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.”
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.
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.