On Saturday the 8th February 2014 the Irish Lodge of Research celebrated its formation one hundred years ago, with a series of events held in the Grand Lodge Room at 17-19 Molesworth Street, Dublin 1.
The Brethren began to assemble at the Hall around 9.30AM, when they were able to collect their registration packets, and have a cup of tea or coffee, whilst they viewed the selection of books, Lodge Transactions and Centenary mementos such as our Belleek Centenary plate based on the original 19th century Masonic pattern plate designed and marketed by Belleek in the 1870’s. We also have an unusual range of Masonic Firing glasses available, each complete with the Lodge of Research crest and bearing the legend Centenary 1914 – 2014.
The day began with presentations on various aspects of The Grand Lodge of the Antients and Laurence Dermott, their Grand Secretary who came to London from Dublin in the 1740’s. Our first speaker, Wor Bro Doctor Richard Berman set out clearly and succinctly his views on the origins of The Antients, with due credit to the influence of Ireland and the London Irish on the development and growth of Freemasonry in the 18th century. In his 45 minute presentation he told an excellent story of the entire Antients system, and the central role played by Laurence Dermott in taking it from a small London Committee, to a major force in the spread of Freemasonry around the globe. This presentation came to an end with a vigorous question and answer session, which clarified some aspects of the paper just presented.
Then we broke for a fifteen minute comfort break, and those that wanted to, were able to replenish their mugs of tea and coffee. Our second speaker Wor Bro John Belton, is a regular visitor to both The Irish Lodge of Research and The Grand Lodge of Ireland. John is an accomplished Masonic Researcher, and on this occasion he spoke, at length on The English Masonic Union of 1813.
This fascinating presentation held the attention of all present as John illuminated some of the discussions and negotiations that took place between the Antients and Moderns as they finally came together to form The United Grand Lodge of England in 1814. It was very interesting to learn of the important role played by The Grand Lodge of Ireland, and in particular in the role of Wor Bro John Boardman, Assistant Treasurer of The Grand Lodge of Ireland, who was there to represent Grand Lodge in respect of The Antient Landmarks – those particular reference points of unanimity between Grand Lodges. In this case the new United Grand Lodge of England had to satisfy Ireland and to a lesser extent Scotland, that the errors of the Moderns had now been removed and that the new Grand Lodge would be more in line with Antient working. This was duly done, and indeed the administration, laws and constitution adopted, was to all intents and purposes, that originally drafted by Laurence Dermott all those years before. Once again this presentation was well received and after a short question and answer session, we then broke for lunch just after 12.30PM.
At 2.30PM Wor Bro Harry Thompson, the outgoing Master of The Irish Lodge of Research led his officers back into The Grand Lodge Room, where they opened the Lodge in the presence of Rt Wor Bro Douglas Grey Deputy Grand Master, RT Wor Bro Rodney McCurley Assistant Grand Master and Rt Wor Bro D Barry Lyons Grand Secretary. Apologies had been received from our Most Wor Grand Master Most Wor Bro George Dunlop who was indisposed. Very Wor Bro John Hamill and Very Wor Bro Robert Mitchell from U.G.L.E. and from a number of our own Brethren including Very Wor Bro Wilson Thornton and Very Wor Bro Bill Howie, both members of the Lodge who were also indisposed due to illness. Wor Bro Robert Mitchell was all packed to go, but his flight was cancelled due to poor weather and he was unable to join us.
As this was our Installation meeting, Wor Bro Stephen A Arnold was presented in due form and installed as Master of The Irish Lodge of Research for the year 2014. As is his right, he presented a summary of a paper on the history and development of the site at 17-19 Molesworth Street, as it slowly evolved into the headquarters building of all five branches of The Masonic Order in Ireland. From the snippets presented it was quite clear that this will be a fascinating paper, and will be of great interest to all, once it is finally published in our Transactions. After the extract from the paper was read, the Deputy Grand Master presented our Wor Master with the Centenary Certificate signed by Grand Lodge, confirming our 100 years of continuous working. The meeting came to a close at 5.00PM and the Brethren returned to the Bewley’s Airport Hotel.
The Centenary Banquet was held later that evening in the Baskin Suite at Bewley’s. It was a well attended function with just short of 100 guests present. The new Wor Master and the Rt Wor Deputy Grand Master were piped into dinner by one of our Lodge Members – Wor Bro Jim Halliday from Lisburn. After an excellent meal, we enjoyed a number of short speeches including a toast to the Lodge proposed by Wor Bro John Wade representing the U.G.L.E. and seconded by Wor Bro Trevor Stewart representing the Grand Lodge of Scotland. A number of presentations were made including one to Miss Rebecca Hayes, Grand Lodge Archivist and supporter of the researches of so many of us. When Rebecca’s name was announced, she got a great cheer from all present. We also received hearty good wishes from Brethren representing other European Constitutions including Germany and Greece. For those interested in further detail, we invite you to have a look at the video presentation of the day currently being hosted on www.irishfreemasonry.com. And if anyone still wants to acquire a firing glass or a centenary plate, there are a small number still available from Rt Wor Bro Robert Bashford, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brethren, I’m sure that you will all agree with me that the permanent officers of The Irish Lodge of Research planned an excellent day for us all, and, in particular, Wor Bros Joe McIlveen, Tom Fitzpatrick and Grant Smith should be commended for the amount of thought and effort given to get everything designed and produced to the standards shown above. And I would particularly commend the poem – Father’s Lodge, which can be found on the front of the Place Setting.