Fort sits on a headland overlooking Lough Swilly, and the site has been used as a fortress for many, many years. It guards the mouth of the deep water anchorage in Lough Swilly, which for a period during the First World War became home to the British Grand Fleet, after they withdrew from Scapa Flow in the Orkneys. This was an eventful period in the history of Inishowen with some one hundred capital ships, support tenders, torpedo boats and lighters, based within the anchorage in and around Buncrana. As a result of all this military activity, Sunbeam Masonic Lodge No 191 Buncrana, for the short period of The Great War, became one of the largest Lodges in The Irish Constitution. It sent one hundred and four Brethren off to serve in the War, and unusually they all returned safely at the end of the War. Most of these members, were English, Scottish and others, based with the fleet in the Swilly, and played an active part in Lodge activities between 1915 and 1918. Sadly, at the end of the War, as these Brethren returned to their home ports, the Lodge suddenly suffered a substantive drop in membership, which caused it some difficulties in the short term in the months ahead.

P.J.Hallinan Chairman of Inishowen Friends of Messines.

P.J.Hallinan Chairman of Inishowen Friends of Messines.

The afternoon began with a warm welcome from P.J.Hallinan, the chairman if the Inishowen Friends of Messines and was followed by the singing of the hymn “Abide with Me” Then John McCarter, Chairman of the Fort Dunree Military Museum gave a short address on the topic of Remembrance, as it applied in Inishowen. Other readings were made and then the Last Post was played.

Standards Salute.

Standards Salute.

Laurence Binyon’s moving exortation ” They Shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old” was recited and then the wreath laying ceremony took place, as Captain Billy Doherty R.N. Ret played a lament on his bag-pipes.

The Irish Freemasonry Wreath.

The Irish Freemasonry Wreath.

This was followed by a minutes silence, and then the Island of Ireland Peace Pledge was read. This was followed by the Kohima prayer ” When you go home. . . . ”
and then Reville was played. Thanks were given by John McCarter to all present for coming out in such a stormy day and supporting this event, when so many other similar events were taking place elsewhere. Then we all were given an invitation to join with John, PJ and the rest of the team up in the Saldhana Suite, for some refreshments and the launch of a commemorative book entitled “Participant Reflections”, a record of the thought and emotions of one group of twenty six participants who took part in a Battlefields Tour visit to Belgium and Northern France, in May 2013. Each participant was asked to keep a diary of their experiences and this new book, come from a selection of the diary entries recorded during their visit.

Book Launch - Participant Reflections.

Book Launch – Participant Reflections.

So having arrived in the Saldhana Suite, we enjoyed a musical interlude provided by Tracy McRory and Richard Laird, two very talented local musicians, who gave us an excellent set including the Ballad of John Conlon.

Tracy McRory and Richard Laird who provided the music.

Tracy McRory and Richard Laird who provided the music.

John McCarter and PJ Hallinan made the introductions to the Book Launch and after quoting a few short extracts introduced Col Declan O’Carroll Rtd, a well known local historian, and past chairman of the Donegal Historical Society, who had the pleasant duty of launching this fascinating new study on the battlefield visit, and the reactions of the participants to the stories that they heard and the things that they saw.

Col. Declan O'Carroll Rtd.

Col. Declan O’Carroll Rtd.

Brethren, the book is well produced, brightly illustrated and nicely presented. Each individual entry is credited to its author and together they give an indepth overview of the entire experience of a visit to the Somme. Copies of the book are available at a cost of £ 5.00 Sterling and can be purchased on site,at the museum shop in Fort Dunree. Anyone wanting more information, should contact www.dunree.pro.ie for further details. John McCarter thanked everyone for supporting the afternoon’s activities and before closing the formal part of the proceedings, he presented two OCN Certificates to those who had successfully completed the course.

Two Participants with their OCN Certificates.

Two Participants with their OCN Certificates.

This concluded the formal part of the day, and we all crossed to the Kitchen area for tea and nibbles, before resuming our seats to catch up, with the many old friends present. Or if you wanted, you could watch the photo story of the 2013 Hands of History project which was being screened in the background, as a record of the many activities recorded on the battlefields tour.

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Annual Cary & Dunluce Charity Breakfast.

The Welcolming Committee.

The Welcolming Committee.

The Cary and Dunluce Masonic Charity Committee came this year to the Causeway Hotel, at The Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills to host their annual Charity Breakfast, which was well attended with Brethren and their families present from all across the Province of Antrim. The morning started around 7.00AM for the members of Committee and their helpers, as they got set up for the official 7.30AM start of the event.

The Organising Committee.

The Organising Committee.

An excellent breakfast was served, and the staff were kept busy right through to the 10.00AM close. Raffle tickets were sold throughout the morning and the draw for the raffle was held around 9.45AM, when the chairman of the organising committee – Wor Bro Gordon Chestnutt, acted as compare.

Chairman of The Cary & Dunluce Charity Committee.

Chairman of The Cary & Dunluce Charity Committee.

The two nominated Charities this year were the N.I. Branch of The British Heart Foundation and the North Coast Branch of Autism N.I. Preliminary indications are that a sum, in the region of £ 2,800.00 was lifted on the day. There are usually other donations received by the Committee, from people unable to attend, which will also be added to the aforementioned figure, before the final, official total is announced. One interesting Ballot prize on the day, was a voucher for a new tie won by Rt Wor Bro Jack O’ Dunlop.

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Centenary of Ballycastle Royal Arch Chapter No 89.

Slicing the Centenary Cake.

Slicing the Centenary Cake.

On the evening of Friday the 24th November 2014, a group of Royal Arch Masons, wives and friends came together in the Dining Room at Ballycastle Golf Club to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Royal Arch Chapter 89 Ballycastle, with a Centenary Banquet. Amongst our number were Most Excellent Companion Jon McA Pollock the District Grand King of the District Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Antrim accompanied by Right Excellent Companion James Lynch, one of the District Assistant Grand King’s of Antrim. The Grand Chapter of Instruction was represented by Excellent Companion James McGookin and the Royal Arch Chapter of Research was represented by Excellent Companion Robert T.Bashford.

Excellent King and his Distinguished Guests.

Excellent King and his Distinguished Guests.

We know that Chapter 89 came into being on the proposal of Wor Brother Hugh A. McAlister, who began the process on the 9th February 1914 at a meeting of True Blue Lodge No 89, Ballycastle. Bro McAlister was a senior member of Lodge 89, and took all the necessary steps to guide his new Chapter into existence, with the support of his fellow Lodge members. His application was supported by Brothers and Companion’s Henry French, William J. Glass, Robert Adams, James Glass, Francis A.Kane, Arthur Hunter, Frank Cox and John B. Aiken. On the 6th May 1914, at a meeting of Supreme Grand Chapter, the Supreme Grand King at the time the Right Honorable and Most Excellent Companion The Lord Muskerry was pleased to grant a Royal Arch Warrant No 89 to Ballycastle appointing Hugh McAlister as First Excellent King Henry French and William Glass the two members of his Council. The family McAlister is still active in Royal Arch in Ballycastle with Companions John and James being the current family representatives.

Early Ballycastle Oilskin Floor Cloth

Early Ballycastle Oilskin Floor Cloth

One interesting artifact in the care of the Museum of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim, based in Rosemary Street, Belfast is the original floor cloth from Lodge 1002,the fore-runner to the current day True Blue Lodge No 89. Our Grand Lodge records shew that Warrant No 1002 was issued to the town of Ballycastle on the 4th June 1812 to Bros Dan McMullan, James McIlmoyle and Hugh McCormick. A mere five years later Bros James Woodside, John Mullan and Charles Frazer memorialised Grand Lodge to Return Warrant No 1002 and pay the fee for re-issue of a Warrant with a lower number, which would give the Lodge a better position in the Bi-Annual Church Parades. Grand Lodge acceded to this request and issued the Ballycatle Brethren with Warrant No 89 in lieu of 1002. Shortly there after, they adopted the name True Blue for their Lodge. One interesting letter preserved in the Lodge file, dated 1875, recorded an attempt to establish a Masonic Lodge on the island of Rathlin :-

26 Oct. 1875 – “You are probably aware that No. 19 of this town has not been working for some years past, the Members with few exceptions being either dead or left the Country. Bro. Robt. Gage, owner of Rathlin Island who is a Registered Member of the above Lodge is desirous of obtaining a transfer to the Island of this number if the case and desires me to write you and ascertain if it is possible he can get his wishes accomplished and how to proceed in the matter. Will the application be made in the usual way (i.e. by petition or Memorial?) As there are a number of Masons residing in Rathlin, members of No. 89 and no mode of communication with the Mainland except by open boat their attendance at the Lodge in the Winter months is very uncertain and it would be a great boon to them to get a Lodge established on the Island – please let me hear from you on this matter, how it is to be obtained etc. Yours fraternally, W.B. Black, Secretary No. 89 True Blues. [Seal of Lodge No. 89 attached]

However, to return to the Royal Arch history of the Chapter, it is recorded in their books that on the 26th April 1915 Companion John J. Douglas presented the Chapter with a beautiful chair for the use of the Chapter’s annually elected M.E.K. The chair is made of Oak, upholstered in red plush and is beautifully ornamented with a hand carved scroll and veiled symbolism of delicate conception.

Carved M.E.K. Chair.

Carved M.E.K. Chair.

The Chair, exactly as described, is still in use right up to the present day. And it should also be noted that Companion John Douglas, assisted by his father Companion James Douglas went on to make two more chairs for the High Priest and Chief Scribe., as well as other items of furniture for the Chapter.

High Priest's Chair.

High Priest’s Chair.

And Other Furniture.

And Other Furniture.

Companions, the Banquet was excellent and enjoyed by all present. The Most Excellent District Grand King congratulated the Chapter on reaching this important milestone and wished it continued success in the years ahead. And then we had the great pleasure of a humorous interlude with the Excellent King of Chapter 89. I refer of course to Excellent Companion Leonard Quigg who entertained all present with a perceptive look into the use of Ulster Scots in the day to day conversations in North Antrim. This interlude was well received and kept all present in stitches, as he put the light of reason onto some of our favourite sayings of Old. The Centenary Cake was brought up to the Dignitaries table, where it was cut by excellent Companion Quigg, and ably assisted by Companion James Mills, the newest member of the Chapter.

Cutting the Cake.

Cutting the Cake.

Chapter 89 Officer, Members and Visitors.

Chapter 89 Officer, Members and Visitors.

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Annual Armistice Remembrance Commemoration Fort Dunree.

Mixed Media Portrait of Fort Dunree.

Mixed Media Portrait of Fort Dunree.

On Saturday the 1st November at 2.30PM, the Annual Armistice Remembrance Commemoration will take place in the Peace and Memorial Garden inside the walls of Fort Dunree. This annual Act of Remembrance has taken place over the last few years to commemorate the men and women of Innishowen who lost their lives in the Great War. It is usually a relaxed occasion, where all present have the opportunity to participate, and play a part in marking the many sacrafices made by the people of Innishowen and Donegal in the 1914 – 1918 War.

Flags Flying in Unity.

Flags Flying in Unity.

After the wreath laying has concluded, and the participants file back out of The Peace Garden, they will then make their way to the Saldhana Suite where Colonel Declan O’Carroll Retired will launch a new book entitled participant Reflections” being a collection of reminiscences written after participation in the Donegal Council “Hands of History” study trip in 2013, to the World War One Battlefields, where he led a group of local Donegal people through the experiences and horrors of Trench War-Fare. He took as his theme the strands of Remembrance, Reconciliation, Renaissance, acheived from our Shared History.

The Annual Messines Parade in Derry / Londonderry.

The Annual Messines Parade in Derry / Londonderry.

In many parts of Northern Ireland, sadly flags are seen as devisive, and are used to establish boundaries. In Derry / Donegal a few steps have been taken to make flags into an inclusive symbols, which can be flown
in either the North or the South. This is only one of the many strands of community building, that is being slowly developed in Dunree, The Mayo Peace Park and in nother similar venues throughout the Island of Ireland. Some may say that they are only small steps,but they are steps that have been taken and they
open up the possability of a permanent change in the future, when we can all feel at ease, regardless of the flag flapping frantically overhead.

We should commend all of those hard working people who have put so much effort into the steps taken so far, and can only hope that their endeavours continue to meet with further ongoing success and acceptance. So Brethren, if you have any interest in our combined military history, I would highly recommend that you bring your family along on Saturday the 1st November and allow them to participate in a small piece of our history, and enjoy the theatre and craic of the whole occasion, carried out in true Donegal style.

The Irish Army Collections on display in the Saldhana Suite, Dunree.

The Irish Army Collections on display in the Saldhana Suite, Dunree.

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Shamrock Masonic Lodge No 101 I.C., Athlone.

ShamrockLodge101front

ShamrockLodge101front

Down in the center of Ireland, in the county of Westmeath, at a major crossing place on the mighty Shannon River, grew the town of Athlone. As it was the only ford in the locality it quickly became an important military location with Castle, barracks walls etc. Slowly but surely the town grew around it and by the year 1739 a medium sized town had developed here. 1739 was the year that The Grand Lodge of Ireland issued Warrant Number 101. This Warrant was issued so long ago that Grand Lodge records do not preserve the names of the Grantees, but three names that do come down to us are the names of Bros Edward Walsh, James Glynn and Miles McDonald, who were the first surviving names ( 1758) in our archives.

In 1825, we find the following letter in the archives of The Grand Lodge of Ireland. “Lodge Room 101 – Sir and Brother, Enclosed I send you One pound Six shillings and Eight pence, being for one years dues, and Five shillings for an Hundred of Summonses which you will be good enough to send to Messrs. G. Adams & Co. , 118 Chapel Street, directed for me, along with the receipt, the following are the list of Officers for the present half-year :- W.M., Br. William Foster; S.W., Br. Thos. Moore; J.W., Br. Joseph A Wade; S.D., Br. William Boswell; J.D., Br. Robt. Jameson; Treas., Br. Mich. Coffey; Secty., Br. Denis Kelly; Tyler, Br. Thos. Johnston. Your affectionate Brother, Denis Kelly, Secretary.”

Visitors on a Recent European Heritage Open Day.

Visitors on a Recent European Heritage Open Day.

A total of 141 Brethren were registered on the Grand Lodge books by Warrant 101 up to 24 June, 1857. Amongst these names, we find the name of Brother Francis Herbert, a Lodge member and a serving soldier “Killed at Balaclava Oct. 1854.”

One useful source for Masonic Researchers are the Annual Reports of The Grand Lodge of Ireland. In the Report for 1939, we find the following notes on Lodge No. 101 – P.G.L., SOUTH CONNAUGHT. R.W. Dr. J.B. Burgess writes:— “The outstanding event in this Province, during the year under review, was the Bicentenary meeting of Shamrock Lodge, No. 101. A paper was read giving the salient features in the history of the Lodge for the past two hundred years. Unfortunately all the old records have been lost, and strange to relate, until a few years ago its existence in the eighteenth century was completely forgotten locally. The Lodge gratefully acknowledges the help given by V.W. Brother Crossle, in bringing to light a considerable amount of information concerning the early history. “The Lodge also held a special Service in St. Mary’s Church, Athlone, on May 21st, which was well attended, the preacher being the Very Rev. The Dean of St. Patrick’s.

Invitation to the 275th Anniversary Dinner.

Invitation to the 275th Anniversary Dinner.

Brethren, our Brethren in Shamrock Masonic Lodge No 101 Athlone plan to celebrate their 275 years of Freemasonry, in the town of Athlone, with a banquet in the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone on Friday the 21st November 2014. RT Wor Bro Basil Fenton Provincial Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of South Connaught and some of his Officers and wives from Provincial Grand Lodge, will be in attendance on the evening. AS this is such a major mile stone for the Lodge they have decided to allow other visiting Masons and their wives / girlfriends to come along and participate in this historic occasion at a cost of 30 euros per person for the dinner and music. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Nigel on 086 215 0759 or the Lodge Secretary
John on 090 645 4015. It should be a historical occasion, with excellent fun, good companionship, comfort and relaxation in The Sheratan Hotel, who
I’m sure will be delighted to offer you high quality reasonably priced accommodation foe either the night or the week-end. Athlone is itself an attractive, interesting and historical town with many places of interest and much to see. In this category, I would include the Harry Clark windows in the local Catholic Cathedral. So Brethren, give some thought to treating your better half to a short break, before the Christmas season arrives.

A Visitors Map of Athlone.

A Visitors Map of Athlone.

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North Derry Masonic Charity Committee – Church Service

War Memorial St Mary's Church Macosquin.

War Memorial St Mary’s Church Macosquin.

On Sunday the 26th October 2014, the Brethren of the Masonic Province of Londonderry and Donegal, and others from further afield will congregate together at 3.00 PM in the church hall of St Mary’s Church of Ireland church Macosquin, in the parish of Camus Juxta Bann, on the outskirts of Coleraine in County Londonderry. Here, they will join with their Provincial Grand Master, and his officers, ast 3.30PM on the short walk and participate in a short church service which will provide an opportunity to contribute and support our Masonic Charities. At the end of the service, there will be some tea and biscuits in the Church Hall. Everybody welcome.

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Tuckey Street Cork – A Feast of Masonic Research.

One of the Masonic Bowls in the Museum.

One of the Masonic Bowls in the Museum.

Our morning began in Tuckey Street at 9.45AM, when we all assembled in the ground floor Dining Room for Registration, before heading upstairs into the magnificent Lodge Room, where most of the day’s activities would take place. I had the privilege of acting as Chairman in this early part of the day, and after the usual housekeeping announcements, I launched straight in with a short introduction to Wor Bro John Belton, a member of The Manchester Association of Masonic Research and elected member of Q.C. who had come over especially to act as facilitator in an open house discussion on the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats facing The Irish Lodge of Research as it begins its second century of continued progress and development.

Wor Bro John Belton and Some of his Audience.

Wor Bro John Belton and Some of his Audience.

John had prepared for this presentation by sending out sheets to all the participarts, which he used to get the discussion going, and then encouraged those present to develop these initial comments further. It was a very busy session with plenty of information coming from the floor and being recorded by John for further development in due course. It was a lively session, with so much participation froim all present, that I had to give John an extra ten minutes to deliver his concluding remarks.

Wor Bro John Acaster Master QC Lodge No 2076 U.G.L.E.

Wor Bro John Acaster Master QC Lodge No 2076 U.G.L.E.

Our second speaker of the morning was Wor Bro John Acaster, the current Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No 2076 U.G.L.E. who gave us “An Outsider’s View of the Unrealised Potential of Irish Masonic History”. And, just as it said on the tin, this was exactly what we received. I have always found it interesting to note how we are perceived abroad, John’s presentation was pure Q.C. and brought into sharp focus, the distance still to be travelled in presenting the true origins of the Celtic Irish Masonic History of Irish Freemasonry beginning with the Baal’s Bridge Square dating from the year 1507.
John’s paper, based was well written and well presented and brought forward, probably for the first time to those present a flavour of the 15th century poetry written in Germany at that time.

Wor Bro Bill Howie from Lodge Hope of Kurrachi No337 S.C.

Wor Bro Bill Howie from Lodge Hope of Kurrachi No337 S.C.

Our last speaker of the morning was Very Wor Bro Bill Howie, a Past Master of the Lodge Hope of Kurrachi No 337 S.C. Bill has just recovered from an extended period of ill health and received a warm welcome back from all present. His topic for the morning was an overview of the History of The Lodge Hope of Kurrachi. And this history, covering their origins as a travelling military Lodge, its subsequent settlement in Pakistan as a civilian Lodge, the seizure of its Hall and Posessions in Pakistan, the Warrant’s Return to Edinburgh, and its revival in the Province of Fife and Kinross as a Masonic Research Lodge. Quite a journey, covered in 45 minutes, which will make great reading in our Transactions in due course. By now lunch time had arrived, I made my concluding remarks and we retired back downstairs for lunch.

General View of The Lodge Room.

General View of The Lodge Room.

Mosaic behind the Senior Warden's Seat.

Mosaic behind the Senior Warden’s Seat.

After lunch, we were joined by Rt Wor Bro Leslie Deane Provincial Grand Master of Munster and his Deputy Rt Wor Bro Derek H. Dunne. The Lodge was opened by our Wor Master Wor Bro Stephen Arnold, our guests were welcomed and the business got underway. The main purpose of our meeting was to receive a paper from Wor Bro Dr David J.Butler Provincial Grand Archivist who gave an excellent presentation on the history of Freemasonry in the Province of Munster, with particular emphasis on the City of Cork and the towns of Bandon and Youghal. David, an established Masonic author has published books on the Masonic History of Youghal and Bandon, and has many Munster related articles and presentations to his credit. His paper was well received by all
present and again will make great reading in our Transactions in due course.

Our Master and his Distinguished Guests.

Our Master and his Distinguished Guests.

Some of The Brethren Present.

Some of The Brethren Present.

The day was brought to a successful conclusion with a Gala Banquet meal held in The Gresham Metropole Hotel, which was attended by some seventy five Brethren and Guests.

Portrait & Jewel of The Irish Lady Freemason.

Portrait & Jewel of The Irish Lady Freemason.

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Lodge CC Centenary Celebrations in Cork.

Plaque on the Entrance Door, Tuckey Street, Cork.

Plaque on the Entrance Door, Tuckey Street, Cork.

Brethren, it was with a growing sense of excitement that Lodge Members and their guests began to prepare for the long trip from Home to Cork. As usual, all modes of transport were deployed with Brethren coming by aeroplane, boat, car, taxi, train and shank’s mare, as we all set off Thursday / Friday to make our way to
one of the most interesting Masonic venue’s on the planet. Our hotel the Gresham Metropole Hotel, MacCurtain Street Cork, an old time favourite with Lodge members on our visits to Cork, really rolled out the red carpet for us and looked after us all very well. We had some sixty members and guests in the hotel, and the craic was mighty. On the way down, we went via Doneraile Court, which is now run by the Department of Public Works.

Doneraile Court, Co Cork.

Doneraile Court, Co Cork.

The castle was rebuilt during the 1660’s and garrisoned against the threat of a French invasion , and later when the St. Legers had moved to Doneraile Court, it was used to garrison a troop of horse. John St. Leger died on the 31st of March 1696 and was succeeded by his eldest son Arthur. On the 23rd. June 1703, Arthur St. Leger was created Baron Kilmayden, in Co. Waterford and Viscount Doneraile, Co.Cork. He died on the 7th. July 1727 when he was succeeded by his son Arthur, the 2nd. Viscount.The St. Legers were now established in Doneraile Court on the south side of the Awbeg river. It has not been firmly established when the St. Legers moved house, and information on them between 1645 and 1727 is very scanty. The date 1725 on the front of Doneraile Court has led to the belief that it was built on that date, but this is challenged on two fronts. First we have the story of the Lady Freemason. This relates that a daughter of the first Viscount overheard a meeting of the Freemason Lodge No. 150 being held in Doneraile Court. On being discovered, it was considered necessary to induct her into thee Freemasons to secure her secrecy. The room in which this event is said to have taken place is traditionally pointed out as being on the right hand side of the present entrance hall of Doneraile Court.The Lady Freemason’s tombstone records this event as having taken place in 1712. Secondly it is the opinion of some people that the architectural features of the basement area put the building back into the late 17th. century at least. The most likely theory then, is that the original house on the site of Doneraile Court was the home of some of the St. Legers from the 1690’s at least, and that 1725 is a date of major renovation. Whether John St. Leger reared his family here we do not know, but the 1st. Viscount may have occupied it soon after 1690, when he got married.

Entrance by The Southern Gate.

Entrance by The Southern Gate.

After all that excitement with the Lady Freemason, it was only but proper that we should seek admittance through the Southern Gate. Indeed it is interesting to finally discover the location of this elusive gate, and where else would we find it, but in Cork. Once through, our first port of call was St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, which is considered to be one of the most Masonic church buildings in Ireland.The Architect of the Refurbished Cathedral was William Burroughs, a noted English Freemason, and he provided a home for the memorial plaque erected in memory of the late Lady Elizabeth Aldworth, daughter of the first Viscount Doneraile.

Memorial Plaque to the Lady Elizabeth Aldworth.

Memorial Plaque to the Lady Elizabeth Aldworth.

You will note the reference to Warrant No 44 for her father’s Masonic Lodge, and other surviving details suggest the number 150 for her Father’s Warrant. Sadly both numbers can only now be conjecture, as the original Grand Lodge records for the early 18th century no longer survive. Another area of great interest to Freemasons is the great South window, erected in memory of a deceased past Grand Master of the PGL of Munster. This magnificent window is surrounded with small circular Masonic panels with various Masonic symbols on them. Then there are two small panels of King Hiram of Tyre and Hiram Abiff, which you can see illustrated here below :-

The Famous Architect Hiram Abiff.

The Famous Architect Hiram Abiff.

This is an absolute treasure house of quality decorations, and before concluding this blog, I would draw your attention to the famous horned figure of Moses, cast in bronze, under a marvellous display of Irish rock crystal, on the Old Testament side of the great Cathedral lecturn.

The Horned Figure of Moses.

The Horned Figure of Moses.

Having now given you all an introduction to the week-end, I shall now break at this point, as we retired back to the hotel for a light supper and a long chat with friends and visiting Brethren. I will be back for a further update report, once I get my thoughts collected and organised into a cogent story.

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Bushmills Salmon and Whiskey Festival.

Event Logo.

Event Logo.

Over the weekend 19th to 21st September 2014, the village of Bushmills hosted the Bushmills Salmon and Whiskey Festival, an occasion of great merriment and relaxation for all present. As you would expect, we had fresh salmon from the River Bush, and mature whiskey from the barrels of The Bushmills Distillery. Add in a goodly crowd, an Ulster Scots dancing competition, a variety of street stalls and children’s amusements and top the lot off with beautiful sunshine, and you have the perfect recipe for an enjoyable afternoon. One unusual stall encountered was the Billy Burger stall, which most of us thought had links to the town-land of Billy, just outside the village. Eventually the cardboard cut-out of a Billy Goat brought us a much clearer picture of the meaty delicacy, on offer from that particular stall.

Bushmills Masonic Hall.

Bushmills Masonic Hall.

As usual, our Brethren in Bushmills took advantage of the occasion and threw their doors open to welcome any remaining curious members of the general public, who had not previously visited their Hall. They opened the doors at 1.00pm and remained open to about 4.30pm, during which time, they received a steady flow of visitors.

The First Steps.

The First Steps.

Royal Blue Masonic Lodge No 414 Bushmills, is celebrating its two hundred and fiftieth anniversary this year and its current Master – Wor Bro Nicholas Dallat has set out a busy series of events to mark the occasion. He had also prepared an interesting fact sheet on the history of the Lodge, that was available for visitors to take away and read at their leisure. Once again Brethren,another excellent example of local Masons playing their part,as apart of Society, not apart from Society. I’m sure you will all join with me in wishing Wor Bro Nicholas continued success in this most significant commemoration, and hope that the remainder of his year is equally memorable.

Nicholas and Bob having a chat.

Nicholas and Bob having a chat.

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Lodge CC Centenary Meeting in Cork.

Collection of the Centenary Plates.

Collection of the Centenary Plates.

In my case, one of the highlights of the year was the visit to Belleek pottery to collect the magnificent Lodge of Research Centenary plates, based on the original 1871 Armstrong designed Masonic pattern plates. In 2012, I had found a copy of Armstrong’s original poster giving the background to his design and the relevance of the various Masonic symbols used in the first three Craft Degrees of Irish Masonry. I got a copy of this document, and after resetting the typeface, I got it reprinted and included one copy in the box of each plate produced. In this way, each Brother who purchases a plate, will have his own permanent record of the history of the plate and how the design was initially arrived at.

The Change from Old to New in the Lodge Master's.

The Change from Old to New in the Lodge Master’s.

Our First major event of the year was our Installation meeting in Molesworth Street on Saturday the 8th February 2014. We had representatives from research Lodges in England, Scotland, Spain, Greece and Germany. Our Guest of Honour was RT Wor Bro Douglas Gray Deputy Grand Master of Ireland and he was accompanied by Rt Wor Bro Rodney McCorley, the Rt Wor Assistant Grand Master of Ireland. We had an excellent turn out of Brethren from Lodges across Ireland and enjoyed the company of each and everyone present on the day. In the evening, at the Banquet, we made a special presentation to Ms Rebecca Hayes, our Grand Lodge Archivist, for all her hard work in assisting all of the researchers present there, on the day.

Magherally Lodge No 203 I.C.

Magherally Lodge No 203 I.C.

In April, we were off to Magherally, a small townland on the outskirts of Banbridge, where we joined with the Brethren of Lodge 203, Magherally as they
hosted our visit as an important part of their Bi-Centenary celebrations this year. I had the great priviledge of preparing an illustrated paper for this meeting, which covered the pertient parts of their history, and was well received by all present.

History of Bandon by Dr David Butler.

History of Bandon by Dr David Butler.

And now, we all prepare for the long journey from the North East to the South West, to enjoy the friendship and fellowship of our Brethren in Cork, Limerick and surrounding territory. Tuckey Street in Cork is home to one of our most historic halls, with strong links to the Lady Elizabeth Aldworth, Ireland’s only Lady Freemason. Just down the road is St Finn Barres Cathedral, where you will find an engraved brass memorial plate set in the floor to the memory of the Lady Elizabeth and beside the magnificent Bishops Throne, which was gifted to the Cathedral in her memory.

We have a number of eminent Masonic researchers joining us from England and Scotland and have a full day of presentations organised on Saturday the 27th September, which will start at 10.00AM after morning coffee. Amongst our speakers will be Wor Bro John Acaster, the current WM of Quatuor Coronati, Wor Bro John Belton from the Manchester Association of Masonic Research and Very Wor Bro Bill Howie, the senior Past Master of Lodge Hope of Kurrachi,one of the leading Research Lodges in the Scottish Constitution. After a buffet luncheon in the Hall, which will give us all an opportunity to inspect the many Masonic artifacts and memorabilia on display, we will then proceed to open The Irish Lodge of Research at 2.00pm, when Dr David Butler, the current archivist of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Munster, will address us all on aspects of the Masonic History of Freemasonry in the Province of Munster. If you would like to learn how to join with us for the morning presentations, the buffet lunch, the afternoon meeting or the Banquet at night, then please do not hesitate to contact Wor Bro Joe McIlveen, our Assistant Secretary North, at his e-mail address justjoe.lodgecc@masonicresearchireland.org.uk Brethren, we would be delighted to see you come along and join with us on this special occasion, in this very especial year in the history of The Irish Lodge of Research, and we look forward to seeing a goodly number of old friends present, from around the Constitution.

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Report on The Saintfield Open Day.

Saintfield Masonic Lodge-Room.

Saintfield Masonic Lodge-Room.

We are very grateful to Wor Bro David Woodrow for his e-mail report on visitor numbers to the Saintfield Masonic Hall on Sunday the 14th September 2014. You may be interested to learn that the decision to open on a Sunday afternoon, was part of an agreed strategy with the four local churches and the Orange Hall, all of which were only open on the Sunday afternoon. Indeed the National Trust gave free entrance to Rowallene Gardens on the day and the local historical walking group had a walk through the village ending at the Masonic Hall, in time for a quick visit before the afternoon came to a close.

A View of The Three Great Lights.

A View of The Three Great Lights.

The Famous Saintfield Puffer Fish.

The Famous Saintfield Puffer Fish.

The Simpson Memorial.

The Simpson Memorial.

As usual, the Lodge has many interesting and unusual artifacts, including a very early example of a Victorian puffer fish, which is believed to have come up from Ardglass. These and the many other old certificates, pictures etc were all a source of great interest to their 70+ visitors, who had an enjoyable day with the Brethren. I think it is worth noting that all of their 70 visitor’s enjoyed a cup of tea and a biscuit, before they left.

Set of Old Lodge Smoke Seals.

Set of Old Lodge Smoke Seals.

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European Heritage Open Days 2014.

Cover of the European Heritage Brochure 2014.

Cover of the European Heritage Brochure 2014.

Its hard to believe that another year has slipped past already, and we are now back to the annual European Heritage Open Days initiative where many of our most historical buildings will be open to the public on Saturday the 13th and Sunday the 14th September 2014. This year in Northern Ireland, we have three Masonic Centres opening in the town of Saintfield, Enniskillen and Londonderry. We have attached copies of all three advertisements so you can see where to find the Halls, Opening Times and other useful information.

The Saintfield Hall.

The Saintfield Hall.

The Enniskillen Hall.

The Enniskillen Hall.

The Bishop's Palace, Londonderry.

The Bishop’s Palace, Londonderry.

The Saintfield Hall is some 92 years old this year and contains a range of interesting Masonic and Historical material. Interestingly, it is the only one of our Halls that will be open on Sunday afternoon, and I hope that it will have many visitors on the day.

The Enniskillen Hall occupies a prominent position on the road into Enniskillen from Belfast and again has an varied selection of Masonic artifacts on display, including an early Masonic bog oak medallion bearing the date 1517. There is an extensive collection of jewels from the local Lodges, a cased set of dress regalia that was once used by The Duke of Leinster and a very early Royal Arch Masonic Chart bearing the date 1749. All in all, if you have never been there, this Hall is well worth a visit. And even if you have been there, make an effort to appear, and support the Fermanagh Brethren in this very worthwhile effort to engage with the public at large.

And finally, we have the Old Bishop’s Palace in the centre of Londonderry, long time home to the Lodges of the town, and containing another interesting collection of Masonic artifacts. So Brethren, take this opportunity to visit some ( or indeed all ) of these Halls, support the local Brethren and take the opportunity to view some of the very interesting exibits on display.

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Commemorations at The Mayo Peace Park, Castlebar.

The Mayo Peace Park, Castlebar.

The Mayo Peace Park, Castlebar.

Mayo Commemoration Day : Sunday the 3rd of August 2.30pm at The Mayo Peace Park.

This is a Multi Faith Ecumenical Ceremony, which will focus on the 100th anniversary of World War One, a war which effected county Mayo in a devastating manner, with well over 1,100 local men killed and thousand’s of other’s maimed for life, many of them dying in the years after the war.

Newspaper Announcement for First Day of War.

Newspaper Announcement for First Day of War.

Mr Kevin Myers, the well known, author, columnist and writer, is the special guest speaker on the day. The organizers are delighted to have him with them and they want to offer him their sincere thanks for his outstanding work & dedicated contribution over so many years. Kevin Myers, led from the front, he campaigned long and hard, for the proper recognition of the Irish men and women who served and died in the World Wars, and he done this at a time when it was not understood and appreciated in Ireland. However his perseverance paid off, and the majority of the people of Ireland now fully acknowledge the great sacrifice made by so many, on their behalf.

The Doves of Peace.

The Doves of Peace.

Some of the Fallen.

Some of the Fallen.

Monday the 4th of August ; Newport Grave Re-Dedication : Distinguished World War One Pilot will be remembered in Burrishoole, Church of Ireland, Cemetery in Newport, at 2.30pm on Monday the 3rd of August 2014.

Major Thomas Falcon Hazell, DSO, M.C. DFC & BAR.

Major Thomas Falcon Hazell, DSO, M.C. DFC and Bar, was a native of Roundstone, County Galway. He was born on the 7th of August 1892, he died 4th September 1946. He was a very highly decorated fighter pilot with the Royal Flying Corps, during the First World War, in fact he was said to be the 5th most successful British Ace scoring 43 victories, the 3rd most successful Irish pilot and he was the only one of all of those to actually survive the war. He died in Ireland in 1946.

His grave was located a few months ago, in the Old Burrishoole, Church of Ireland, Graveyard, this is located just off Main Street in Newport Town, County Mayo. The years had taken a heavy toll on it the headstone was broken. It was decided to repair and upgrade the grave, in order to have it unveiled at 3pm on Monday the 4th of August the actual anniversary of the war. How fitting it is that such a distinguished & brave war hero is to remembered again after so long.It will happen on Monday next the 100th anniversary of World War One.

Remember Them.

Remember Them.

On the outbreak of war in August 1914, Thomas Hazell enlisted as a humble trooper in the South Irish Horse, a yeomanry regiment which had gained a dubious fame as the model for Percy French’s song, Slattery’s Mounted Foot. Tom was, no doubt, one of the stout gosoons, swinging down from the mountain, no doubt nursing his Lee Enfield by the butt as he marched along to patriotic tune. Be that as it may, life in the ranks was mercifully short; within the month Tom had been identified as a POM, “potential officer material”.

Commissioned into the 7th Inniskillings, Tom set sail for Flanders, just in time to arrive for the that unspeakably murderous encounter, the First Battle of Ypres. A series of weary blood baths followed in which Tom played his part to the full.Loos, Aubers Ridge, Festubert, and the Somme, all took their toll on the idealistic youngsters who, who like Tom, had stormed his Majesty’s recruiting offices in August 1914.By 1916, enough was enough and Tom volunteered and was accepted for flight training with The Royal Flying Corps.

Surviving a bad crash in June 1916, and after completing his training, Hazell joined No. 1 Squadron on the Western Front later that year, flying Nieuport 17 scouts. After twenty victories by August 1917, Hazell received the Military Cross. After a period as instructor at the Central Flying School, Upavon, Hazell took command of ‘A’ flight in No. 24 Squadron in June 1918, flying the SE-5a. Hazell became the 60th victory of Lt. Ernst Udet, the German badly damaging Hazell’s aircraft in a low level chase across the lines. Adding another twenty claims, he then took command of No. 203 squadron in October 1918. His final claim totals were 1 captured aircraft, 8 (and 2 shared) kite balloons, 17 (and 1 shared) aircraft destroyed, 11 (and 2 shared) ‘down out of control’.

After the war had concluded, Hazell was given a permanent commission by the Royal Air Force as well as being decorated with both a Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). During the 1920’s Hazell was a commander of a series of Squadrons in the Middle East, most notably Iraq. In 1944, at the age of 52, Hazell became the commander of “D” Company, 24th (Tettenhall) Battalion, South Staffordshire Home Guard during the later part of the Second World War.

1946. Two years later in Ireland, Thomas Falcon Hazell died at the age of 54.

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Builders of The Silent Cities Lodge No 4948 U.G.L.E.

Builders of The Silent Cities ( War Graves Commission ) Founders Jewel.

Builders of The Silent Cities ( War Graves Commission ) Founders Jewel.

This is a much sought after Masonic jewel to mark the Consecratation of Builders of The Silent Cities Lodge No 4948 U.G.L.E., which was founded in 1927 in London. The jewel is silver gilt and enamel and is hall-marked London 1927, and this particular example was presented to the Foundation Senior Warden in this new Lodge.

Details of the Silent Cities jewel.

Details of the Silent Cities jewel.

The Lodge was founded in 1927 and many of the Foundation Members were on the staff of the W.W.1. War Graves Commission. Rudyard Kipling was one of the Founder Members of this Lodge.

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First International Masonic Workshop in Athens 27th -31st August 2014.

International Workshop Athens 2014.

International Workshop Athens 2014.

As part of the ongoing celebrations for the Centenary Year of The Irish Lodge of Research, I have been invited to address the First Summer International Masonic Workshop, which will be held in the Athens Riviera from the 27th to 31st August 2014. This invitation came from Rt Wor Bro Dimitrios Kontesis, the Past Grand Master of the National Grand Lodge of Greece, and a very active and well known member of The Grand Council of Knight Masons in Dublin. Dimitrios was one of our Guests of Honour at the Centenary Celebrations in February 2014, and raised the possability of a visit to Athens at that time.

RT Wos Bros John Dickson & Dimitrios Kontesis at the CC Centenary Dinner,

RT Wos Bros John Dickson & Dimitrios Kontesis at the CC Centenary Dinner,

The Summer Masonic Workshop is a unique opportunity for Freemasons around the world, as well as for anyone interested in Freemasonry, and their families to meet, get acquainted and discuss options and opinions on Freemasonry, while they enjoy a summer break next to an idyllic beach in Athens Riviera. Participants sharing an interest in the Craft will have the chance, in a casual laid-back atmosphere, to communicate, exchange ideas and thoughts, to see old friends and to make new ones.

The aim of this Workshop is to provide an overview of the most recent topics concerning the Fraternity, such as the role of Freemasonry in the 21st century, Regularity, recognition and fraternal relations, Masonic research etc.

The Workshop, which is not affiliated to any masonic or academic body, focuses to host important discussions, to present different perspectives in modern Freemasonry, to offer options for expression, to bridge the fields of tradition and research, to expose participants to new ideas, to create a transfer of knowledge. The Workshop is not in any way a tyled event nor is there going to be any associated tyled meetings.

Freemasons at Work.

Freemasons at Work.

Programme – Wednesday August 27th, 2014

Arrival to the hotel | Check-in & Registration to the Workshop
19:30 Welcome Cocktail
20:45 Buffet Dinner

– Thursday August 28th, 2014

07:00 – 09:30 Buffet Breakfast
10:00 – 10:10 Workshop opening
10:10 – 10:15 Keynote speaker presentation
10:15 – 11:00 Keynote presentation: Antti Talvitie
Freemasonry: an ever more secular society»
11:00 – 11:15 Questions | Conversation
11:15 – 12:15 Session 1
12:30 – 13:30 Buffet Lunch
13:40 – 13:45 Keynote speaker presentation
13:45 – 14:30 Keynote presentation: Dr. Anna Zarkada
Crafting the Craft’s reputation in the 21st century»
14:30 – 14:45 Questions | Conversation
14:45 – 17:30 Free time for relaxation and leisure

17:45 Departure for a 3-hour afternoon tour to Sounion. We will visit the 5th century BC Temple of Poseidon, with one of the most breathtaking panoramic views in the world. The precipice is a sheer 197 ft. drop to the sea. Land masses to the west stand out in sharp profile: the island of Aegina backed by the mountains of the Peloponnese. The beauty of the surviving Doric columns has inspired many poets, including Lord Byron who carved his name on one of the columns. Return to the hotel after the sunset.

20:45 Buffet Dinner

– Friday August 29th, 2014

07:00 – 09:30 Buffet Breakfast
10:00 – 10:10 Second day opening
10:10 – 10:15 Keynote speaker presentation
10:15 – 11:00 Keynote presentation: Robert Bashford
The Dissemination of Masonic Knowledge in the 21st Century»
11:00 – 11:15 Questions | Conversation
11:15 – 12:15 Session 2
12:30 – 13:30 Buffet Lunch
13:40 – 13:45 Keynote speaker presentation
13:45 – 14:30 Keynote presentation: Dr. Evelin Durie
The Masonic community in Corfu at the time of the Napoleonic occupation (1807-1814). Between a Napoleonic and a ‘local’ lodge»
14:30 – 14:45 Questions | Conversation
14:45 – 17:30 Free time for relaxation and leisure
17:45 – 18:45 Session 3
18:45 – 19:45 Session 4
19:45 – 20:45 Session 5

20:45 Buffet Dinner
Food for thought : Dr. Mike Kearsley, the Honorary Speaker of the Workshop, will present some aspects of his lecture:
1814 – Consolidation and Change. The first year of the United Grand Lodge of England»

– Saturday August 30th, 2014

07:00 – 09:30 Buffet Breakfast
10:00 – 10:10 Third day opening
10:10 – 10:15 Keynote speaker presentation
10:15 – 11:00 Keynote presentation: Dr. Ric Berman
The Grand Architects»
11:00 – 11:15 Questions | Conversation
11:15 – 12:15 Session 6
12:30 – 13:30 Buffet Lunch
13:40 – 13:45 Keynote speaker presentation
13:45 – 14:30 Keynote presentation: John Belton
Revolutionary and Socialist Fraternalism 1848 – 1870: London to the Italian Risorgimento»
14:30 – 14:45 Questions | Conversation
14:45 – 17:30 Free time for relaxation and leisure
17:45 – 18:45 Session 7
18:45 – 19:45 Session 8
19:45 – 20:45 Free time

20:45 Buffet Dinner
22:00 Farewell Party

– Sunday August 31st, 2014

07:00 – 09:30 Buffet Breakfast
10:30 – 10:35 Final day opening
10:35 – 11:30 Session 9
11:30 – 12:30 Session 10
12:30 – 12:40 Workshop closing
12:30 – 13:30 Buffet Lunch

IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

Sessions 1 to 10 are designed to allow opportunities for ample discussion following the keynote presentations.

Workshop Sessions consist mainly of a mixture of: Thematic Sessions: Individual paper presentations that will be organized into thematic areas. Papers on a common topic, or representing different perspectives on an issue, will be presented sequentially in a session. Roundtable Discussions: Invited distinguished speakers will have an assigned table during a session to review and discuss the most recent topics concerning Freemasonry.

Short paper presentations: Individual delegates will present their short papers.

So Set Your Compass for Athens in August.

So Set Your Compass for Athens in August.

Brethren if you want to learn any more about the Speakers, the Location or any other aspect of the Occasion then please go to the link below :-[

www.masonic-events.org or to the dedicated facebook page facebook.com/masonicevents

Our Workshop Venue.

Our Workshop Venue.

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