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