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.
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.
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.