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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James Orr Freemason, Poet, Patriot, Philanthropist and United Irishman.

An Artist's Impression of James Orr.

An Artist’s Impression of James Orr.

Brethren, a packed Hall at Ballycarry listened attentively to a paper celebrating the life of James Orr, Freemason, Poet, Patriot, Philanthropist and United Irishman. 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 amongst 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.

Notes in Orr's Handwriting.

Notes in Orr’s Handwriting.

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
Tempt him with bribes – they won’t prevail,
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.

Cover from his Published Poetry.

Cover from his Published Poetry.

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.

The Collected Works.

The Collected Works.

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 welcomed 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’s 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 lame 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.

The Orr Memorial,

The Orr Memorial,

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 we shall re-dedicate later today, after extensive repairs have now been completed, which have been largely paid for by Members of the Masonic Order, with some assistance from the local community and other grant aid. 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 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, we hope that you have enjoyed this short presentation, as 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. The Re-Dedication ceremony was carried out by Rt Wor Bro John Dickson, Rt Wor Provincial Grand Master of Antrim and was ably assisted by the Rev J.W.Nelson of the Old Presbyterian Church in Ballycarry.

The Rededication.

The Rededication.

After the Lodge meeting held in the Masonic Hall, hosted by Redhall Lodge No 260 I.C., we then proceeded to the Old Presbyterian Church on Main Street, where the Rev Nelson spoke very supportively of the long history of Freemasonry in the village and for the efforts made by the Brethren of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim to raise substantial funds in support of the repair and reinstatement of The Orr Memorial. A memorial booklet has been produced, which gives details of all six hundred Masonic plates sold by the Province, with a picture of the Orr Memorial and the name and details of the purchaser.

Despite the wet weather, we all strolled up to the old Churchyard at Templecorran, with many of the Brethren wearing their Masonic regalia. Once the considerable crowd had assembled, Right Wor Bro Dickson and The Rev Nelson carefully pulled back the covers over the monument and declared this memorial re-dedicated to the memory of James Orr. After the photo call, we all retired to the Ballycarry Community Centre for a warming cup of tea, before we all slowly made our way homeward.

Members of Redhall Lodge.

Members of Redhall Lodge.

The Dignitaries.

The Dignitaries.

Brethren, you will find a short video of the day and photo galleries of the occasion elsewhere on this site. And if you want to learn more on James Orr and his Ulster Scots poetry, you will find a copy of Orr’s published Work also on the irishfreemasonry site.

Robert Bashford.

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Very Wor Bro William ( Billy ) Lamont.

Very Wor Bro William Lamont P.P.S.W.A.

Very Wor Bro William Lamont P.P.S.W.A.

Brethren, I was surprised to learn over the weekend, that Very Wor Bro William Lamont, a Past Senior Grand Warden of Antrim, was rushed into Coleraine Hospital for emergency surgery and is currently recuperating in the Intensive Care Ward at Coleraine. Billy, is a well know character in North Antrim and further afield, and is a Past Master of his Craft Lodge, A Past King of his Chapter, A Past Chief of his Council and will shortly be a Past Prior of his Preceptory. In his normal life He is an active field sports participant who regularly wins awards in the fields of Horse Dressage, Cross Country and associated pursuits. When I heard the news about Billies hospitalisation, I immediately made arrangements to attend the next visiting session, later that evening, and on arrival at The Intensive Care Unit, I was asked who I was, and on giving the response, A Brother, was immediately admitted.

I’m pleased to report that Billy is now well on the mend and although he has more tubes and cables about him than the average small car, he is amazingly cheerful and looking forward to getting out in the next week or so. I’m sure you will all join with me in wishing Billy a speedy return to good health as we look forward to his return to Masonry later in the year.

Bob Bashford.

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Charity Masonic Lodge No 688 Rosetta.

26TH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE FAMILY OF CHARITY LODGES.

Charity Masonic Lodge No 688 I.C. is a small but hard working Lodge which sits in the Masonic Hall, Park Road, Rosetta, Belfast in the Province of Down. This Lodge forms an integral part of the Family of Charity Lodges of which there are a further fourteen all of whom are of the English Constitution.

Annually the Lodges gather at a venue in England usually in either Birmingham, Bradford, Bolton, Kidderminster, Nottingham , Warrington or Plymouth. This year it fell upon Charity 688 I.C. to host the event and after considerable preparation all came to fruition on Saturday 17th May 2014 in the Freemasons’ Hall, Molesworth Street, Dublin.

Lodges from Warrington, Nottingham, Birmingham, Shrewsbury, Bradford and Kidderminster were in attendance most of whom arrived with their wives on the Friday to enjoy what was to be a most memorable weekend. A number of other Brethren from other parts of Ireland also attended.

Wor Bro Alan Byers, WM688 with Senior Visiting Brethren.

Wor Bro Alan Byers, WM688 with Senior Visiting Brethren.

The Officers of Charity 688 paraded into the Lodge Room and took their places. On entering the Lodge Room one was greeted by the array of colour worn by the visiting Brethren most of whom held either present or past Provincial Rank. The W/Master, W/Bro Alan Byers was accompanied on the dias by Rt Wor Bro David H Selby (PAGM Down and also a member of Charity 688) and W/Bro D Stuart Cummins , PAGM West Riding of Yorkshire. Once the Lodge was opened our guest of honour, Rt Wor Bro John C Clarke, PAGM of Down was admitted and presented to the W/Master who invited him to chair the meeting for a time. Rt Wor Bro Clarke accepted the invitation and warmly welcomed all the Brethren to our meeting in the Grand Lodge Room.

Following on from this a deputation of some twenty Brethren from Bangor Union ML No 746 was received and took their place in the body of the Lodge.

The Wor Master with Visiting Dignitaries.

The Wor Master with Visiting Dignitaries.

Rt Wor Bros John C.Clarke and David H. Selby Provincial Assistant Grand Master’s of Down, and Wor Bro D. Stuart Cummings PAGM of The Provincial Grand Lodge of the West Riding of Yorkshire.

The meeting finished about 4.30pm and following a colourful retiring procession W/Bro Keith Stent, Head Tyler at Molesworth Street gave a very informative talk on the Grand Lodge Room and also conducted the Brethren on a tour of the building.This was greatly appreciated by the visiting Brethren most of whom had never been at the Grand Lodge of Ireland before.

The Wor Master and his officers.

The Wor Master and his officers.

In this photo starting from the Left, seated we see Rt Wor Bro Ken Hughes ( S.W. ), Wor Bro Alan Byres ( W.M.), Wor Bro John Lyttle ( Organist),Standing starting on the Left is Wor Bro Wyndell McGrath ( Chaplin ), Wor Bro Ronnie Malcolmson ( I.G.), Rt Wor Bro David Selby PAGM Down, Rt Wor Bro John C. Clarke PAGM Down, Wor Bro William Coulter ( Dir of Ceremonies ), and Wor Bro Ian McIntyre ( J.D.).

The days’ proceedings terminated with a fine Festive Board in the dining room. Our thanks go to everyone who in any way contributed to ensuring that the meeting went according to plan. We now can sit back and await for next year when the meeting will be hosted by Lodge of Charity 377 Kidderminster.

Brethren we in www,irishfreemasonry.com are very grateful to Wor Bro James H. Furphy, Lodge Secretary, PGI (Down) for kindly proving this interesting and informative report, and the accompanying photographs, for our enjoyment and education. I’m sure you will all join with me in wishing the Wor Master, Officers and Brethren of Charity Lodge 688 I.C. continued health and happiness in the years ahead.

Bob Bashford.

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Frater Brian D’Arcy & The Brethren of Iveagh Masonic Lodge No 184 I.C.

The Jethro Centre in Lurgan.

The Jethro Centre in Lurgan.

Wednesday the 4th June 2014 was a red letter day for the Brethren of Iveagh Lodge No 184 Magheralin, when Frater Brian D’Arcy came to talk to them and we, their guests in the Jethro Centre, Lurgan. On our tickets, we were told that the evening commenced at 8.00PM, but by 7.00PM the members and guests began to arrive. On foot, by car, they came in a steady flow, pausing at the Teddies for Loving Care stand in the Foyer of the Jethro Centre and buying teddies, teddy pins and other memorabilia in support of this worthwhile cause. The Car Parks at Flush Place were quickly filling and yet still they came.

Fr Brian at the TLC Counter.

Fr Brian at the TLC Counter.

In the crowds were many prominent freemasons from Antrim, Down, Armagh and even further afield. We had the current Provincial Grand Masters of Down and Armagh in the audience along with two other past Provincial Grand Master’s of Armagh. And of course there were many non-masons present with their wives and partners representing a wide cross-section of the south Antrim and North Armagh population.

A View of the Crowd on the Night.

A View of the Crowd on the Night.

There were even a couple up from Coleraine, keen to hear what Fr Brian had to tell us all. By 7.45pm our genial Host and Question Master – Wor Bro Trevor Waddell arrived along with Fr Brian D’Arcy and we were all set for a riveting evening of repartee and wit. Before arriving at the Jethro Centre, a number of Brethren from Iveagh Lodge entertained Fr Brian in their Lodge-room in the village of Magheralin, and showed him round their Hall. Whilst in the Lodge-room, Fr Brian was invited to sign their new Lodge Bible, which they had acquired some time ago, and now use at all their meetings. This he duly did, appending his name in the company of Provincial Grand Masters and other visiting Masonic Dignitaries.

Two of the Many Brethren Present on the night.

Two of the Many Brethren Present on the night.

The evening began with a brief introduction by the Wor Master of Iveagh Lodge No 184. He then invited Rt Wor Bro Richard Gray, Northern Chairman of the Teddies for Loving Care Organising Committee to say a few words, giving us the background to the TLC initiative and then going on to explain how we provide carefully sterilised teddies in sealed bags to all the Hospital A & E Departments throughout the Island of Ireland. These are then available to hospital staff to distribute to any young child brought into the A&E for assistance or medical intervention. The initiative was introduced into the hospitals in the North in the second half of 2013, and has proved to be a very popular and useful imitative for both the child patients and the staff attending them. Rt Wor Bro Richard succinctly explained the benefits of the scheme and went on to illustrate his remarks with some interesting statistics.

Rt Wor Bro Richard Grey and his good lady wife.

Rt Wor Bro Richard Grey and his good lady wife.

Next on stage, we were delighted to welcome Mr Gene Fitzpatrick, the well known Comic, Television Personality and All Round Entertainer. We enjoyed his yarns immensely, as he told a wide variety of amusing and entertaining stories. And having warmed us all up sufficiently, he handed over the baton to Trevor for the main event of the evening.

Mr Gene Fitzpatrick.

Mr Gene Fitzpatrick.

The event had been structured as a conversation with Fr Brian and Trevor very competently managed the whole event with pertinent questions to Fr Brian on various aspects of his life and career. It was a fascinating expose of Fr Brian’s life from its beginnings through its many up’s and down’s right up to the present day. Our question master had been extremely thorough and had been in touch with several personalities, for their view on the life and times of Fr Brian. Here he was able to elicit excellent insights on this life from people as diverse as Sir Terry Wogan KBE DL, doyen of the BBC and Radio 2; Gay Byrne from the Late Late show on RTE, Daniel O’Donnell the accomplished Irish Singer and Jim McDowell, Northern Editor of The Sunday World newspaper.

Wor Bro Trevor Waddell & Fr Brian D'Arcy.

Wor Bro Trevor Waddell & Fr Brian D’Arcy.

We had a brief break about a quarter to ten, when the opportunity was taken to sell some tickets for a selection of Tombola prizes, which had been generously donated to the Lodge in support of tonight’s occasion. Amongst the prizes were a meat hamper from The Meat Market in Moira, meals in The Planters Tavern in Waringstown and The Maghaberry Arms in Maghaberry. The Lurgan Spade was presented by Messrs Geddis and McKee of Moira and the printing for the event was donated by Print It from Moira.

Winner of the Lurgan Spade.

Winner of the Lurgan Spade.

Then it was back to the main event. Fr Brian, and Wor Bro Waddell resumed their conversation and went on to discuss some more modern aspects from the life of Fr Brian. Amongst the many reminiscences was the story of his trip to Windsor, at the invitation of the Queen, when she was entertaining President Higgins of Ireland. Brian was in the company of Pat Jennings and his wife and they were given an opportunity with many others to meet Her Royal Highness the Queen. As they entered the line they were instructed by the courtiers that they were not to speak, but to make their way up and lightly touch her hand in-lieu of a handshake. If Her Majesty spoke to them, then they could reply. Fr Brian duly made his way up to the front of the line and was introduced to The Queen. As he went to move away, she spoke and asked him if he had been unwell, He replied that he had been and said “that thanks be to God, he was now on the mend”. To which the Queen retorted – “That’s good, as we have missed your regular Friday Morning slot on BBC Radio Two.” As Mrs Pat Jennings would say on the way back out from the Royal Audience, that she would not have believed it other than for the fact that she witnessed the Queen actually saying the words herself.

Fr Brian in Full Flow.

Fr Brian in Full Flow.

Brethren this is a very brief report and doesn’t do justice to the two and a half hours of fascinating conversation between Wor Bro Trevor Waddell and Fr Brian D’Arcy. I think that it is fair to say that we were all impressed by the sheer humanity and humility of the man and were moved by many of his life experiences. It certainly came as no surprise to me that he received a prolonged standing ovation from all present, at the end of the evening for his contribution to the success of the event.

Fr Brian Gets a Teddy.

Fr Brian Gets a Teddy.

Before drawing this report to a close, you may well be interested to learn that the main auditorium in The Jethro Centre was full to capacity with some 300 + in attendance at the event. To date some £ 3,000-00 has been collected for the T.L.C. Teddies charity, as a direct result of this evening, and if anyone wants to make a further donation, they should contact Wor Bro Trevor Waddell at longstoneps@btconnect.com

And the Teddies Patiently Wait their Turn.

And the Teddies Patiently Wait their Turn.

It should be noted Fr Brian D’Arcy would take no payment for his part of the evening, not even a contribution towards fuel for his vehicle. In the last week, I have been surprised to learn just how much impact this event has had on the Masonic psyche. It has been a major talking point in quite a few of the Lodges and Chapters in the area and has engendered great interest in the Masonic Order amongst those many non-masons present on the night. As one Brother recently put it – “Fr Brian is an honest and upright man who just happens to be a Priest.”

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Congratulations.

Past Master's Jewel of Duncairn Lodge No 545.

Past Master’s Jewel of Duncairn Lodge No 545.

Brethren, we have great pleasure in congratulating Bros Michael Daniel Snodden and Colin Anthony Snodden in joining their father, Michael J. Snodden in membership of Duncairn Masonic Lodge No 545 Belfast.

Duncairn Lodge came into being in 1922, and meets in the Crumlin Road Masonic Centre, adjacent to the famous old Victorian Prison – The Crumlin Road Jail. And for those of you curious about the name and the design of their jewel, I can tell you that there is a district in North Belfast, on the slopes of The Cave Hill, above Belfast Lough known as Duncairn.

It’s believed that the name Duncairn comes from the Scottish Gallic which translates as A Rocky Slope. So in fact the jewel design has been very carefully selected to reflect the Lodge name. Another fine feature on this jewel is the small enameled crest showing the crest of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim.

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Re-Dedication of The Orr Memorial, Ballycarry.

Detail from The Orr Memorial

Detail from The Orr Memorial

At 12.00 Noon on Saturday the 7th June 2014 there will be an Emergency Communication of Redhall Lodge No 260 beginning in the Masonic Hall at Ballycarry. There is an open invitation to all Masons who wish to attend, to come along and participate in the Masonic Re-Dedication of The Orr Memorial which will take place later that day. If you and your Masonic friends, or Lodge Members wish to attend, then please drop an e-mail to mervxyz@hotmail.com and confirm the number of people in your party, as we hope to provide a cup of tea at close of the proceedings.

12.00 Noon at The Masonic Hall.

12.00 Noon at The Masonic Hall.

Our Programme for the day begins at 12.00 Noon with an Emergency Lodge Meeting in the Hall. This will then be followed with a short Church Service in the Old Presbyterian Church, Ballcarry at 1.30PM. At the end of the service, the Brethren, friends and family will make their way from the Church, a short walk up the street to the Templecorran graveyard, where, at 2.30PM a short Re-Dedication ceremony will take place. At the end of this ceremony, we will all retire to the new Community Centre in the middle of the village for a cup of tea and a biscuit.

The Orr Memorial in the old Templecorran Graveyard.

The Orr Memorial in the old Templecorran Graveyard.

Redhall Lodge hope that this event will be well supported by Masonic Brethren throughout Ireland, and in particular through the Masonic Province of Antrim. They ask that Brethren should please bring their own or their Lodge regalia on the day and advise that a short 15 minute history will be given to those Brethren attending the emergency communication. They are particularly keen to invite all those many Brethren who bought an Orr plate, as their contribution to the Repair Fund and are hoping to get a few photographs of these Brethren for their Lodge archive. And for all those who will be unable to attend on the day, We in irishfreemasonry.com hope to cover this event in full, for publication shortly after the week-end has ended. So looking forward to a good attendance to support this important occasion.

Bob Bashford.

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Frater Brian D’Arcy Meets the Freemasons.

Advertising Poster for Fr Brian D'Arcy.

Advertising Poster for Fr Brian D’Arcy.

Brethren on the evening of Wednesday the 4th June 2014 Fr Brian D’Arcy will be coming to The Jethro Centre, 6 Flush Place, Lurgan at the invitation of the Brethren of Iveagh Lodge No 184, Magheralin. This event is billed as an Interview with Fr Brian D’Arcy who has very kindly given up his time to come along and help the Brethren of Iveagh Lodge to raise funds for the Teddies for Loving Care charity.

Teddies for Loving Care Poster.

Teddies for Loving Care Poster.

Brethren this is a very worthwhile event and I hope will be well supported by all in the Masonic Order. Fr Brian D’Arcy is a well known representative of the Passionist Order based in Enniskillen. He is a well known and well respected Radio and TV Personality, a noted author with several books to his credit and a national newspaper columnist. His work in the field of promoting religious understanding was recognized by the University of Ulster on the 30th June 2009, when he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters ( D Litt ) degree.

This then is the Brother who will be joining us at the Jethro Centre in Lurgan. He of course will be following in the footsteps of a long tradition of his co-religionists who were active and enthusiastic members of our Craft in the 18th and 19th century. Of these, the best known would most probably have been Daniel O’Connell who once defended the Craft, the basis of which he described as Philanthrophy unconfined by Sect, Nation, Colour or Religion.

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Annual Ballycarry Masonic Breakfast to Raise Funds for RNLI.

Ballycarry Advertising Poster.

Ballycarry Advertising Poster.

Brethren its that time of year to roll your hard boiled eggs down a near-by hill and enjoy all the festivities associated with Easter. It is also the time to pile into your Cars early in the morning of Easter Monday and make your way up to the Ballycarry Masonic Hall, where you can join with the Brethren of Redhall Masonic Lodge No 260 I.C. and help the local Brethren to raise funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Ballycarry Masonic Hall.

Ballycarry Masonic Hall.

We are very grateful to Mrs Yolanda McClintock for her permission to host a short movie produced by Yolmac Studio recording the origins and twenty five year history of the R.N.L.I. station, set up at Neds Point, Buncrana in 1988. This movie will speak for itself and will clearly show why we all should step up to the plate and give as much as we can afford to support this marvelous organisation. It was Sir William Hillary, founder of the R.N.L.I. who described the new Lifeboat Service and its Members as – “With Courage, Nothing is Impossible”. At the Centenary of the R.N.L.I. held in 1924 Sir Winston Churchill took up the same theme and described the outgoing Lifeboat and its crew as – “It drives on with a courage which is stronger than the Storm. It drives on with a mercy, which does not quail in the presence of Death. It drives on as a proof, a symbol, a testimony that men are created in the image of God, and that valour and virtue have not perished”. These Brethren are the men and the women who deserve as highest support as they bravely face out in all weathers to do what they can to save the lives of those in peril on the sea. And strange as it may be to believe, but the R.N.L.I. depend on our voluntary donations to buy the boats, the equipment and the support structures needed to get their volunteers safely out to all those locations around our coasts, where they put their lives on the line to save our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

Some of the Attendees from 2011.

Some of the Attendees from 2011.

And once you have enjoyed the Breakfast in the Dining Room, paid your money and made your donations, then spend a few minutes and look round this interesting old Lodge-Room. Here you will see old jewels, illuminated addresses, early Lodge photographs and old items of railwayana. Take a drive up through the village, where you will find some interesting wall murals including one on the gable of Millar’s Bar, an establishment which has survived in the village since the year 1754.

Millar's Bar dating from 1754.

Millar’s Bar dating from 1754.

It was in an upstairs room of this old Hostelery that Ballycarry Lodge No 1014 used to meet. Indeed it was in that very room that the famous Weaver Poet, Freemason and United Irishman became a member of Lodge 1014 and used to entertain his Brethren with some of his Masonic poems and songs, once the official Masonic business had concluded.

The Millar's Plaque.

The Millar’s Plaque.

Just up, at the top of the street, you will find the old Templecorran graveyard, where you will find the Orr Memorial. This was a monument put up a few years after Orr’s death and largely paid for by his Brethren in the many local Masonic Lodges in the District and further afield. This monument has just been extensively refurbished, and again the Freemasons of Antrim made a substantial donation to the overall cost of doing the work.

The Orr Memorial.

The Orr Memorial.

Some Details from The Masonic pediment.

Some Details from The Masonic pediment.

The Final Orr Plaque.

The Final Orr Plaque.

So Brethren, treat your families, enjoy a good breakfast, support a worthwhile cause, visit the sites around Ballycarry, and then if you need further excitement, take the family to the Rinka and treat them to the best Ice-Cream in Ireland.

Bro Bob.

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Very Excellent Companion Harry Thompson – Excellent King of The Irish Chapter of Research.

Very Excellent Companion Harry Thompson EK of The Irish Chapter of Research.

Very Excellent Companion Harry Thompson EK of The Irish Chapter of Research.

The New Excellent King and Council of The Irish Chapter of Research No 222 I.C.

The New Excellent King and Council of The Irish Chapter of Research No 222 I.C.

At a meeting of The Irish Chapter of Research held in Arthur Square a couple of weeks ago, Very Excellent Companion Harry Thompson, the out going Master of The Irish Lodge of Research, was Installed as Excellent King of The Irish Chapter of Research No 222 I.C.

Some of the Visiting Dignitaries.

Some of the Visiting Dignitaries.

Three of the Excellent King's Present.

Three of the Excellent King’s Present.

Group Photograph.

Group Photograph.

I’m sure you will join me in wishing Very Excellent Companion Harry Thompson a busy and enjoyable year in Office for 2014-15.

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TLC Craft Fair in Ballynahinch.

Poster Ballynahinch Masonic Hall Charity Fair.

Poster Ballynahinch Masonic Hall Charity Fair.

The Brethren in Ballynahinch Hall in Co Down ran a very successfull Craft Fair today between the hours of 10-00AM and 4-00PM at which they hosted some fifteen various stall and provided tea, coffee biscuits and snacks to a large number of visitors to the Hall. Preliminary indications suggest that to date some three hundred and forty five pounds were raised on the day.

TLC Craft Fair Ballynahinch.

TLC Craft Fair Ballynahinch.

So far one picture of the event has come to hand, showing the stall of Ms Ruth Kelly, who had a busy afternoon with her customers. Once again we congratulate all concerned for another successful fund raising effort in support of this worthy charity. TLC gifts small teddy bears in sealed sterile bags to Accident and Emergency hospital units throughout the Island of Ireland, and these are then given out by Hospital staff to every small child who has to be admitted to A & E for treatment. In this way, they are able to give the children a gift that will distract them, and stop them worrying about the treatment that they may have to receive. In the Northern Province, it costs in the region of £ 37,000-00 per year to fund the demand for bears, and it is thanks to efforts, such as that in Ballynahinch that we are able to meet these financial targets. Indeed, if we could run two such events, as at Ballynahinch today, every week of the year, then we would be well on the way to meeting our financial requirements. Or put another way, we need at least one hundred and Four Lodges to run such events in the Six Counties to meet our commitments. So Brethren, lets do our bit to support Rt Wor Bro Richard Grey and his team on the Northern Organising Committee of TLC, as they work to raise the necessary funds to keep this initiative expanding and growing for the future.

Tiny Ted on a Visit to St Anne's.

Tiny Ted on a Visit to St Anne’s.

And finally Brethren, our warmest thanks to the Brethren of Ballynahinch for setting up such a useful marker for the future.

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Little Ted Learns How to Use a Radio.

A Meeting Of Minds ?
On the weekend of Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd March The Irish Radio Transmitters Society held their Annual General Meeting and Trade Show in Galway. Teddies For Loving care were the chosen Charity for the after dinner raffle raising over €300. On Sunday members of Lodge 14 accepted the offer of a stand in the Trade Exhibition to publicise and sell more Teddies. Given that a picture tells many words:- see below our stand at the trade show. Much interest was shown and further follow conversations will take place.

TLC Galway 1

TLC Galway 1

Amateur Radio is a hobby of constructing, experimenting and communicating. A licenced radio amateur can operate two-way radio equipment from almost anywhere, and can talk across town or around the world. There were a number of masons at the show not all of whom knew each other. It poses the question?- are there more enthusiasts out there who would like to make contact and develop a Masonic radio lodge? If so–Contact Steve Wright at 087 2451218 or wrights1@eircom.net for more information.for radio heads … Callsign is EI5DD

The Galway VHF Group was formed in 1983 with a thriving membership to date from both the City and surrounding areas…

The Galway VHF Group regularly provides Emergency Communications in conjunction with the safety and emergency services for Sporting Activities such as, Hill-walking , The Head of the River, The Galway Regatta, The Ultra Marathon, Equestrian Events, Car Rallies, Croi Cycling or walking events, and the West Coast Wheelers Cycle in Loughrea under the umbrella of the Amateur Radio Emergency Network. We have worked together with the Galway City and County Civil Defence units during many of these events. On many occasions we have bridged the gaps between several units of Civil Defence out in the hills of Connemara, thus keeping them updated and appraised of any developing situations throughout the event. Whilst active at these events we do work very much in the background to ensure the rapid deployment of Emergency services to the location or scene of an accident. For more information about the Galway VHF Group, the Amateur Radio Emergency Network or if you would like join the Galway VHF Group – Contact – Steve Wright at 087 2451218 or E-mail wrights1@eircom.net

Welcome to the 82nd AGM of the IRTS and Trade Show Hosted By Galway VHF
The IRTS is the National Society for Radio Amateurs and Experimenters in Ireland. Its purpose is to promote the study of radio communications, to encourage radio experimentation, to provide services to its members and to represent their interests both nationally and internationally.
IRTS is the member for Ireland of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), and is affiliated to IARU’s Region 1. The IARU represents the interests of the Amateur Radio Service worldwide.

Membership of IRTS is open to all. There are no paid employees: administration and all other work done by its officers and members on behalf of the Society is done on a voluntary basis. Why not Join Us!. Traders Supporting this Trade Show included
Maplin Electronics WESCOM
South East Communications Radio Trader
Long Communications Wills Electronics
091 labs Galway Airsoft Supplies
The IRTS Membership Stand
Mayo Radio Experimenters & Galway VHF Group Bring and Buy Stand
Teddies for Loving Care ( Charity for the Children’s A & E )

TLC Galway 2

TLC Galway 2

We are particularly pleased to learn that Rt Wor Basil Fenton and his team continue to promote Irish Freemasonry in a range of different venues within the South Connaught area. I know that the local organiser’s for Teddies for Loving Care ( TLC ) and the Brethren from Lodge 14 were particularly pleased to have this opportunity to participate in this occasion for the invitation to participate, and are very grateful to the membership of the Irish Radio Transmitters Society ( IRTS ) for their generous invitation to attend.

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The Treasures in a Small Country Lodge Room in Down..

Cargycreevy Masonic Hall.

Cargycreevy Masonic Hall.

Brethren, I had the great pleasure on Wednesday past in visiting the Brethren of True Blue Lodge No 606 I.C in their magnificent Hall located in the parish of Cargycreevy in the County of Down. This area has been home to Warrant 606 I.C. for the last 232 since its Constitution in the year 1782. We find in the Minutes of The Grand Lodge of Ireland a reference to the fact that at a meeting of Grand Lodge held on the 1st August 1782, Warrant No 606 was issued to Cabra near Lisburn, Co. Antrim to Bros James. McMaster; James. McKibben and John Dawson, to hold a Lodge of Freemasons.

Detail from The Master's Chair.

Detail from The Master’s Chair.

Cargycreevy is a small country Lodge-room, that has been made rather special by the activities of one Brother, the Secretary of Lodge 606 – Wor Brother Jim Halliday, who has spent most of his Masonic career collecting a wide variety of Masonic artifacts. And the outcome of all this hard work can be seen in the shelves and display cases distributed throughout the Dining Room, on the second floor.

One of the Display Cases.

One of the Display Cases.

And Another.

And Another.

And Another.

And Another.

And Yet Another.

And Yet Another.

Jim’s work is to be commended, and he has been able to preserve an amazing cross-section of Masonic artifacts within the Hall. They are a great reminder to all the Members of the great tradition of Irish Freemasonry within the District. That is not to say that there are not many items of Masonic interest within the Hall, as this picture of the back wall of the Hall will illustrate.

The Back Wall.

The Back Wall.

One of the interesting aspect of the Hall is shown in this photograph of Wor Bro Jim Halliday and in the background are the framed certificates of his Grandfather, his Father his own certificate and his Son’s certificate. Some four generations of the same family in the same Hall.

JIm Halliday and the Family Certificates.

JIm Halliday and the Family Certificates.

Brethren, one of the joy’s in visiting is that you never really know what treasures you will find in the Lodge Room and Environs, of the Lodge that you are visiting. When in Ireland, the one thing you do know, is that you will always get a very warm welcome from wherever you may be and that very much proved to be the case on Wednesday night. And in the midst of all the various items on display was one very rare early Irish Masonic jug from the period of the foundation of the Lodge.

Unusually Coloured Early Lodge Jug.

Unusually Coloured Early Lodge Jug.

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Bi-Centenary St John’s Masonic Lodge No 121.

Bi-Centenary Circular Lodge 121 I.C.

Bi-Centenary Circular Lodge 121 I.C.

On Friday last, we had the great pleasure of attending the Bi-Centenary celebrations of St John’s Lodge No 121 I.C., which was held in the Masonic Centre, Belsize Road, Lisburn. On the 2nd December 1813, Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes received a memorial from Brothers William. Stewart, Richard Mussen and Matthew McCreedy , all members of Lodge No 811, praying Grand Lodge for a Warrant to hold a Lodge in Ballymullan, Co. Down. At the meeting of Grand Lodge on the 6th January 1814, Warrant No 121 I.C., was issued to Bros Wm. Stewart, Senr., Richd. Mussen and Mat McCreedy to form a Lodge in BALLYMULLAN, Lisburn, Co. Antrim. This is the Lodge that we come together on Friday night to celebrate their achievements in passing the two hundred year of services mark, to Irish Freemasonry.

The Lodge Stewards.

The Lodge Stewards.

And what a celebration it was. The members and guests were met at the main Entrance by the Lodge Stewards, who gave everyone a glass of champagne and a warm welcome to an enjoyable evening. We then made our way to the T.V. room where the Lodge J.W. Bro Robbie Hodgeon was taking photographs of all the guests and their partners.

Wor Bro Frankie Hanna W.M.

Wor Bro Frankie Hanna W.M.

The evening kicked off with a few words of welcome from Wor Bro Frankie Hanna, the Bi-Centenary Master of St John’s. Then we were all served with a marvellous roast beef dinner with all the trimmings. After the meal and dessert had been served and consumed, then we received a short summary on the history of St John’s Lodge No 121 I.C. from Rt Wor Bro John Dickson Provincial Grand Master of Antrim. Rt Wor Bro Dickson gave a comprehensive review of the past two hundred years in the Lisburn area, and his presentation was well received by all present.

P.G.M.  in Action.

P.G.M. in Action.

Next to speak was Wor Bro Frankie Hanna W.M. who drew attention to the attendance of the three oldest Brethren in the Lodge. These were Bros Harry Lewis who joined the Lodge in 1957, Wor Bro Henry Morrell Murphy joined in 1951 and the oldest surviving Brother Wor Bro Cecil Corken who joined way back in 1945. Together these three Brethren have given one hundred and eighty nine years of service to the Lodge. Together they were invited to cut the Bi-Centenary cake along with Bro Gary Gilmour, the youngest member of the Lodge, who joined in June 2013. The four Brethren were taken up to the table and presented with a Calvary sword to cut the cake, and get their photographs taken. Then we all got an opportunity to sample the excellent cake.

Cutting the Cake.

Cutting the Cake.

Shortly thereafter, the Brethren present retired briefly and put on their Masonic regalia. They then were piped back into the Dining Area by Wor Bro Jim Halliday and the Provincial Grand Master was invited to present Bi-Centenary jewels to the Brethren of the Lodge. The W.M. received his first then the three senior Brethren got theirs followed by the remaining Brethren in the Lodge. Then the Brethren were piped back out and a few record photographs were taken of the occasion.

P.G.M. Presenting the Jewels.

P.G.M. Presenting the Jewels.

Brethren we enjoyed a marvellous evening with our Brethren from St John’s Lodge number 121 I.C.. This is a Lodge which has played an important part in the growth and development of Freemasonry in the Lisburn district. It began life in Ballymullan, an area that eventually came under the control of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Down. Eventually the Warrant was moved into Lisburn and under the control of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim. And here it has remained ever since. So, in conclusion, we would wish continued success to the W.M., Officers and Members of St John’s Lodge No 121 I.C. for the next two hundred years.

The Lodge Photo.

The Lodge Photo.

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A Thought for Today 9th March 2014.

A Different View of You and I.

A Different View of You and I.

I read this extract in a recent posting from Middle Eastern Mason and it has certainly struck a chord with its simplicity and purity of thought. So I give you the following construct to mull over – What if our own mind is nothing more than our own Universe? and in that Universe exist billions of Galaxies. And What, if right now, at this very moment Stars are being born, and entire Galaxies are colliding with one another. Indeed some of our more knowing Brethren may say – As Above So Below.

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The Centenary Celebrations of The Irish Lodge of Research No 200 I.C.

A Detail from our Napkin.

A Detail from our Napkin.

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 Transfer of Power to Wor Bro Stephen A. Arnold.

The Transfer of Power to Wor Bro Stephen A. Arnold.

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.

A Gift to the Lodge.

A Gift to the Lodge.

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.

Our Centenary Wor Master.

Our Centenary Wor Master.

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 irishfreemason@yahoo.com.

Front of the Dinner Place-Mat.

Front of the Dinner Place-Mat.

Back of Dinner Place-Mat.

Back of Dinner-Place Mat.

Centenary Menu Card.

Centenary Menu Card.

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.

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TLC Charity Fair at Ballynahinch Masonic Hall.

Poster Ballynahinch Masonic Hall Charity Fair.

Poster Ballynahinch Masonic Hall Charity Fair.

The Brethren of Ballynahinch Lodge No 301 I.C. and Eden-na-vadie Lodge No 717 I.C. have come together to hold a Charity Craft Fair in their Hall at 1 Dromore Road, Ballynahinch BT24 8AY on Saturday the 5th April 2014 between the hours of 10.00AM and 4.00PM. The entrance fee for adults will be £ 1.00 as a minimum donation to the Teddies for Loving Care Charity that provides free TLC bears to all children admitted to A & E departments throughout the Island of Ireland. Here in the North, we require a minimum sum of £ 37,000-00 per year to fund the purchase of Bears in the North and the Brethren in the two Ballynahinch Lodges are doing their bit to help raise some of this amount.

Rt Wor Bro Richard Grey briefing our Editor.

Rt Wor Bro Richard Grey briefing our Editor.

The Teddy initiative only began back in the Summer of 2013, and has proved to be very successful in distracting Children as they wait for their treatment in the local A & E Departments. Rt Wor Bro Richard Grey has been the driving force of this initiative in the Northern Provinces, and it is good to see two of the Lodges in his Province playing their part in supporting this very worthwhile charity. So, We hope that as many of you as possible take your wifes and children along on Saturday the 5th April 2014 to the Hall at Ballynahinch and give your support to this very worthwhile event.

Masonic Hall Ballynahinch.

Masonic Hall Ballynahinch.

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Wor Bro Jim Penny in Hospital.

Jim Penny in Hospital.

Jim Penny in Hospital.

Brethren, earlier in the week I learned that Wor Bro James Penny, Provincial Assistant Grand Lodge Librarian of Antrim and Secretary of The Irish Lodge of Research No 200, had a nasty fall off a medium high chair and was admitted to Antrim Area Hospital. He was shortly thereafter moved to the Fracture Unit at the Royal Group of Hospitals and is currently residing in Ward 5E of that very fine establishment. Jim has managed to dislocate his right shoulder and has also cracked / fractured a bone in his arm. It has taken some time to build up a waist plaster suitable for supporting his injured arm, and consequentially, he will remain in hospital for a few more days yet. I’m sure if you are free, and bring grapes, Jim will be delighted to see you.

The management team from www.irishfreemasonry.com called with him on Saturday afternoon and spent an interesting hour in his company, whilst the hospital fire alarm was constantly ringing. Jim was in good form, considering his condition and was pleased to see us. When asked about his accident, he noted that his problems only started after Margaret removed the Junior Step to the front of his chair. As we arrived he had only just finished watching The Hobbit on Blue-ray and was ready for his lunch.

Jim’s mother lodge, Fergus 900 will be Installing their new Worshipful Master on Friday the 14th March 2014 and Jim is still optimistic that he will make it on the night. He is also looking forward to our next outing with The Irish Lodge of Research No 200, which will take place on Saturday the 26th April 2014 in Magherally Lodge No 203. This Lodge room is located at 67 Drumneath Road, a small second class road just off the main A1 Dromore to Banbridge road, about 2 miles outside Banbridge. On this occasion we all look forward to a paper on the two hundred year history of the Lodge as they celebrate their Bi-Centenary.
Brethren, I’m sure that you will all join with me in wishing Jim a prompt and pain free recovery, so that he will be well placed to play an important part in our ongoing Lodge of Research celebrations in 2014.

And spare a thought for some of our other Lodge of Research Members, who are also not enjoying the best of health at the moment. Amongst this number are Wor Bro John Kelly still on the mend, Very Wor Bro Wilson Thornton, Wor Bro Bill Howie from Sunderland and Wor Bro Sam Carson who will shortly be in hospital for a small operation.

Very Wor Bro Wilson Thornton.

Very Wor Bro Wilson Thornton.

Wor Bro John Kelly checking the time.

Wor Bro John Kelly checking the time.

Bill Howie and Margaret Penny.

Bill Howie and Margaret Penny.

Sam Carson & Caroline Lamont.

Sam Carson & Caroline Lamont.

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Visit by Grand Lodge of Ireland to mark 275th Anniversary of The Shamrock Lodge No 101, Athlone.

Advertising Brochure for Athlone

Advertising Brochure for Athlone

This is a very special year in the history of Shamrock Lodge No 101, Athlone as it celebrates the two hundred and Seventy Fifth anniversary of its Constitution in 1739. Grand Lodge issued Warrant No 101 to Athlone, County Westmeath on the 10th March 1738. It is believed that the three names on the Warrant were Edward Walsh Master, James Glynn S.W. and Miles McDonald J.W. However these names were scored out in pencil, at some time later. When Very Wor Bro Philip Crossle carried out his researches in the late 1930’s he came to the conclusion that the Warrant Constitution took place in 1739 and this date has been accepted by all, ever since. So Brethren, we too add our congratulations to the Worshipful Master, Officers and Brethren of Shamrock Lodge No 101 in achieving this excellent record of service to the Masonic Order.

Where to Find Athlone.

Where to Find Athlone.

The Masonic Hall at 9 Northgate Street, Athlone will be hosting tea and coffee at 10.00AM on Thursday the 6th March 2014, as it welcomes the Brethren attending the Grand Lodge of Ireland meeting in the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone at 2.30PM that afternoon. This gives the Brethren plenty of time and opportunity to inspect this fascinating old Hall and see the many items of interest on display. At 12.00 Noon there will be a Grand Lodge luncheon held in the Sheraton at a cost of £ 22.00 sterling or 25 euros. Should anyone still need tickets, they should contact either Wor Bros Nigel Foley Fisher – bffisher@eircom.net or David Cleland – springfieldlad@gmail.com to check availability.

A Useful Map of the Town.

A Useful Map of the Town.

Home of Shamrock Masonic Lodge No 101.

Home of Shamrock Masonic Lodge No 101.

Immediately after lunch, Grand Lodge will hold its meeting in one of the other function rooms of The Sheraton Hotel, as it takes this opportunity to acknowledge the 275 years of faithful service, given by the Brethren in Athlone to the Masonic Order in Ireland.

One of the interesting Artifacts.

One of the interesting Artifacts.

As most of you are probably aware, Athlone is located within the boundaries of the Provincial Grand Lodge of South Connaught, and their Provincial Grand Master – RT Wor Bro Basil Fenton and his team will be in attendance, to add their congratulations to the Brethren of Athlone, as they make the most of this significant milestone in the history of their Lodge. Some preliminary researches into the Grand Lodge of Ireland annual report unearthed the following interesting article –

Extract from the Grand Lodge Annual Report, 1939 :Lodge No. 101 -P.G.L., SOUTH CONNAUGHT. R.W. Bro. 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.

A Fascinating Old Masonic Chart.

A Fascinating Old Masonic Chart.

On Thursday the 6th March, our day will conclude with a further opportunity to visit the old Hall in Northgate Street where tea, coffee and biscuits will be available to all before they either set off homeward or retire to their evening’s accommodation. We know that there will be a few photographs taken during the day and hope that some kind Brother will e-mail us copies that we can host on the site for your further interest and education. Should anyone, who is attending the meeting, still require accommodation, they should contact Reservations at The Sheraton Hotel – reservations@sheratonathlonehotel.com where they can learn about availability, costs, bookings etc.

It is worth recording at this point that our Brethren in South Connaught have had a busy year in 2013 as they worked together to get the new Freemason’s Hall An Triantan, Bothar an Choiste, Castlegar, Galway, finished for its Official Opening last year. We would like to congratulate Basil and his team on a job well done and wish the Brethren of Premier Connaught Lodge No 14 a long and trouble free existence in their marvellous new facilities. They certainly have much more space now than they had in the old Hall at Prospect Hill, which was claimed by our Galway Brethren as the smallest Lodge Room in Ireland. Having had the pleasure of visiting the Lodge Room in Clonmel, home to Donoughmore Lodge No 44, I would have to say that there was little difference in their two rooms. Nonetheless, I’m sure that you will all join with me in hoping that both Lodges and their membership prosper for many years to come.

Bob

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The World is Not Enough.

Run-Up to CC Centenary 06.02.14

Run-Up to CC Centenary 06.02.14

Brethren, as the recent viewing figures from www.irishfreemasonry.com clearly show, our Masonic Brethren around the globe are waiting in anticipation, to learn of the forthcoming Masonic Celebrations to mark one hundred years of authentic Masonic Research in the Irish Constitution. As the big day quickly approaches, all of the last minute preparations are completed and the die is cast for a great weekend of Masonic revelry in the city of Dublin, which will also be full of Welsh Rugger men trying to stop Ireland, in the Six Nations. But enough of sport. Today I was off to the wilds of Belleek, to take possession of the fabulous Belleek Centenary plates, based on the 1868 patented designs of Wor Bro Robert Armstrong, the General Manager of Belleek Pottery at the time.

The Lodge of Research Centenary Plate.

The Lodge of Research Centenary Plate.

It was a beautiful sunny day in Fermanagh, and on the way down I made a small detour to go and visit the Janus Statue, an amazing slab of Fermanagh rock that was carved and set in position some 5000 years ago. Who needs the Pyramids, when we have so many magnificent monuments spread across the Provinces of Ireland. It has been sitting quietly on Boa island, on the banks of Lough Erne, and is probably one of the most spiritual locations in Ireland. The statue has been carved with faces on either sides. The name Boa is thought to derive from Badhbh, Irish goddess of War, seeing past and future. One fascinating feature of the figure is the fact that people still leave tribute, in the form of coins etc on the adjacent stones around the carved stone.

The Ancient Figure of Janus

The Ancient Figure of Janus

As I was driving along the shores of Lough Erne, my eyes spotted the famous Bay Cottage, with its fine example of a raised compass and square in plaster, a clean sign that in years past one of the local Lodges would have met in the cottage.

Bay View Cottage, Lough Erne.

Bay View Cottage, Lough Erne.

See the Lodge Symbols Painted Over.

See the Lodge Symbols Painted Over.

A few moments later, I drove up one final hill and arrived in Belleek. As usual the door to The Church of Ireland Parish Church was ajar, so again I parked up and walked over to view the magnificent stained glass window, installed by the Belleek Company, to mark the 150th anniversary of the church. The window is a celebration of the Village and again, is a beautiful piece of work.

The Belleek Window.

The Belleek Window.

And, as recorded elsewhere on this site, it has a number of Masonic references, once you examine the detail. Belleek are a company with a long history of support for the aims and aspirations of the Masonic Order, and this is one of the reasons that I was keen to continue this relationship and use their undoubted design capabilities to produce a remarkable memento of our Centenary Celebrations. It is still not too late to purchase a plate ( sadly now, only available for collection on the island of Ireland,) for the princely sum of £ 60.00 sterling or 70 euros. It is a piece of Irish history linking directly back to that first famous design of Robert Armstrong. Each plate comes with a copy of the original 1868 explanation written by Bro Armstrong to explain his design. And around the rim of the plate are all the necessary symbols associated with the three degree system used in Irish Freemasonry.

At this point Brethren, I would just like to record the names of a few good friends who will not be with us on Saturday. One dearly missed Brother will be Wor Bro Lance Dermott, who had been looking forward to this week-end for several months. Lance was an enthusiastic Mason, who attended CC regularly and will best be remembered for all his excellent work in ensuring the preservation of the Masonic jewels of Wor Bro Colonel Paddy Blair Mayne, the most decorated British soldier in the Second World War. Paddy died in a car accident on his way home from a Masonic Installation in the town of Newtownards. Thanks to the efforts of
Bro Lance, these jewels have been preserved on one of the walls of the Mayor’s Parlour in the town of Newtownards. Sadly, Wor Bro Lance Dermott was called to The Grand Lodge of Ireland, just before Christmas 2013, and was laid to rest, after a service in Down Cathedral.

Two other good friends who will be missing due to recent ill health and injury are Wor Bro Wilson Thornton a PM of Lodge CC and Wor Bro Bill Howie, our long suffering Scottish Englishman. Both of these Brethren are very active in the Lodge, and will be sadly missed, by all present on the day. Other missing friends include Wor Bro John Acaster, from QC Lodge 2076 E.C. and the irrepressible Wor Bro Paddy Belton, who earlier in the year ran all the way from Malin Head, the most Northerly point in Donegal, all the way down hill to Mizen Head in the south western corner of South Cork.

Paddy and Friend at the Start of his Marathon.

Paddy and Friend at the Start of his Marathon.

Brethren, the hour is getting late, and we’ve a long way to drive in the morning. So I will bid you all fair wind until our return. One senile old Sage has been regaling us all evening with tales of doom and gloom, as we apparently are driving down Dublin Way into the Perfect Storm, weather wise. But destiny calls, and we will follow our Star, wherever it takes us. And we will bring you all a full report early next week.

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A Visit to Zion/Sion Lodge No 144 I.C. Kilkeel.

the Lodge-Rooms at Kilkeel.

the Lodge-Rooms at Kilkeel.

I am very grateful to Worshipful Brother Richard Graham, Secretary of Zion Lodge No 144 I.C. for his very kind assistance in organising my visit to the magnificent Masonic Centre in Kilkeel. This is one of the most comfortable and well kept Masonic Halls in the Constitution and is well appointed to meet the needs of the local Brethren. We need to go back some two hundred and twenty one years to find the origins of Freemasonry in the town. On the 2nd February 1792 Grand Lodge received an application from Brothers Isaac Lee, John Kirkpatrick and Captain Alexander Chesney to hold a Lodge in Kilkeel, Co Down.The Minutes confirm that Grand Lodge approved the issue of Warrant No 755 I.C. to the three named Brethren above. Unusually no other names were recorded on the Grand Lodge membership registrars for this Lodge, and the Warrant was eventually cancelled by Grand Lodge on the 7th October 1813.

Capt Alexander Chesney.

Capt Alexander Chesney.

One of these Brethren would go on to play an important role in the ongoing development of Freemasonry in the Mourne area,and that Brother was Captain Alexander Chesney. You may be interested to learn that The Journal of Alexander Chesney is one of the most important eye-witness documents concerning the American Revolution during the years 1775-1782. The Journal together with a comprehensive introduction were published in 1921 by the Ohio State University under the title : Journal of Alexander Chesney, a South Carolina Loyalist in the Revolution and After.

THE JOURNAL OF ALEXANDER CHESNEY may be divided into four parts, namely, (1) the account of Capt Chesney’s family connections and of the migration of his father, Robert, with wife and children, from County Antrim, Ireland, to the Pacolet river, South Carolina; (2) Alexander Chesney’s’ experiences in the Revolution up to April 5, 1782; (3) his life, after his return to Ireland, as a loyalist applicant for relief and compensation; and (4) his career as a revenue officer at Mourne, Ireland, up to about the year 1821. It is still available in print and can also be found on the internet, for those of you who are interested.

The Old Smoke RAC Smoke Seal from Kilkeel.

The Old Smoke RAC Smoke Seal from Kilkeel.

A second Warrant No 840 I.C., known as the St John’s Lodge was issued by The Grand Lodge of Ireland to Bros Owen Faloon, Nathaniel Moore and James Forsythe to hold a Lodge in Kilkeel on the 7th July 1796.This Lodge survived the 1798 Rebellion and was recorded, still working in Kilkeel in the year 1809. It was shown in Grand Lodge records as working briefly in Newcastle in 1823 However from 1834 onwards the Lodge held all of its meetings in Newcastle. This arose as a result of a dispute between the W.M. and some of the Brethren in Kilkeel. As a result, the W.M. took his horse and cart to Kilkeel and brought all the Lodge property to Newcastle, where the Lodge continued to meet. Eventually Grand Lodge recognised the situation that existed and regularised the move to Newcastle. The Warrant would remain there until the year 1847, where it was Returned to Grand Lodge. During its time some one hundred and thirty six Brethren had been registered to the Lodge.

Internal View of the Kilkeel Lodge Room.

Internal View of the Kilkeel Lodge Room.

Now we return to Brother, Captain Alexander Chesney, who with Brothers Thomas Spence of Lodge 116 America and Robert Nugent of Lodge 933 IC. applied to Grand Lodge, requesting the issue of a Warrant to hold a new Lodge in Kilkeel. Grand Lodge acceeded to this request and issued Warrant No 144 I.C. on the 6th September 1810. The Brethren called their new Lodge Zion, an interesting choice, which has caused much debate ever since. Unlike his first Lodge, there were some nine Brethren registered as Members of 144 in it’s first year of existence.

This Lodge may be a continuation of Lodge No. 755 in that the name Alexander Chesney is common to both. In the records of the Grand East of Ulster under 27 December 1809 and on 24 June 1811 records show £3. 5s. 6d. on account from this Lodge. On the other hand Grand Lodge Report for the same period under “Received for Warrants” one finds:- “No. 144, Kilkeel £4. 11s. 0d.” [£4.55] the full price of a new Warrant.It would appear that while originally they thought to follow Seton they immediately applied to Grand Lodge to keep themselves regular. The Grantees are unusual in that, Bro. Alexander Chesney, Lodge No. 697, had been in America for a number of years, Thomas Spence of No. 116 America (Union Lodge No. 116 held at Charlestown, South Carolina under the “Moderns”) and Robert Nugent No. 933, Ballybot, Newry. The earliest Minute extant are those commencing 1826 and from these we find that the Lodge still has the set of officers jewels, from Brush of Dublin originally purchased by the Founders in 1812.

The Brush Jewels.

The Brush Jewels.

Records show that the Lodge worked both the Royal Arch and Knight Templar Degrees, the last record of this ceremony shows as 24 December 1867. When in 1826 Grand Lodge halted all meetings for eighteen months, the Lodge suffered very badly and the records show many letters to Grand Lodge. Very few meetings were being held but by 1831 the Lodge had rallied. The Lodge, from time to time, conferred all three Degrees on a Candidate and the last time this is recorded is 3 August 1877 when the Lodge was fined £1 by Grand Lodge for such an action.

One particularly interesting Lodge artefact is the little Masonic moneybox, designed and modelled by Bro Samuel Smith of Kilkeel. On one side is the legend : Be truthful, Be law-abiding, Be merciful, Be Just and on the the other face, tied in with the relevant symbols are the words Be circumspect, Be upright, Be hopeful, Be constant andalong the spine is the useful advice – Press me gently, not too hard, And your patience I’ll reward.

The Kilkeel Moneybox.

The Kilkeel Moneybox.

Brethren this is an old Lodge with a long and proud history. Over the years it has had many interesting members, amongst who were the son of Captain Alexander Chesney. This was Francis Rawdon Chesney who went on to achieve the rank of General in the British Army. It was he who produced the initial feasibility study on the Suez Canal, and spent time surveying the Euphrates Valley. His Officer’s Dress Sword hangs over the Entrance door to the Lodge Room and his portrait hangs on one of the walls.

General Francis Rawdon Chesney.

General Francis Rawdon Chesney.

Another well known member of the Lodge was Francis Needham, 4th Earl of Kilmorey, who passed through the chair of the Lodge in the 1920’s. He served in the Shropshire Light Infantry in 1901 and was promoted to Lieutenant in 1902. A month later he transferred to the Life Guards as a second Lieutenant and by 1907 had reached the rank of Captain. He resigned his commission in 1911. When War began in 1914, he returned to the Army during the First World War reaching the rank of Major. In 1930 he transferred to the Royal Navy and was appointed a Captain in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and became the second Commanding Officer of HMS Caroline, This was the first of a class of light cruiser, that took part in The Battle of Jutland, and after the First World War, she ended up in Belfast, where she has stayed ever since. She was launched in 1914 and a few months ago in 2014, she was finally took off the Royal Navy List and handed over to the National Museum of the Royal Navy ( NMRN ), securing some £ 12,000,000-00 of development funding, which will now be spent carrying out necessary repairs. You may all be interested to note that there is a portrait of the 4th Earl still hanging in the Officers Wardroom on the Caroline, where you will all be able to see it, in due course, when the Ship is re-opened to the public on the Centenary of The Battle of Jutland on the 31st May 2016.

Brethren, if you get the opportunity, then arrange with the Lodge Secretary to attend a meeting in this fascinating Hall, where you will enjoy an evening of Masonic entertainment.

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Lodge CC, Yeats and Sligo.

The Masonic Centre, Sligo.

The Masonic Centre, Sligo.

The November meeting of The Irish Lodge of Research No CC is usually arranged, to give our members the opportunity to stay over and visit, an area that we would not normally be in. In this case we had the opportunity to visit Benbulbin, Drumcliffe, Glencar Waterfalls, Sligo and then out to The Yeats Country Hotel, Rosses Point,where those of our travelling Lodge members, present were staying for the week-end. As usual, we had a lively crew present. And in their midst, we were pleased to welcome, one new Brother, whom we hope to see a lot more of, at future meetings.

Bro Roland Spottiswode.

Bro Roland Spottiswode.

The Yeats Country Hotel is well appointed and most of the crew turned up downstairs on the Friday evening to enjoy the craic and the roaring open fires, which threw out a glorious heat as the evening progressed. It was one of those interesting evenings with a number of fascinating conversations taking place across the various bars, lounges and seating areas. I’m not too sure where else you would find people discussing W.B. Yeats, examining a curious Masonic sash and meeting one of the lead animators on Pink Floyd’s The Wall animation. So who says that the Irish Lodge of Research does not have a diverse membership.

The Hunter Sash

The Hunter Sash

The sash is a beautiful velvet item, with numerous symbols, familiar and less familiar. It has two sets of numbers embroidered into the material and curiously, one explanation for these may be that they relate to two separate Grand Lodge of Ireland Warrants issued to the town of Castlebar, just down the road in County Mayo. Within a triangle is the number 12 which may refer to Warrant No 12 Granted on the 1st August 1828 to Bros George Knox, Joseph M O.Donnell and Francis H Wright to hold a Lodge in Castlebar. This Warrant only worked for a short time, before it was Cancelled by Grand Lodge on the 4th January 1844. Similarly we find the number 146 also embroidered on the sash, which may refer to The Lucan Lodge No 146 Castlebar, a Warrant issued by The Grand Lodge of Ireland on the 29th December 1845 to Bros Thomas Christie, Edward C Bourke and Ford Langston. These three Brethren along with seven others, all of whom had been members of the defunct Lodge 12, held their first meeting on the 3rd February 1846 in Castlebar. Sadly, this second Lodge survived for an even shorter period of time, as this Warrant was also cancelled by Grand Lodge on the 4th July 1850, probably as a result of The Great Famine, Cholera outbreaks in the Castlebar district in 1849 and the ever present loss by emigration.

The Turtle Dove.

The Turtle Dove.

The sash itself, is of exotic manufacture, and is reminiscent, in some ways of Aboriginal or Polynesian art. Clearly in the example shown, the Dove aspect of the famous Noah’s ark story, has not come across as clearly as the Turtle aspect. The entire sash is full of greenery as the next illustration will demonstrate, although most of you will recognise the three burning tapers and the letters W.T. and the Pillars J & B.

Part of the Floral design.

Part of the Floral design.

Sligo, has been a centre of Freemasonry for many years and has had many senior Masons coming from the town. People like Arthur P. Jackson and the Venerable Archdeacon Francis E Clarke both Members of QC London and both past Provincial Grand Masters of the Provincial Grand Lodge of North Connaught. Francis Clarke, in particular was a very prolific Masonic Researcher with a number of interesting articles published in the early volumes of QC. Arthur Jackson, himself a Masonic author published the definitive history of Freemasonry in the Sligo area in the early 20th century. This rare work was one of the first articles presented to the nascent Irish Lodge of Research, after its formation in 1914, and was amongst the first of the papers read to that Lodge. One other prominent Sligo author, associated with the Craft was Wor Bro W.G Wood Martin M.R.I.A., author in 1895 of the seminal book “Pagan Ireland “.

An Irish Masonic Bone Box.

An Irish Masonic Bone Box.

One of our earliest surviving Irish Masonic Catechisms is the famous Trinity College MS dating from the year 1711. This has been extensively described in the works of Douglas Knoop, G.P.Jones and Douglas Hamer entitled The Early Masonic Catechisms. Of particular interest to us today is the following short extract :- Where do you keep the key of ye Lodge? In a box of bones within a foot and a half of ye Lodge door. Here Brethren is a fine example of an Irish Bone Box, one of a few still surviving in the North Connaught Provincial Grand Lodge area. Amongst other fascinating artifacts are the old original Lodge Chest, complete with the three locks used by Master, Senior and Junior Warden of Light of the West Lodge 20 I.C., which still meets to this day in Sligo Town.

An Old Lodge Chest used by Light of the West.

An Old Lodge Chest used by Light of the West.

Other exciting items stored in the Hall include this ornate watered silk
apron as shown below.

Watered Silk Apron.

Watered Silk Apron.

Then we have an original Triangle of Lights as used by The High Knight Templars, as an integral part of their working.

Triangle of Lights.

Triangle of Lights.

Brethren, as you can see, we enjoyed a Masonic treat in Sligo, and were well looked after by both the Provincial; Grand Lodge of North Connaught and the Brethren from its constituent Lodges. I can only recommend a visit to this historic hall, where you will find many more items of Masonic interest. In the meantime you can see more of the contents in our photo gallery from the visit.

Our Hosts.

Our Hosts.

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Update on the Cary & Dunluce Masonic Charity Breakfast.

Excellent Companion Gardiner Kane.

Excellent Companion Gardiner Kane.

Brethren, we are very grateful to Excellent Companion Gardiner Kane for bringing us up to date on the outcome of the Cary and Dunluce Masonic Charity Breakfast, which was held in the Bayview Hotel, Portballintrae, and covered in a recent blog entitled “A Very Busy Weekend“. This event was well supported by both local and visiting Brethren and raised a total of some two thousand six hundred pounds to support the work of our local charities.

At a modest ceremony earlier today representatives of The Alzheimer Society and the Multiple Sclerosis Society UK received cheques in the sum of Thirteen Hundred pounds each to support the on-going works of their organisation’s. In both cases, the charity representatives present, expressed their delight at this further substantial support from the Cary & Dunluce Masonic Charity Committee. The local press were well represented and detailed reports of the day, complete with photographs will be found in the forthcoming issues of the Coleraine Chronicle and the Ballymoney Times.

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The Passing of Wor Bro Victor Faulkner.

Daddy
Brethren,

I’m sure that you will all join with me in conveying our heartfelt sympathy to Mrs Yolanda McClintock, on the death of her father Victor at 1.25 am on Saturday 7th December. Yolanda and the family circle were down at his bedside over the last few nights, and Victor passed on to The Grand Lodge Above in the bosom of his family.

Wor Bro Victor Faulkner was a Derry Man born and bred, who moved with his family to Portrush in 1969, where he took over the running of a grocery and general store, which he called Joy’s Cash Store. Victor had been a furniture salesman most of his life and whilst living in Derry, learned his trade in McMeekins, and Hills Furniture Stores, both located in the town.

After a few years working with his late wife Joy in Joy’s Cash Stores, he then returned to selling furniture for Messrs McConkey and Gould in Coleraine. He would eventually move to Simpson & Hills, where he spent the rest of his working career, until he retired.

Victor was an enthusiastic Mason, a member of Union Lodge No 1008, Portrush and also R.A.C. 1008, and after making his way through the offices and serving as W.M., he then went on to serve as Lodge Chaplain for many years. He was a regular attender at Lodge meetings, and it has only been in the last few years, as his health deteriorated, that he was unable to attend. However Victor enjoyed great support from the Lodge, with a few of the Brethren visiting him from time to time and keeping him updated with all the news from the Lodge. I know that Yolanda really appreciated this dedication and support to her Father and wishes to thank the Lodge members and in particular Wor Bro Kevin Smith.

Victor showed great pride, firstly when his son-in-law Chris McClintock followed him into the Craft and then again when his grandson, Matthew McClintock who lives in Dundee, became a Scottish Freemason.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not here; I did not die.

Brethren, Yolanda gives freely of her time and expertise in the setting up and running of this website, and I know that many of you have met her at various Masonic functions throughout Ireland. Her father Victor was very proud of all her Masonic connections and loved to hear about the places she had visited and the Masons that she met. Indeed, it was Yolanda who specifically asked that the new Masonic endeavour of supporting Teddies for Loving Care be the recipient of donations.

Now that Victor has passed over, we would all offer our sympathy and support to Yolanda and the rest of the family circle. It takes time for the family to adjust to the new circumstances, and to get used to the fact that he has indeed moved on. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time.

Arrangements for the funeral service are as follows. The service will take place in Portrush Presbyterian Church at 1.00PM on Tuesday the 10th December 2013. The undertakers are Hugh Wade and Sons, Coleraine (028 7034 3438) and the family will welcome donations to the Teddies for Loving Care charity in lieu of flowers. All donations, in the first instance should be sent to Hugh Wade and Sons.

Bob Bashford.

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Update on The Widow’s Sons.

At the Provincial Grand Lodge of Down Stated Communication on Saturday 23rd November 2013, Widows Sons Ireland were able to present their first charity cheques, just six months after being formed. The first cheque for £500, was presented by Wor Bro Victor Keenan, their President, to V.Wor Bro Barry Brewster for Ovarian Cancer Research and the second, for £150 was presented by Wor Bro Martyn Boyd, their Vice President, to the Prov. Grand Master of Down for the TLC Teddies charity.

Pictured below are some of the Widows Sons who were present at the Communication; V.Wor Bro Joe Murdock (Prov. Grand Treasurer), Wor Bro Martyn Boyd (Vice Pres), Wor Bro Alan Earle (Secretary), Wor Bro Victor Keenan (President) shaking hands with V.Wor Bro Barry Brewster, Rt Wor Bro David Selby, Prov Assistant GM and ( Chairman) and Bro Richard Webber.

Some of The Widows Sons Present.

Some of The Widows Sons Present.

Their initial presentations were very well received by the charities and by everyone present. They hope to be able to increase the level of funds they can distribute as they grow stronger and more active. Sincere thanks to every Brother who has joined Widows Sons Ireland and supported their efforts to date. We are very grateful to Wor Bro Martyn Boyd, Vice president of The Widow’s Sons for keeping us all briefed on their progress to date.

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Derry Antiques & Collectible Fairs, Bishop Street, Londonderry.

Freemason's Hall, Bishop Street, Londonderry.

Freemason’s Hall, Bishop Street, Londonderry.

Welcome to the former Bishop’s Palace, the heart of which was built in 1753 for Bishop Bernard. It was said to have been virtually rebuilt when the Earl Bishop Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol was appointed Bishop of Derry and Raphoe in 1768. This was the building that eventually came into the ownership of The Freemasons of Londonderry in 1945 and has, since then become the centre of Freemasonry in the city.

Mosaic in Floor at the Entrance.

Mosaic in Floor at the Entrance.

The Ground Floor of the Masonic Hall, including the Reception, Dining Room and the Over-Spill Dining Area were all pressed into use, to provide stand space for the many curio and antique dealers who were in attendance.

Stalls in the Reception Area

A View of the Main Dining Area.

And for those who want a coffee.

And for those who want a coffee.

And our thought for the day.

And our thought for the day.

Brethren, it was great to see our Masonic facilities, in the center of one of of our major cities, providing an excellent venue and bringing non masons into our building. Once again we are in a Win-Win situation, bringing finance into the Hall, bringing non-masons in to view our facilities and providing a warm, safe and dry venue for the many stall holders participating in the event.

Lodge Pin for Commercial Lodge No 164 I.C.

Lodge Pin for Commercial Lodge No 164 I.C.

My only disappointment of the whole day, was the discovery that the Lodge Pin being sold at the Club facilities on behalf of Commercial Lodge No 164 I.C., had in fact sold out before my arrival. I’m going to have to find a contact number for the Lodge Secretary, and see if any more pins are still available.

A View of the Peace Bridge at Night.

A View of the Peace Bridge at Night.

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Kilwaughter Masonic Lodge No 762 presents 60 Year Bar.

Wor Bro Joe Boyd

Wor Bro Joe Boyd

Kilwaughter Lodge No 762 held a memorable meeting on the 13th November 2013 when they marked sixty years of service to the Masonic Order by Wor Bro Joe Boyd, their oldest surviving member. A good turn-out of Brethren braved the awful weather and came along to the Larne Masonic Centre for an evening of enjoyment, reflection and celebration.

Rt Wor Bro Jack O. Dunlop P.A.G.M. Antrim.

Rt Wor Bro Jack O. Dunlop P.A.G.M. Antrim.

Our Guest of Honour for the evening was Rt Wor Bro Jack O. Dunlop Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Antrim and a personal friend of Wor Bro Boyd. He addressed the Brethren at length, telling us all that Wor bro Joe became a Member of the Lodge in 1953, the year that the Kilwaughter Lodge was Constituted. Wor Bro Joe’s father Joe ( Sen) was one of the Foundation Members of the Lodge and now Joe’s son Joe ( Jun ) is also a Member of the Lodge, maintaining the family tradition of Masonic service.

Lodge Board with List of Founders.

Lodge Board with List of Founders.

Rt Wor Bro Dunlop mentioned a large number of the memorable events from 1953 and ended up with Joe’s reception into the Lodge in November 1953. He then presented Wor Bro Boyd with a sixty year bar for his 50 year service jewel and a certificate recording the details of his 60 year service.

Presentation of the Sixty Year Certificate.

Presentation of the Sixty Year Certificate.

I then had the opportunity to say a few words to Wor Bro Boyd and present him with a small gift on behalf of the Lodge. Then Wor Bro Boyd was returned to his seat and received a salute from all present. Wor Bro Boyd thanked all the Brethren for their salute and his remarks were given a standing ovation by all present.

Wor Bro Tony Baillie brings Scottish Greetings.

Wor Bro Tony Baillie brings Scottish Greetings.

Wor Bro Tony Baillie, Secretary of Stranraer Kilwinning Lodge No 208 S.C. and his party, brought greetings to Wor Bro Joe Boyd from all at Stranraer Kilwinning and congratulated him on his sixty year service. They referred to Joe’s many friends in the Stranraer Kilwinning Lodge and brought hearty good wishes for his continued good health and happiness. Tony and Joe were instrumental in developing the strong Masonic links between Stranraer and Larne, and earlier this year, Tony received a small presentation from the Kilwaughter Brethren, to mark his fourtieth annendance at a Kilwaughter Installation meeting.

Commemorative Plaque.

Commemorative Plaque.

One other Scottish Brother, Wor Bro Joe White had come across from Scotland at the weekend, to spend a couple of days in Larne before tonight’s celebration. He and his wife had been out in the company of Joe and Muriel when he had taken ill and had ended in the Antrim Area Hospital. He was still in Hospital tonight but is now well on the way to recovery. He had asked a local Brother to make a presentation to Joe on his behalf. Joe was given an ornate glass plaque with the inscription – ” Congratulations Joe on Sixty Years in Kilwaughter Masonic Lodge No 762 from 1953-2013. Best Wishes from Wor Bro Joe White”.

Some of the Brethren present.

Some of the Brethren present.

After the close of the meeting, some photographs were taken and these can be seen in the attached picture gallery. Then it was upstairs for an excellent finger buffet provided by Wor Bro Marty McToal and his staff from Martys Catering Services, Larne. We had a great evening relaxation, with a raffle to raise funds for the Lodge widows, and a very enjoyable Social Hour ensued. Wor Bro Joe Boyd expressed his satisfaction at the success of the evenings events.

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A Very Busy Week-End.

Morning Brethren and Greetings from the North East corner. The pace of life has certainly been busy over the last few days, what with work commitments, family matters and of course Masonic Meetings. Our weekend began on Friday evening, when I had the great pleasure to attend the annual Social Reunion meeting of Royal Blue Masonic Lodge No 754, Coleraine, as a guest of Wor Bro Chris McClintock. There was a large attendance of Antrim Masons present, led on this occasion by Rt Wor Bro Jack O. Dunlop Provincial Assistant Grand Master of Antrim.

Rt Wor Bro Jack O. Dunlop A.P.G.M. Antrim

Rt Wor Bro Jack O. Dunlop A.P.G.M. Antrim

And the reason for this good turn-out was the fact that Wor Bro Chris McClintock, PM of Royal Blue Lodge No 754 is off next Thursday, as the guest of the Freemasons of Florida, where he will speak at length on his excellent and well researched book – The Craft and the Cross. Many of the Brethren present wished Chris God Speed and Good Luck as he takes the story of Irish Freemasonry half way around the globe.

Wor Bro McClintock and Friends at 754

Wor Bro McClintock and Friends at 754

After a few hours sleep it was off to the annual Cary and Dunluce Masonic Charity Committee breakfast in the Bay View Hotel,in the village of Portballintrae, Co Antrim. Here again, was an event that attracted supporters from all across the Province of Antrim. Amongst those present were the Provincial Grand Master of Antrim Rt Wor Bro John Dickson, the past Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Antrim Rt Wor Bro Dennis Millen and the District Grand King of Antrim Most Ex Comp Jon McA Pollock, all looking remarkably fresh for 9.30AM in the morning. Other attendees including Rt Wor Bro Jack O. Dunlop and his security team. Also in attendance were Wor Bros James McGookian, Gardiner Kane, George Baker, Andrew Bingham, Gordon Chestnutt and Martin McLean to mention but some of those present.

Rt Wor Bros Dickson, Millen and Pollock.

Rt Wor Bros Dickson, Millen and Pollock.

One particular visitor, who travelled all the way from Kilwaughter to be present was Wor Bro Joe Boyd. Joe will be receiving his 60 year bar to mark 60 years of continuous Masonic endeavour at a meeting of his Lodge Kilwaughter Lodge No 762, which meets in the Larne Masonic Centre, Millbrae, Larne. This Lodge was Constituted in 1953 and Joe is the only surviving Foundation Member. I’m looking forward to meeting up with Joe on Monday night at a meeting of The Olive Lodge No 467 Doagh, where I shall be presenting a short power-point on Freemasonry in the Six Mile Valley.

Wor Bro Joe Boyd and his good lady wife.

Wor Bro Joe Boyd and his good lady wife.

I must take this opportunity,to mark the excellent work being done in recent years by Wor Bro Trevor Kane and his staff at the Bayview Hotel in Portballintrae, who has provided his premises, staff and facilities to support the Cary and Dunluce charity committee. So, when next, you are out touring around the North Coast of Antrim and need either food or accommodation, then please take a run down to Trevor and his team, and they will meet your every requirement in a very satisfactory manner.

Wor Bro Trevor Kane.

Wor Bro Trevor Kane.

Then it was off to Limavady for a quick visit to the temporarily opened British Legion shop in Catherine Street, Limavady. Here Robert and his team from the Legion were all hard at work, raising funds to support our injured service personnel.

The Limavady Legion Shop.

The Limavady Legion Shop.

The Limavady Wreath.

The Limavady Wreath.

By now it was nearly lunch time so we left Limavady behind and made our way to the Foyle Bridge and then on, over the border via Buncrana to the annual Remembrance Ceremony at Fort Dunree in Inishowen. We had the great pleasure of attending the dedication of this War Memorial a few years ago and always try to attend, if at all possible. Fort Dunree was one of a ring of defensive forts located around Lough Swilly when it was used by The Royal Navy as a safe anchorage for the Grand Fleet. It was a hive of activity during the First World War and sadly, has a number of war graves in the immediate vicinity. The largest number were sailors and marines from the Laurentic, which sank on the 25th January 1917, in the midst of a severe gale, after steaming into a German minefield, laid at the mouth of Lough Swilly. Nearly 1000 local people from Inishowen, including the Irish poet Patrick McGill, served with the British Forces in the First World War, and the Dunree War Memorial commemorates all of the local Inishowen people killed during the War.

Report from the Inish Times.

Report from the Inish Times.

Some of the Royal Naval Contingent present.

Some of the Royal Naval Contingent present.

Arrival of the Colours

Arrival of the Colours

In Remembranceof All the Fallen.

In Remembranceof All the Fallen.

Its at times like this that we should all stop for a moment and think of all those Masonic Brethren, amongst many others, who served, were injured, or in many other cases died, so that we all can continue to enjoy the freedoms that we all have today. Here we have the words of the Kohma Prayer which read – When you go home, tell them of us and say, For your tomorrow. We gave our today.

They shall grow not old,

They shall grow not old,

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.

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District Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Antrim visits Portrush.

District Grand King being welcomed to Portrush.

Most Ex District Grand King being welcomed to Portrush.

As part of the ongoing centenary celebrations of Union RAC Chapter No 1008, Portrush, they invited the District Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Antrim to hold one of their meetings in Portrush, as a mark of their Chapter achieving one hundred years of continuous work, under the auspices of the District Grand Chapter of Antrim.

Portrush Masonic Hall.

Portrush Masonic Hall.

Our Most Excellent District Grand King – Most Excellent Companion Jon.McA Pollock was pleased to accept this invitation and brought District Grand Chapter to the town on the 28th October 2013. The new Masonic Centre at 20 Dunluce Street could not accommodate the numbers expected, so the Portrush Companions made the necessary arrangements to use the newly refurbished main auditorium in the historic Portrush Town Hall building.

Portrush Town Hall

Portrush Town Hall

Portrush Town Hall was designed by Lanyon, Lynn & Lanyon, and built by Thomas Stewart Dickson of Larne. It is an excellent example of high Victorian municipal architecture in a very prominent location – one of the best buildings in Portrush, and in many ways a symbol of the town. It had fallen into disrepair in the 1990’s, but was completely refurbished and upgraded in the intervening years. It now provides an excellent venue to host the meeting of District Grand Chapter on the North Coast.

Meeting Room - Portrush Town Hall.

Meeting Room – Portrush Town Hall.

The meeting was well attended by both local and visiting Royal Arch Masons and much business was transacted. Reference was made to the celebrations of Union Royal Arch Chapter No 1008, and all agreed that they had enjoyed a memorable Centenary year.

Some of the Senior Officers present

Some of the Senior Officers present

Portrush Visit.

Portrush Visit.

The last formal event of their Centenary will be a social evening in Portrush Masonic Center on the evening of Saturday the 16th November 2013. .

Entertainment and refreshments will be available on the night, so come along and you will be made most welcome

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Ex Companion Vic Bashford.

Excellent Companion Vic Bashford.

Excellent Companion Vic Bashford.

AT THE ANNUAL CONVOCATION OF THE PROVINCIAL GRAND CHAPTER OF NORTHAMPTONSHIRE AND HUNTINGDONSHIRE, THE MOST EXCELLENT GRAND SUPERINTENDENT, EXCELLENT COMPANION WAYNE WILLIAMS, HAD A SURPRISE UP HIS SLEEVE FOR THE ELDEST COMPANION PRESENT.

This was 92 years old E Comp Frederick (Vic) Bashford, a member of St Ivo Chapter No. 2684, Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire Chapter of First Principals No. 3422 and Ailwyn Chapter No. 3535, who is one of the few surviving WWII veterans who were recently awarded the Arctic Star campaign medal.

During the Second World Cpl Vic Bashford, as a young Royal Air Force Electrical Fitter, was involved in Force Benedict, a secret mission to protect the northern Russia port of Murmansk, that was a crucial lifeline to the Soviets. The aircraft, the first 39 of nearly 3,000 Hurricanes supplied, were transported in August 1941 by the Aircraft Carrier HMS Argos and SS Llanstephen Castle in the first Arctic convoy between the UK and Russia.

Throughout the War 104 merchant ships and 20 Royal Navy ships were lost in the Arctic Convoy duties but fortunately, E Comp Bashford survived this ordeal and was able to be present at the meeting and enjoy the presentation by the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent of his Certificate of Meritorious Service for unstinting service over many years to the Holy Royal Arch.

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A Visit to Aladdin’s Cave.

The Rosemary Street Museum.

The Rosemary Street Museum.

One of the most enjoyable duties that I have in Irish Freemasonry is that of Librarian and Curator of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim’s library and museum based at their Provincial headquarters building at 15 Rosemary Street, Belfast. After the recent fire in the adjacent property, I finally got into the Hall yesterday and spent some time updating the catalogue of contents in the museum. And as always happens, I was struck by the depth and ranges of our collections from the sublime to the ridiculous.

1731 Warrant Lodge 7.

1731 Warrant Lodge 7.

As an example I would refer to Warrant No 7, issued in the year 1731 under the signature of Thomas Griffith Grand Secretary, one of the oldest, if not the oldest surviving Irish Warrants in existence.And it goes without saying, that it is also one of the seven earliest Masonic Warrants issued in the world. It would be another twenty years before the Grand Lodge of the Antients began to issue Warrants and then the Grand Lodge of the Moderns finally followed after. And sitting a few feet from this world class treasure, is another unique item, the Belfast Butter Boats, two table decorations from a dinner in the 1920’s when Rt Wor Bro Sir Robert Baird ( Past Grand Treasurer of Ireland ) used some army chefs to make the boats to dress the table at a dinner in The old Scottish Mutual Building in Belfast. At that time this was one of the meeting places for Freemasonry in the city of Belfast. The boats were made in butter, and kept in shape with ice. Some bright spark coated them with shellac varnish, and now nearly 100 years hence,they still survive to this day.

One of the Belfast Butterboats.

One of the Belfast Butterboats.

And the collection has such depth, that we also have a well executed sketch of the memorial window, on the theme of The Good Samaritan that was made in stained glass and installed in St George’s Parish Church, Belfast, in memory of the late Rt Wor Bro Sir Robert Baird.

Sketch of the Baird Memorial Window.

Sketch of the Baird Memorial Window.

By now, you will have realised the amount of diversion that occurs, when you visit a collection like that in Rosemary Street. Something always catches your eye. In my case yesterday, it was this next item that caught my eye.

Tyler's Register Antartica Lodge No 777 N.Z.

Tyler’s Register Antartica Lodge No 777 N.Z.

A framed newspaper report from 1935 recording the first Masonic Lodge to be convened in Antartica. The Minutes of this first Lodge Meeting read as follows : February 5th 1935 – Minutes of the First Antartica Lodge No 777, held in the mess-room of the Expedition Ship S.S. Jacob Rupert anchored at the Ice Barrier in the Ross Sea, Latitude 78 -00 South Longitude 173-30 West. The Lodge was tiled at 9.30 PM and the following officers and brethren were present.

The Lodge opened in the First Degree, and as this was the first and presumably the only meeting of the Lodge, the Secretary reported that there was no correspondence requiring attention. The Wor Master, Bro G.M.Mitchell then delivered a lecture on the First Degree Tracing Board. The Lodge was closed in peace and harmony at 10.30 PM and at the request of the Junior Warden, all were invited to remain and partake of some refreshments.

Brethren, I hope you have enjoyed looking at a very few of the many items preserved in the Rosemary Street Museum. I would ask you all, to keep an eye open, at home or in Lodge for similar items, that deserve to be better known to the Masonic Brethren at large, and if you find any such, then please let me know at the usual e-mail address which is irishfreemason@yahoo.com

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A Short History of Felicitas Lodge No 760 I.C.

Felicitas 760 Crest.

Felicitas 760 Crest.

Warrant No. 760
22 Oct. 1952 – Printed form of Memorial for a new warrant to meet at Rosetta, Belfast and to have the title “Felicitas Lodge” – Memorial signed by twenty brethren from various Lodges and recommend Donald C. Carley (P.M. 577) as first W.M.; Samuel J. Allen (577) as S.W. and John W. Thomson (577) as J.W. and the Memorial was recommended by Lodges 577, 457 and 347 and the P.G.M. of Down.

List of Lodge Founders

List of Lodge Founders

From the Minutes of the G.L. Board of G.P.
Lodge 760
19 November, 1952 – Read Memorial from various brethren praying for a warrant to establish a Lodge in Rosetta in the County of Down to be called the Felicitas. The Memorial was recommended by Lodges Nos. 347, 457, 577 and by R.W. Bro. Sir William Robinson, JP., P.G.M. of Down. Recommended.
G.L.M. 4 December, 1952 – Confirmed

In ancient Roman culture, felicitas (from the Latin adjective felix, “fruitful, blessed, happy, lucky”) is a condition of divinely inspired productivity, blessedness, or happiness. Felicitas could encompass both a woman’s fertility, and a general’s luck or good fortune.[1] The divine personification of Felicitas was cultivated as a goddess. Although felicitas may be translated as “good luck,” and the goddess Felicitas shares some characteristics and attributes with Fortuna, the two were distinguished in Roman religion.[2]Fortuna was unpredictable and her effects could be negative, as the existence of an altar to Mala Fortuna (“Bad Luck”) acknowledges.[3]Felicitas, however, always had a positive significance. She appears with several epithets that focus on aspects of her divine power.

Front Entrance Rosetta Hall.

Front Entrance Rosetta Hall.

Warrant 760 was Re-issued to `Felicitas Lodge’ in Freemasons’ Hall, ROSETTA, BELFAST, 4 December 1952.

Series five Vol. 20 shown as Vol. 5 of the extant Grand Lodge Registers shows:-
Warrant No. 760 to Rosetta, Belfast as “Felicitas Lodge” 4 Dec. 1952
Donald C. Carley, Librarian (577); Samuel J. Allen, Agent (577) and John W. Thomson, Contractor (577) registered along with seventeen others from various lodges, 4 Dec 1952

Crest p.g.l. Down.

Crest p.g.l. Down.

From the Minutes of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Down:-
An Occasional Communication of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Down was held in the Masonic Hall, Park Road, Belfast, on Tuesday, 29th. May, 1953 at 6.30 o’clock p.m., for the purpose of Constituting and Dedicating the “Felicitas” Masonic Lodge No. 760. The Prov. Grand Master, R. Wor. Bro. Sir William Robinson, JP., presided and was accompanied by R.W. Bro. Wm. Keith, FSAA., Assistant Provincial Deputy Grand Master.

Other Officers in attendance were:-
V.W. Bro. W.A. Shooter, P.S.G.W.
V.W. Bro. Frederick Ewing, P.J.G.W.
V.W. Bro. Sydney Hanna, MBE., P.G. Treasurer
V.W. Bro. R.S.C. Davison, P.G. Secretary
W. Bro. Glynne Davies, P.G. Chaplain
W. Bro. W. Clarke, P.S.G.D.
W. Bro. J.H. McGowan, P.G.J.D.
W. Bro. S. McIlveen, MRIAI., P.G. Supr. of Works
V.W. Bro. D.G. Wilson, P.G. Dir. of Cer.
V.W. Bro. E. Hodgett, JP., P.G. Dir. of Cer.
W. Bro. J.H. Towell, P.G. Dir. of Cer.
W. Bro. W.J. Mitchell, P.G. Junior Stwd.
W. Bro. J. Duff, P.G. Swd. Br.
W. Bro. G. Hulatt, P.G. Stwd. of Charities
W. Bro. James Shannon, P.G. Org.
W. Bro. A.V. Froggatt, JP., P.G. Org.
W. Bro. J. Copeland, P.G.M’s St. Br.
W. Bro. Jos. Kelly, P.G. St. Br.
W. Bro. J.M. Davidson, P.G.I.G.

[Apologies were received from a number of P.G.L. Officers]. The roll of Officers was called and the attendance recorded. The Provincial Grand Lodge was opened in due form on the First or Entered Apprentice Degree.
Grand Honours were accorded to the Right Wor. Provincial Grand Master under the direction of V.W. Bro. D.G. Wilson, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies.

The Circular convening the Meeting was read. The ceremony of Constitution was carried out according to ancient usage. At the request of the Provincial Grand Master, W. Bro. the Revd. Glynne Davies, Provincial Grand Chaplain, addressed the Brethren of the new Lodge. He suggested that the first essentials in their new Lodge should be punctual and regular attendance and the correct carrying out of the Ritual of our Order, this would impress all those who attended the Lodge Meetings. He also emphasised that our Masonic Charities should be their constant care and should be well and continuously supported, in conclusion Br. Davies wished them all happiness and success in the future.

The Provincial Grand Master then Installed W. Bro. Donald C. Carley as Worshipful Master of Lodge 757, and he, in turn, Installed his own Officers.
A vote of thanks was proposed by Bro. S.J. Allen, S.W., seconded by Bro. J.W. Thompson, J.W. and conveyed to the Rt. Wor. Provincial Grand Master and Officers of the Provincial Grand Lodge for carrying out the Ceremony of Dedication.

In his reply the Provincial Grand Master said that it was a great pleasure for him to be present and to welcome the new Lodge to the Province. He commended to their earnest consideration, the remarks which had been addressed to them by the Rev. Bro. Davies, and added that they would benefit greatly in the correct carrying out of the Ritual by attendance at one of the Classes of Instruction, which were doing such good work in this sphere.
At the conclusion of the business of Lodge 760 the Provincial Grand Lodge Officers resumed their places and the Provincial Grand Lodge was then closed; Peace, Love and Harmony prevailing. The Officers of the Provincial Grand Lodge were afterwards entertained at Dinner by the Members of the newly Constituted Lodge.

The Lodge had twenty-one Foundation Members and W. Bro. D.C. Carley was the first Master. Bros. S.J. Allen and J.W. Thomson the Wardens, Bro. J. Ballentine the Treasurer and W. Bro. E. Saunders the Secretary. Thirteen of the Founder Members were members of Lodge No. 577.

Series six Vol. 23 of the extant Grand Lodge Registers shows:-

Warrant No. 760 to Rosetta, Belfast as “Felicitas Lodge” Register commences with the registration of Ralph Winsby, Manager, registered 17 October, 1953. A total of 110 brethren registered up to 20 October, 1984. In most cases the dates when the issue of certificates is shown, together with the occupation of the brother.

Attendance 19th October 2013.

Attendance 19th October 2013.

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Long Distance Runner Arrives in Longford.

Paddy Gets a Surprise.

Paddy Gets a Surprise.

It was a glorious, sunny autumnal day yesterday, and your editorial team set off by car from Coleraine to catch up with Wor Bro Paddy Belton, as he ran the 28 miles between Ballinamore in County Leitrim to Longford in County Longford. Some hours later, after a bit of nifty navigating, we managed to get ahead of Paddy and get the cameras set-up to await his arrival. As you will see from his expression he was delighted and surprised at our unexpected arrival, to join him, so far from home.

An Irish Welcome.

An Irish Welcome.

As we met with Paddy some ten kilometers from Longford, we had a few brief words with him, and then left him to his run and headed on down into Longford to meet up with Wor Bro Norman Good. Norman is the Secretary of Edgeworth Lodge No 76 Longford, which can trace its history back to the year 1743, when the Right Hon Charles 2nd Lord Tullamore, Grand Master of Ireland signed their original Warrant. Interestingly, this was the first time that Edward Spratt appears in our records as Deputy Grand Secretary, at the start of a long career in the administration of Grand Lodge.

The 1743 Warrant to Longford.

The 1743 Warrant to Longford.

As some time had now passed, we drove to the outskirts of Longford and again set up our cameras to await Paddy’s arrival.

Paddy's Arrival at Longford.

Paddy’s Arrival at Longford.

Now its Official.

Now its Official.

On his way down into the town centre, we got him to call at the Masonic Centre in Longford, where he was officially welcomed to the town by Wor Bro Norman Good Provincial Grand Steward of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Meath and Secretary of Edgeworth Lodge No 76.We took a few more photographs to mark the occasion which you will find below.

Outside the Masonic Centre in Longford.

Outside the Masonic Centre in Longford.

Norman and Paddy at the Main Entrance.

Norman and Paddy at the Main Entrance.

Paddy makes it to the Chair in Longford.

Paddy makes it to the Chair in Longford.

As we gave Paddy a moment to catch his breath, we took the opportunity to listen to Norman telling us a little about the history of Longford. He pointed out a number of items of interest including the original Warrant, the framed letter of thanks received from Queen Victoria, in acknowledgement of the greetings received by her from the Brethren of Longford on the occasion of her visit to Ireland at the close of the 19th Century.

Paddy at his Ease.

Paddy at his Ease.

Brethren, I’m sure that you will join with me in wishing Bro Paddy continued success as he sets off this morning from Longford on his run to Athlone in the County of Westmeath. On his way down Paddy will pass through a network of pretty back lanes,which weave through rich pastures, leading from small communities hidden away on the gently sloping shores of Lough Rea to villages known by their association with the poet and dramatist Oliver Goldsmith. This was the area where his famous poem The Deserted Village was based – “Sweet Auburn, lovliest village of the Plain.”

You can read more about Paddy’s fund raising efforts for Macmillan Cancer Support or make a donation to help him reach his target at www.justgiving.com/runpaddy

A Last View of Longford.

A Last View of Longford.

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An Update on Masonic Charity in Coleraine.

Distribution of Charity Funds.

Distribution of Charity Funds.

As the result of a recent fundraising barbeque, held in the town, two cheques were distributed to two very worthwhile local Charities. Wor Bro Noel Bell, the current Master of Royal Blue Masonic Lodge No 754 hands over a cheque to Martin Maclaine of The Samaritans. Wor Bro Adam Davidson, Secretary of Vernon Lodge No 127 hands over his Lodge cheque to Wor Bro, the current Master of The Albert Edward Lodge, Coleraine – Raymond Pollock, who was there representing the NI Children to Lapland Trust.

Children Heading to Lapland.

Children Heading to Lapland.

The big story this week, in the Coleraine Times was the news that Teddies for Loving Care have now arrived at the Causeway Hospital A & E Department. Here we find some good coverage of the Launch of the TLC project for Londonderry and Donegal in Coleraine some weeks ago when a large sum was donated by the Province to fund the purchase of bears. The bears themselves arrived at The Causeway Hospital earlier this week. As we can see from the photograph, one young patient was delighted to meet Big Ted and friends.

Big Ted at The Causeway.

Big Ted at The Causeway.

Brethren, I hope that this short article will help to remind us all of the ceaseless Charity works carried out by our Members, Lodges, Provincial Grand Lodges and indeed The Grand Lodge of A.F.A. Masons of Ireland, on a regular basis. Since our earliest beginnings Charity has always been a central strand of our Order, and our Brethren in Coleraine are, like so many others within the Order, trying to make life better for others less fortunate.

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The Start of The Malin to Mizen Long Distance Run.

Wor Bro Padraig Belton U.G.L.E.

Wor Bro Padraig Belton U.G.L.E.

A remarkably cheerful Wor Bro Paddy Belton, arrived at Banba’s Crown Malin, around dawn on Tuesday the 1st October 2013, to begin his 400 mile marathon from Malin to Mizen. It was quite stormy at the Head, but stayed quite dry as we were joined by a couple of Members from Moville Lodge No 297 I.C. and Wor Bro Chris McClintock from a Coleraine Lodge – Royal Blue Lodge No 754 I.C. Wor Bro McClintock, had declared a willingness to run with Wor Bro Paddy, in response to a spontaneous gift of money to Paddys appeal to raise funds for the MacMillan Cancer Support.

Paddy's Support Team.

Paddy’s Support Team.

As the Starting Time approached, one could see the beginnings of a competitive streak in Wor Bro McClintock, and it was not that very long until the Starter – Ms Yolanda McClintock called them both to order and invited them to take their places. At one point, it looked like Bro Chris was seeking assistance from above.

Get Ready

Get Ready

By now everyone was starting to get into the spirit of the race.

Get Steady.

Get Steady.

And then, suddenly, it was all over.

Go, and Paddy was Gone.

Go, and Paddy was Gone.

I’m sure you will join with me Brethren and wish Paddy God Speed on his long and tiring trek. He ran the 33 miles to the Legendary City of Culture, where I met up with him last night, and we spent some time chatting about his travels. You will see this interview in the neat future.
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TLC Launch in the Masonic Province of Antrim.

 Some of the TLC Team with their Stall

Some of the TLC Team with their Stall

We had a well attended meeting of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim, on Monday night past, in the Masonic Centre, Belsize Road, Lisburn. The Northern Organising Committee under Rt Wor Bro Richard Gray were in attendance to brief the Antrim Brethren on the introduction of Teddies for Loving Care to a number of Hospitals throughout the North. As most of our regular viewers will know, we covered the launch of TLC a couple of weeks ago when Teddies were brought to Craigavon A & E Department and to The Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. Since then more Teddies have been introduced to the A & E Department of the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine last week, and will be introduced to the A & E units in Antrim Area Hospital, The Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry and to the Mater Hospital in Belfast, as this week progresses.

Rt  Wor Bro Jack and The Sales Team.

Rt Wor Bro Jack and The Sales Team.

As an old Sales Director, Rt Wor Bro Jack O Dunlop found it hard, not to join the Sales Team and assist them in their labour. However, the Brethren did’nt have to wait long on the arrival of a good number of keen customers, all wanting to purchase large Teddies, small Teddies, pin badges etc, all attractively priced to encourage sales and support the works of TLC. Once the main presentations to the Provinces are complete, the Committee Members will be quite happy to make presentations to the individual Lodges, as they try to maximise the support of the Brethren at Large.The evening was well attended with a number of well known Brethren, some of whom, can be found below.

Some Foreign Grand Representitives.

Some Foreign Grand Representitives.

The Grand Representatave from Ghana.

The Grand Representatave from Ghana.

Wor Bro James Kissack and Wor Bro Tommy Young, both from Clough.

Wor Bro James Kissack and Wor Bro Tommy Young, both from Clough.

Rt Wor Bro J.O.Dunlop's Security Team.

Rt Wor Bro J.O.Dunlop’s Security Team.

Brethren, if you should wish to acquire Teddies Tie-tacs and other items of memorabilia, or arrange a Lodge visit, then please contact the Office at 115 The Mount Belfast, where your requirements will be satisfied.

A Surviving Star from The Old Press Lodge, Belfast.

A Surviving Star from The Old Press Lodge, Belfast.

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Fun at Felicitas No 760 I.C.

The Right Hand of Fellowship Seal from Felicitas

The Right Hand of Fellowship Seal from Felicitas

Brethren, I am very grateful to Wor Bro Wesley Chapman, Past Master and Secretary of Felicitas Lodge No 730 I.C. for his kind invitation to attend the Lodge and make a presentation on Masonic History. This is one of the Lodges that meet in the Rosetta Masonic Hall, located on the Park Road in Belfast, and my invitation was part of an ongoing programme of events, planned to help them celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the formation of their Lodge in the year 1953. On the night, it was a select gathering in attendance in including Rt Wor Bro Roger Matthews Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Down, and one of our enthusiastic Lodge of Research Brethren – Wor Bro Jim Halliday from True Blue Lodge No 606 Cargycreevy. Another notable present was the Secretary of the Widows Sons Masonic Bikers Association – Wor Bro Alan Earle.

Wor Bro Alan Earle.

Wor Bro Alan Earle.

Once the Lodge meeting was over and supper was consumed, I then was given the floor, and had my opportunity to address the Brethren. I introduced myself and presented the story of our origins with references to The Baalsbridge Square in Limerick in 1507, the Bog Oak Medallion in Enniskillen 1514, Thomas Paps Freemason plaque in St Nicholas’s C of I church Carrickfergus and Stennor and his Stone in Bangor Abbey. The Carrick chair got a mention with one suggested translation of the letters A.J.R.K.C.B. which may be translated as the owners initials A.J.R. Knight, Companion and Brother.

Treasurer, Charity Steward, Rt Wor Bro Matthews, W.M and Wor Bro Jim Halliday.

Treasurer, Charity Steward, Rt Wor Bro Matthews, W.M. and Wor Bro Jim Halliday.

I did not however touch on the history of Lodge 760 I.C. This Warrant was first issued to the village of Benburb on the 5th April 1762, where it would remain until Grand Lodge cancelled the Warrant in 1845. Grand Lodge only took this action as it had no correspondence from Benburb in the preceding three years. The Warrant then remained dormant for some one hundred years until twenty Brethren from South Belfast made application to Grand Lodge to form a new Lodge.

Letter of Application to Grand Lodge

Letter of Application to Grand Lodge

This application was supported by Lodges 577, 457, 347 and The Provincial Grand Lodge of Down. Sadly the only surviving Lodge from that time is McMordie Memorial Lodge No 457 I.C. which also sits in the Rosetta Hall, Belfast. The Foundation Master was Wor Bro Donald C. Carley, and his Senior and Junior Wardens were Bros Samuel J.Allen and John W. Thompson respectively. The Lodge was Constituted by Rt Wor Bro Sir William Robinson JP. Provincial Grand Master of Down who carried out the Constitution at an Occasional Meeting of P.G.L., before Wor Bro Carley opened the new Lodge and then invested his new Officers. The Foundation Members of the Lodge selected a very suitable name – Felicitas – which can be understood as meaning Fruitful, Blessed, Happy or Lucky.

The Brethren at Felicitas.

The Brethren at Felicitas.

Brethren, it was a fascinating evening, which I enjoyed thoroughly. As always when you visit a Lodge, you always learn something unexpected and interesting about either the Lodge or its members. The surprise last night, was the great interest expressed by several members of the Lodge about their love of and interest in Steam trains and journeying thereon. Their Worshipful Master, Wor Bro Higgins was a true enthusiast, as indeed was their Wor Brother Secretary. I was able to explain a little about the lodge-rooms currently in use by Aghadowey Lodge No 316 I.C. This Lodge is based in the old Engine Shed built by the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway Company, as part of the Magherafelt – Coleraine branch line off their Derry Central Line.
This old Lodge-room has a selection of railwayana, and alternatively one can visit the Ballycarry Lodge-rooms of Redhall Lodge No 260, where one can inspect the old railway lanterns once used on the Larne Line.

wesleylettingoffsteam

wesleylettingoffsteam

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Some Food for Thought.

Brethren, what follows is an un-credited article that I have found on a number of other web-sites. So with due recognition to the unrecorded author, I bring you this fascinating and thought provoking article :-

Like many “rational” Freemasons, your humble editor is a little reluctant to place too much credence on the “evidence” that suggests our Gentle Craft goes back to the times of antiquity, preferring to believe that it got its start at about the beginning of the 18th century in England – or perhaps a little earlier in Scotland.

The stories of Solomon, the two Hirams and other ancient “founders” of our fraternity make for wonderful myths and form the basis of our ritual, but they can’t be taken seriously, can they? Then something like the illustration below comes along and we “rationalists” are left wondering …

Alfius Statius Burial Memorial

Alfius Statius Burial Memorial


This is the funeral monument of a prominent Roman, one Lucius Alfius Statius, from the period of the early Empire—around the birth of Christ. It was found in Aquileia, via Petrada, in north-eastern Italy.

Underneath the inscription are the seven tools of a Master Mason. Parallel to the lower edge of the writing, we see a gauge (regula) with measuring lines for different distances and lengths. At the left under it are a setting level and a plumb-bob with a cord. The compass (circulus), square (norma), setting maul (malleus) and five chisels (scalprum) or possibly sticks of chalk or charcoal.

Were these designs simply the “doodling” of the man who carved the stone – just an illustration of the tools he used in his business? Or did they have a deeper significance, an indication that the carver – or Lucius Alfius Statius – was a member of a fraternal organization already well-established two thousand years ago?

Nah! Couldn’t be. Could it? …

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Seamus Heaney – Son of the Soil.

Seamus Heaney portrait.

Seamus Heaney portrait.

It seems that poetry has been a bit of a theme lately in the blog section. It would be remiss, if we did not mark the passing of a world class word smith such as Seamus Heaney, who despite the many honour’s and awards that he was given, during a productive lifetime, he remained a son of the soil in his home parish of Bellaghy. It speaks volume’s about the man, that in those last few moments on earth, he had the overwhelming urge to send his wife one last farewell, written in one of his favourite classical languages – Latin – Noli Timere ( Do not be afraid ). Then he Passed On to the Grand Lodge Above.

St Mary's Chapel, Bellaghy

St Mary’s Chapel, Bellaghy

Having travelled widely and lectured around the globe, it is safe to say that his heart and soul remained in Bellaghy. He was a frequent returnee, who could be counted upon to support many local functions and events. He was a man who had spoken with Kings, Queens, Presidents, and many many academics. Yet when he returned to Bellaghy, he was equally at home with his friends and neighbours. Now he is at rest in a corner of the old graveyard of St Mary’s.

The Burial Plot of Seamus Heaney.

The Burial Plot of Seamus Heaney.

I went over this afternoon to the graveside and was surprised at the numbers arriving, visiting the grave and departing. The Chapel authorities had left out a few seats for visitors to the side of the grave, and as I sat for a moment contemplating the brevity of life, a thought struck me quite unbidden ( I thought somehow the plot would have to be bigger to contain such a big intellect). But clearly ashes to ashes, dust to dust, we really only leave our spirit and memories behind. In the case of Seamus, his published work will ensure that his memory will be reveared for many many years to come.

The Peatman Memorial and Heaney Centre, Bellaghy.

The Peatman Memorial and Heaney Centre, Bellaghy.

One of my favourite poems is Digging, where Heaney compares his digging with a pen with his Father and grandfather digging in the moss :-

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The Turfman.

The Turfman.

I’m quite sure that you will all join me in marking the loss of this remarkable man, a truely international figure, and express our deep felt sympathy to his dear wife Marie and their three children Christopher, Michael and Catherine Ann. And for those interested to learn more about Seamus Heaney and his poetry, then think about a visit to the Bawn in Bellaghy where you will find preserved and accessible a marvellous cross section of his work.

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The Masonic Chaplet.

The Masonic Chaplet.

The Masonic Chaplet.

Brethren,
I have recently had my attention drawn to a rare little Ulster chaplet published in 1832 in Belfast. It was printed by Hugh Clark of Pottinger’s Entry and was written by Andrew McKenzie, one of the three weaver poets McKenzie, Beggs & English, who encouraged the local Masonic Brethren of East Antrim to erect a lasting memorial to the memory of James Orr.

Work began on the Orr Memorial in the old Templecorran graveyard on the 24th June 1831, when the foundation stone was laid by the Rev W.Glendy in the presence of a large number of Freemasons, Villagers, Friends and Family. The work was carried out by a Belfast Contractor called Fitzpatrick and cost £ 90 to complete. This same memorial was refurbished over the last six months at a cost of £ 22,000-00 plus VAT.

Sacred to the memory of James Orr, the Bard of Ballycarry.

Sacred to the memory of James Orr, the Bard of Ballycarry.

In October 1832 Andrew McKenzie published his chap-book entitled “The Masonic Chaplet with a few other poems”. In his preface McKenzie acknowledges that he only went to press as the Masonic Brethren of Lodge 1014, Ballycarry adopted his song “The Mason’s Welcome”, singing it on many occasions, and creating local support for McKenzie and his work, in the East Antrim area. As a result some 70 subscribers pledged their support to his new chaplet, making the printing and sale of same financially viable.

As with all such chaplets, it is a small work of some 36 pages with a set of soft covers, printed on poor quality paper, and as a result very few examples will have survived. Unusually the book opens with a poem by his friend and fellow Poet Thomas Beggs, addressed to the Rev Johnston Neilson of Whiteabbey. Presumably this poem was used as the entire chaplet has been dedicated by McKenzie to the Reverend Neilson, as a mark of esteem to a man and a freemason, who influenced McKenzie from his childhood.

Amongst his poems is a song written for and sung at the Installation of Lodge 173 Greyabbey in 1811.

Greyabbey Song.

Greyabbey Song.

Then we find a Farewell Anthem written for the Brethren of Greenhill Lodge No 985, which met in the hills above Newtownards. This was the Lodge-room where Brother McKenzie first received the light, and he wrote this poem when he finally moved from the district in 1821 to work in one of the new linen mills in North Belfast.

It would be North Belfast where he would write his elegy on the death of James Orr, the Bard of Ballycarry. This poem was some ten stanzas long, and of those, four were used on the front elevation of the Orr Memorial. These start from stanza four – Though humble was his lot for Erin’s weal . . . .

The Masonic Memorial to James Orr.

The Masonic Memorial to James Orr.

Shortly afterwards he went on to write a song recording a visit to his house in Belfast by Mr Robert Magarry – Master of Lodge 1014 in Ballycarry. This was the song that proved to be so popular with the Ballycarry Brethren and led eventually to the publication of this particular chaplet. It starts – Thrice welcome Megarry, my cottage is poor. . . .

The Mason's Welcome.

The Mason’s Welcome.

Other works recorded include a further song sung in the Lodge-rooms of 173 Greyabbey on the evening of St John’s Day 1815 and a song entitled “The Masonic Pirate” written for the Brethren of Lodge 118 Belfast.

This is an interesting song, written in part on the story of Thurot the French Privateer who returned the Masonic contents of a Carrickfergus Lodge-Room when his men attacked the town, and captured the castle, which they held for a few weeks until the English, collected their forces around Ulster and launched a successful counter attack. This would be a seminal moment in the history of Ulster, leading to the formation of the Volunteer Movement under Lord Charlemont.

CLICK ON LINK BELOW FOR FULL PDF FILE

The Masonic Chaplet by Andrew McKenzie

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Thought for the Day.

Brethren.

This morning I would like to share a thought with you all that originated with Albert Einstein, over a hundred years ago. When asked about his views on religion Einstein said – My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable Superior Spirit, who reveals himself in the slight details, that we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

And at this time of educational exam results, I often think of another of Einsteins profound remarks – Its a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.

But if it is profound that you seek, then it is hard to improve on the thoughts of the late Jimmy Hendrix who once said – When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will finally know peace.

Bob

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Miranda Richardson takes chair in Enniskillen Masonic Hall.

Extract from Belfast Newsletter 23.8.13.

Extract from Belfast Newsletter 23.8.13.

Brethren it is great to see our Members in Enniskillen securing a few column inches of favourable press coverage, as a result of the kind donation of their Hall as a venue in the current Happy Days International Beckett Festival, taking place in the town. The Festival was officially opened last night in the Masonic Hall, when Ms Miranda Richardson, the internationally renown actress, famous for her roles in the Harry Potter series of films and in her role as Queen Elizabeth I in the Blackadder TV series, took the Master’s Throne and delivered a masterful oration of Enough, one of the late Samuel Beckett’s best known prose piece.

The Irish News take on the Event

The Irish News take on the Event

Samuel Beckett, the well known Irish Writer and Playwright, was in fact an old boy of Portora, one of the few Royal Schools still surviving and thriving into the 21st Century. He was following in the footsteps of Oscar Wilde, another old boy and more recently Neil Hannon of the rock band known as The Divine Comedy. One of Beckett’s great influences was Dante Alighieri, the famous 14th century Poet who called one of his best known cantos – Divine Comedy. Other influences on the young Samuel Beckett were Rene Descartes, Arnold Geulinex and James Joyce. The Irish News article brings out the important influence of Dante on Beckett and explains that it has been made the main theme of this year’s Festival with readings from Dante’s Inferno and Beckett’s Not I been given in a very special venue indeed – the lower chamber of The Marble Arch Caves.

Belfast Telegraph - Reading on a Masonic Throne by Candlelight.

Belfast Telegraph – Reading on a Masonic Throne by Candlelight.

Interestingly, Beckett being read in a Masonic Hall is not as strange as you may imagine. Australian lecturer in Art History, writer and researcher Lynn P. Brunet has written at the Masonic connections in Beckett’s work. To quote from her – In the Masonic Order the terms ‘true’ and ‘spurious’ Freemasonry and ‘regular’ and ‘irregular’ practice serve to differentiate between those practices sanctioned by Grand Lodge and the many and various adaptations of the rituals that have proliferated alongside the Order since the 18th century. Spurious Freemasonry can range from a simple misrepresentation of the wording or actions in the rituals to a gross misapplication of the rites in clandestine and sometimes unethical contexts.

‘Waiting for Godot’ was said to spring “full-blown from Beckett’s head in a very brief time.” The discussion here will suggest that the unconscious elements that contribute to this intuitive, free-flowing creation are drawn from the Masonic degree of Holy Royal Arch and that his play represents a parody of the rituals such as may be found in a spurious form of the rites. It argues that traces of Masonic rites appear as a sub-stratum of ritual bodily actions throughout this play, and indeed all of his work. It suggests that the work is an aesthetic negotiation of the trauma, memory loss and confusion of an initiatory process that lingers in the artist’s psyche as inexplicable and fragmented scenes and images, and speculates that Beckett has been exposed to the rituals in a form of puberty rites that today would be termed ritual abuse.

So Brethren, I hope you have enjoyed this short soiree into the realms of Culture and the Arts. The Festival will be taking place all over Enniskillen this weekend, and you may be lucky to bump into one of the many international stars in town for the event. Possible of greatest interest, will be another Australian – Clive James, who continues the theme of tonight’s ramble, as he too has published his translation of The Divine Comedy. But enough of this arty contemplation, I’m not going to wait any longer for Godot.

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Ongoing Success for our Technical Support.

Yolanda makes the big-time

Yolanda makes the big-time

Brethren, it is with the greatest possible pride and pleasure that I take this opportunity to tell you all, that the technical brains of this site, our own web-wonder Yolanda Yolmac McClintock has spent the last two weeks working as a volunteer Production Assistant for T.G.4. as they presented extensive coverage of the Fleadh Cheoil in Derry / Londonderry. I for one, never had any doubts that she was more than capable in carrying out all the many and varied tasks required from a Production Assistant, as they worked against the clock to bring Order out of Chaos. And you can judge for yourself her usefulness and degree of competence, as she has ended up in the credits as First amongst Equals.

However no-one who is a frequent visitor to this site over the past two years will have any question or doubt about her level of competence and technical expertise. She has been responsible for all the technical and administrative issues in setting up this site in January 2011, and since that time to date, we have welcomed some 155,000 hits on the site. She has given of her time to post up photographic galleries, and articles, recording, editing and publishing numerous audio and video clips and hosting my occasional blog.

Working with Phil Coulter on a short film clip for Buncrana RNLI.

Working with Phil Coulter on a short film clip for Buncrana RNLI.

Many and varied are the personalities that we have met on this journey that is Irishfreemasonry. Yolanda has played a big part in the development and ethos of the site, and I’m particularly pleased to see that her ample ability has now been recognised by her peers in the Industry. I’m sure you will all join with me in wishing her continued success in the months and years ahead.

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London Irish Rifles.

Centenary Plate of The London Irish Riflers Lodge No 2313 E.C.

Centenary Plate of The London Irish Riflers Lodge No 2313 E.C.

As you all know Brethren, I have a great interest in all aspects of Irish Freemasonry, and to that end I have recently acquired a very fine Centenary plate produced in 1989 to mark 100 years of continuous Lodge working by the members of the London Irish Rifles Masonic Lodge No 2312 E.C.

The Foundation Master of this Lodge was the third son of Queen Victoria, H.R.H. Arthur Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, Grand Master of U.G.L.E. who acted as a Perpetual Worshipful Master of the London Irish Lodge for the first 53 years of its existence. He was assisted in this role by a deputy Master who conducted the business of Master if His Royal Highness was unavailable. The Lodge was one of four such Lodges in U.G.L.E. who were ruled by the Grand Master, the other Lodges being – Royal Alpha Lodge No 16; Aldershop Army and Navy Lodge No 1971 and the Old Wellingtonian Lodge No 3404.Each of these Lodges were granted the rights to strike a special members jewel incorporating the ducal coronet and the personal crest of Arthur Duke of Connaught and Strathearn.

Crest used in Members jewel.

Crest used in Members jewel.

No mention of the London Irish would be complete without recording the name of Rifleman Frank Edwards who gained everlasting glory in the Great War ( 1914-18 ) due to his kicking a football in front of the charge by the battalion at the Battle of Loos. From then on he was always known as The Footballer of Loos, and his story has been told in an excellent book of the same name.

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Restoration of The Orr Memorial in Templecorran Cemetery, Ballycarry.

Templecorran Cemetery and the Orr Memorial

Templecorran Cemetery and the Orr Memorial

Earlier today, I attended a Committee Meeting of the Irish Lodge of Research No CC, where those present spent a lot of time finalising all the many and varied issues that have to be considered when planning an important event such as the Centenary meeting of the only Research Lodge in the Irish Constitution. It was a three hour meeting, and by the time I got out, I felt the need for some calm and reflection.

I drove about six miles down the road from Carrickfergus, and, as it was quite sunny, I ended up in the old graveyard at Templecorran, where Wor Bro James Orr, Past Master of Ballycarry Masonic Lodge No 1014, and best known of the Ulster Weaver poets lies buried. Orr was a man of many parts, who began life as a hand-loom weaver, working from his family cottage, on the Manse Road in Ballycarry. The cottage still exists, although it is now in private ownership, and at one end is the room where his hand-loom would have been located.

Map to locate the village of Ballycarry.

Map to locate the village of Ballycarry.

Orr was self taught and became actively involved in one of the local book clubs,that had a small library and meeting place at the Six Road Ends.Here he first learned the facts of life about politics, and like many of his contempories, he became radicalised, particularly taking into account the revolutionary successes in America and France against the ruling governments. It was only a matter of time before Orr became involved with the United Irishmen movement of the 1790’s and his poetry was regularly published in the movements newspaper – The Northern Star.

He was involved in the Battle of Antrim in June 1798, and was one of the party that accompanied their leader Henry Joy McCracken, when they fled from the successful crown forces and went into hiding around Slemish mountain. However as the hunt for the rebels became more intense. James Orr and another rebel Jamie Hope eventually made good their escape, when the group dispersed and tried to escape seperately.

A moment of contemplation.

A moment of contemplation.

It was around this period that Orr took ship to America, where he would stay for a couple of years. It was just before he left that he penned his most famous, poignent and most moving poem sometimes known as the Emigrant’s Letter or simply the Irishman.

The savage loves his native shore,
Though rude the soil, and chill the air;
Then well may Erin’s sons adore
Their isle which nature formed so fair.
What flood reflects a shore so sweet
As Shannon great, or pastoral Bann?
Or who a friend or foe can meet
So generous as an Irishman?

His hand is rash, his heart is warm,
But honesty is still his guide;
None more repents a deed of harm,
And none forgives with nobler pride:
He may be duped, but won’t be dared –
More fit 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 may your secrets scan,
Your confidence he scorns to mock,
For faithful is an Irishman.

By honor bound in woe or weal,
Whate’er she bids he dares to do;
Try him with bribes – they won’t prevail;
Prove him in fire – you ‘ll find him true.
He seeks not safety, let him post
Be where it ought in danger’s van;
And if the field of fame be lost,
It won’t be by an Irishman.

Erin! loved land! from age to age
Be thou more great, more famed, 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!

Details from the Masonic Pediment on the Orr Memorial.

Details from the Masonic Pediment on the Orr Memorial.

Orr returned home in 1802 and returned to the struggle of making a living as a hand loom weaver. He continued to write poems, about life in Ballycarry, local characters and his local Masonic Lodge, where he had been one of the foundation members in 1809.Conviviality was a big problem then as now and money was always tight. Nonetheless, Orr would lead life to the full, and in 1804, he would publish his first chap-book entitled Poems on Various Subjects.

James Orr -Poems on Various Subjects.

James Orr -Poems on Various Subjects.

One of the most interesting aspects of this little chap-book is the subscribers list at the front which clearly shows that Orr’s work was popular and well supported in his local community. Clearly he had been by and large forgiven for his earlier political involvements and he now wrote on issues of local interest. It s here that we find the first published version of one of his songs :-

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 pure ;
Strife’s hammer’s’ rash, shall never clash
Against the Lodge of Ballynure.

This song was popular in most of the Lodges from Carnlough to Carrickfergus and was the first of a number of popular songs with a Masonic theme that Orr would produce. Sadly, like so many others at this time Orr would die young in the year 1816, at the age of 46 and was buried in the family plot in Templecorran, in an unmarked grave. His dying wish was that the rest of his unpublished poetry might be brought together and published for posterity. This was duly done in 1817 when a fellow Ballycarry Poet with the support of many local subscribers published a second posthumous volume of poems under the title Collected Poems by James Orr Ballycarry.

The Masonic Memorial to James Orr.

The Masonic Memorial to James Orr.

It was shortly after the publication of this second volume that a few local subscribers came together to discuss various options for a permanent memorial to Orr. Quite a few Masonic Lodges and a number of prominent Masons contributed to a fund for the erection of a memorial and on St John’s Day the 24th June 1831 the first stone was laid by Wor Bro, the Reverend W Glendy in the presence of a large assembly of Masonic Brethren and other supporters. It was reported upon in the Belfast Newsletter of the day as the largest assembly of Freemasons ever seen in the North of Ireland.

Sacred to the memory of James Orr, the Bard of Ballycarry.

Sacred to the memory of James Orr, the Bard of Ballycarry.

Over the years, this was one of the best known and most prominent Masonic memorials in the public domain and was frequently inspected by visiting Freemasons from all over Ireland. However by the turn of the Millenium, a concerted effort was made to raise funds to help refurbish and repair this important monument for the 21st century. The Masonic Order, under the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim played an important role in the fundraising and raising of public awareness of this work, and in conjunction with the local community association, eventually secured additional government funding to begin and carry out the necessary reinstatement to the standards set out by the Historical Monuments people in Northern Ireland. At long last this process is reaching a conclusion, and this magnificent memorial should now survive for many years to come.

Once again our involvement is a well kept secret.

Once again our involvement is a well kept secret.

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In memory of Very Wor Bro Rev Neville Barker Cryer.P.G.C.

The Reverend Neville Barker Cryer. P.G.C.

The Reverend Neville Barker Cryer. P.G.C.

It is with very great sadness that I record the death of Very Wor Bro the Reverend Neville Barker Cryer Past Grand Chaplin of The United Grand Lodge of England, a Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Surrey, Past Master and Past Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No 2076 E.C., and all round good egg. Neville was a great supporter of Irish Freemasonry and used to come across at the invitation of the late Rt Wor Bro George Powers to address the Irish Lodge of Research,the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim, where he was the Richard Robinson Memorial Lecturer on a couple of occasions and of course to speak for George at the annual NI branch meetings of Quatuor Coronati Lodge to help boost attendances at their annual meetings.

One of the great highlights for Irish Researchers was the Centenary Celebrations of Quatuor Coronati Lodge in 1984 when the late Very Wor Bro Will Read and Neville acted as joint hosts to the Irish contingent consisting of the late Rt Wor Bro George Powers, Rt Wor Bro Keith Cochrane, Very Wor Bro Allen Megarry, the late Wor Bro Russell Currie and myself. As the evening progressed, we were joined by other prominent QC members including Chris Haffner, who eventually left the Craft to pursue a calling in the Church. This was an exceptional night, going on into the wee hours, at which point Will Read and his driver set off to return to York.

Neville and the Ulster Brigade at Lodge Hope Symposium 2005.

Neville and the Ulster Division at Lodge Hope Symposium 2005.

Neville Barker Cryer was one of those rare larger than life figures, who bring so much to gatherings everywhere. He knew everybody, kept in touch with quite a few of the people that he knew and made time to speak with and meet as many new people as he could. He was a man who inspired others and who was known worldwide for his many and varied works on behalf of the Masonic Order. However, he was also very active and well known in Church Circles where he served as Director General of the British and Foreign Bible Society from 1970. Indeed his service to the Anglican Church generally has taken him all over the world over the last forty years.

Neville was also a prolific author with some forty books on Masonic topics to his name. These works range from the Craft, Royal Arch Chapter, The Knight Templars and the Higher Degrees. One of his best known works is York Mysteries Revealed, an excellent work on the origins and history of Freemasonry in the city of York. And of course, he was the originator and author of that other seminal set of four books on The Masonic Halls of England.

I’m sure that you will all want to be included, when I say that, we as an Order and as a Constitution, will be so much the poorer for the loss of Very Wor Bro Neville Barker Cryer. Sadly we are unlikely to meet his like again, and our prayers and thoughts go out to his wife Marjorie and the rest of the family cirle, at this difficult and trying time.

I’m not the greatest fan of the writings of Knight and Lomas, but there is one description in their book Uriel’s Machine, which has always reminded me of Neville – The proper business of a Mason is astronomical, chemical, geological and moral science and more particularly that of the ancients, with all the mysteries and fables founded upon it. Let us endeavor to turn the stream, to go from priest-craft to science, from mystery to knowledge and from allegory to real history. It can be said that these lines illustrate so much of the driving force that was the Reverend Neville Barker Cryer, as he tried to shine Light into the Darkness all around, and bring clarity and understanding to us all.

Brethren, I’m very grateful to Very Wor Bro John Wade, Past Prestonian Lecturer 2009, a Past Master and Past Secretary of Quatuor Coronati for giving us a brief report on Nevilles funeral, which was held earlier today. There was a good turnout of some 200 mourners with some 40 to 50 Masons being present. The Interrment service was held in Haxby church this morning and lasted about an hour. Afterwards, Neville remains were taken to Allstree cemetary in Darby.

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The Lost Settlement of Dunnalong.

Book on the Lost Settlement.

Book on the Lost Settlement.

Brethren, as our Lodges close for the Summer recess, we have received a flood of invitations for various functions in the next few weeks. Our plans for a quiet few days went swiftly out the window tonight, when we attended the launch of a new publication telling the story of “The Lost Settlement of Dunnalong.

We made our way across to the Alley Theatre in Strabane for a 6.00PM start. Silly me, we were of course on Derry time and we had all been fed and watered by the staff of the theatre and presented with our individual copies of the publication jointly funded under Peace III collaborative heritage programme – “Plantation to Partition” and the Foyle Civic Trust under their Foyle Landscape Project.

Margaret Edwards Derry City Council.

Margaret Edwards Derry City Council.

Sometime after 6.00PM the show kicked off with Margaret Edwards, the Derry City Council Heritage and History Education Officer introducing the event and thanking both funders and the NIEA for their support in bringing the project to publication. And what a project it was. Dunnalong, (translates as The Fort of the Ships ) was an inland harbour located on a bend of the River Foyle close by the modern day village of Magheramason. In March 1568, we find our first written record of a fortified building on the site, which the local chieftain and landowner Turlough Luineach used to bring in shipping from Scotland and further afield. This became one of the main entry points for Scottish Gallowglass, the fearsome Scottish mercenary soldiers with their seven foot long two handed swords, who came across in droves to fight for the various Gaelic chieftains of the North West.

This fortress would become a site of some military importance, and changed hands a number of times in the next twenty years. It became an important centre for commerce with a number of local merchants based here in the later part of the sixteenth century. However by 1610 the fortress had been abandoned and the entire area was part of the massive land grant given to James Hamilton, the 1st Earl of Abercorn. By now Dunnalong was an important landing area for Hamilton’s planters, who arrived there and spread south and west to Strabane, Omagh and to his own new family home outside Newtownstewart.

Later in the Seventeenth century another fascinating Scottish figure, the Reverend John Sinclair ( of Rosslyn ) arrived at Dunnalong and headed up the road to Leckpatrick, where he took over the living at Leckpatrick Church of Ireland Church. By the time John Sinclair died in 1703, he was well established in Leckpatrick, and had bought a small estate complete with house at Holyhill, on the outskirts of Leckpatrick. An ornately carved memorial plaque is located at the front of the church, covered in interesting symbols and the family vault, another highly carved piece of stonework can be seen in the Leckpatrick Old Graveyard. There are numerous other Sinclair graves around the vault, and the family retained Holyhill right up to the early 1950’s. If you are ever on the A5 from Strabane to Londonderry, then keep an eye for the old Leckpatrick Church of Ireland and nearby, just off the A5, the old graveyard. Both these features would be well worth a visit, if you are passing.

Joe Mahon.

Joe Mahon.

Brethren, this was a fascinating opportunity, to learn a little about one small aspect of our shared history. The main speaker was Joe Mahon of Westway Film Productions, better known as the Presenter of Lesser Spotted Ulster. As usual, Joe spoke very well and reminded us all of the great works that our archaeologists in fact do for us all. They may not find crowns or jewels, but the real treasure that they find day after day is knowledge. In this way we all get that sureness and certainty of knowing the undisputed truth about the lives of our ancestors, and their contribution to our ongoing story. In many ways this is the real never ending story, as our history continues to evolve.

The Team who made it all possible.

The Team who made it all possible.

My thanks go to Terence Peoples and his assistants who helped to run tonights publication launch and of course thanks to Paul Logue and his team from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Ronan McHugh, principal surveyor for the centre of archaeological Fieldwork at Queen’s University in Belfast and Doctor William Roulston, local Bready man who is currently the Research Director of the Ulster Historical Foundation.

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One of Our Prophets is on the Move, Tomorrow.

King Chris in Limerick.

King Chris in Limerick.

Wor Bro Chris McClintock and his travelling companions Wor Bro Sam Carson and Wor Bro Jim Penny, are off tomorrow morning from the North East corner of Ireland to traverse the wilds of the Bogs of Allen and end up in the South West of Ireland, on the estate of Wor Bro David Naughton Shires. We can but hope that after a long day in the van, our Three Amigos are not too zombified, by the time of their arrival. After a quick freshen-up the Three Amigos will go in to the Masonic Centre to attend an emergency meeting of one of the Limerick Lodges, where Wor Bro Chris will spend some time telling the poor Brethren of Limerick about the importance of that date.

If you happen to be down in the South West tomorrow evening, and would like to shorten the winter, then go along to the St John’s Masonic Centre, where Rt Wor Bro Hugh Milne Provincial Grand Master of North Munster and his team will make you more than welcome. And if you survive the talk, take a few moments and go through the excellent Masonic museum, which has been set up in the Hall by the P.G.M who, if pressed, will tell you a lot about the exhibits, including the Baal’s Bridge Square.

The Baal's Bridge Square.

The Baal’s Bridge Square.

For those of you curious about the Baal’s Bridge itself, one of the other treasures of the Limerick Masonic Museum is an excellent painting of the Bridge completed before the bridge was taken down. We attach a photograph, which does not really do justice to the painting, but will give you an idea of what the bridge looked like.

The Old Baal's Bridge.

The Old Baal’s Bridge.

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The Death of a Stalwart – Very Wor Bro Roy Bankhead.

Very Wor Bro Roy Bankhead.

Very Wor Bro Roy Bankhead.

It is with very great sorrow that we learned of the untimely death of Very Wor Bro Roy Bankhead, a long time member, Past Master and Past Secretary of Royal Blue Masonic Lodge No 754, Coleraine. Roy was one of the old hands in Royal Blue and was always a welcoming figure to all the many visitors to the Lodge in Coleraine. He had suffered with indifferent health in the last few years and will be sadly missed by all the members of the Lodge, and further afield.

Presentation of the Coleraine charity Cheque.

Presentation of the Coleraine charity Cheque.

Roy worked hard in support of our Masonic Charities and this dedication was recognised when he was appointed to serve as one of the Grand Lodge Stewards of Charity. Probably the proudest moment in his term of office was the occasion when he accompanied the Most Wor Grand Master, Most Wor Bro Eric Waller, when he was invited to attend Coleraine to collect a cheque from the Coleraine Lodges for The Grand Master’s Festival. This cheque, in the sum of £ 6,727.00 was duly presented by the Lodges and gratefully received by the Grand Master.

Roy was a man of many parts, a keen ritualist, with a great interest in the history, traditions and symbolism of our Order. He was a frequent visitor at the Provincial Grand Lodge of Londonderry and Donegal and a well known visitor to Lodges throughout the North and further afield. We would take this opportunity to convey our sympathy to the family circle at this most difficult time and in particular we would sympathise with his dear wife Georgie, his sons Keith and Peter, daughters-in-law Maria and Jen and grand-children Gemma, Laura and Jamie. Our prayers are with you all at this time.

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Thanks.

Geographical Spread of our Viewers.

Geographical Spread of our Viewers.

What you see here Brethren is a screen capture, showing you the geographical spread of our viewers over the last couple of days. As an old luddite, I find the entire spread and reach of the digital age remarkable, and am frequently stunned at the level of interest being shown worldwide in the activities of our Lodge Brethren throughout the Irish Constitution. I find the opportunities that this site provides very encouraging, that Brethren and non Brethren have this opportunity to follow our activities on a day by day basis, and see for themselves, that they have nothing to fear, and much to be thankful for, when they see the level of commitment being shown by the Irish Masonic Order to help us all.

We, in Irish Freemasonry, are a very small cog in this great wheel, and it is thanks to the Brethren in WEOFM, organised by representatives of The Grand Lodge of Indiana that this site came into existence at all. I have many years experience in Lodge presentations, yet was initially very concerned at the technical hurdles in preparing a one hour video presentation on The Grand Lodge of Ireland. The topic was well known to me, but the many technical hurdles were not. However with the help, support and encouragement of my web mistress, we prepared our video – The Gift of Irish Freemasonry – and got it off to the States.

The Gift of Irish Freemasonry by Robert Bashford

The Gift of Irish Freemasonry by Robert Bashford

This video, including a short fifteen minute photographic presentation on the beauty of Ireland, as a destination, was shown live on the 8th January 2011 and was the second of some 48 video productions throughout the year. This entire venture was exceedingly successful with over 1,000,000 views during 2011. I was particularly gratified to learn that some 57,000 viewers worldwide, in some 106 countries had watched my video. This series is still up on the web at the present time and is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to watch a range of Masonic views from around the world, put forward by some of our most engaging Brethren ( present company excluded ).

It was a direct result of this opportunity to present, that we also decided to put up a website, and it too began life in January 2011. It has slowly grown and expanded, into the excellent resource that we have available today. Again, if you want to go back into our archives and have a look at our older material, you will be amazed at the amount of material available in video, audio, photographs and text and the range of topics covered. Brethren this has only been possible by the support and encouragement received from all members of the Irish Constitution and all the many other supporters, some of whom are shown in the map above. We hope to continue to grow this site, and hope that you will continue your support to make this all happen. In the meantime thank you all, for trusting us thus far.

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The Next Generation Arrives.

Brethren, as I sit here sipping a small glass of the amber nectar, it has just struck me that in the last twenty four hours, I have suddenly grown very old. Last week-end I did’nt have a care in the World, but at 11.09AM yesterday that was all to change. My first grand-son Jake weighed in at 7 lbs 5 oz and I’m pleased to say that both Mother and Son are well. It took a few more moments for it to dawn that now I’m suddenly a Grand-Father and little Jake has certainly made me feel very old.

Little Jake in St Patrick's Blue.

Little Jake in St Patrick’s Blue.

Now I know that some of you already think me very old, but Brethren until yesterday that was not a view I shared. However, thats another of the big boxes in life ticked, and I look forward to Jake growing up and taking his place in the Craft in due course.

Three Generations.

Three Generations.

So Brethren, thank you all for indulging me, and now we can return to the Quest.

Bro Bob

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Quis Seperabit Irish Guards Lodge No 960 I.C.

Quis Separabit Lodge No 960 I.C.

Quis Separabit Lodge No 960 I.C.

In the early Spring of 2012 W.Bro Bobby Millen formed a working group with a plan in mind to form a new Lodge to be called Quis Separabit Irish Guards Masonic Lodge.This working group comprised of both serving and retired Irish Guardsmen.Meetings were held with the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim and the Grand Secretary and finally the plan got under way.

The number 1900 was applied for being the year in which the Irish Guards were formed by Queen Victoria but alas this was not to be. A compromise was struck and the number 960 was chosen.960 was the Lodge Number of a former Military Lodge the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen’s Bays). They were formally known as The Earl of Peterborough’s Regiment of Horse (1685-1715) and fought at the Battle of the Boyne and Aughrim.It was with this Irish connection that this Lodge number was selected.

The Three Principal Officers of Lodge 960 I.C.

The Three Principal Officers of Lodge 960 I.C.

On Saturday 13th April 2013 an Occasional Communication of Grand Lodge was held in the Freemason’s Hall, Rosemary Street, Belfast for the purpose of Constituting Quis Separabit Irish Guards Masonic Lodge No 960. A Luncheon was held in the Arthur Square Hall prior to the meeting with the Lodge Founder Members and some seventy guests.

Following a most dignified and colourful procession into the Lodgeroom, where some two hundred and sixty Brethren were assembled, the Most Worshipful Grand Master, The Most Worshipful Brother George Dunlop took his place in the Chair to conduct the business of Constituting the new Lodge. The Grand Master was assisted by his senior Grand Lodge Officers , Rt Wor.Bro John Dixon Provincial Grand Master and Officers of the Rt Wor Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim.

The Ceremony of Constitution was carried out in an exemplary manner after which Quis Separabit Irish Guards ML No 960 was declared by the Most Worshipful Grand Master to be now at Labour. The Lodge was then saluted by all Brethren present.The Rt Wor Assistant Grand Master, Rt Wor Bro Rodney McCurley then delivered an address on behalf of the Grand Master, on The History, Tenets and Duties of Freemasonry. The Grand Master then invited the Installing Officer, Rt Wor Bro James McFarland to occupy the Chair for the purpose of Installing the W/Master Elect, W/Bro Robert Millen. W/Bro Millen was duly Installed and went on to Install his Officers in a most personal and dignified manner.

Following the business of the Lodge Rt Wor Bro Tommy Yarr presented the W/Master with a beautiful inscribed Maul and a pair of Gavels and W/Bro James Furphy presented an inscribed Directors of Ceremonies Wand. A Lodge Attendance Book was also presented to the Lodge by Deborah Auld, Newtownards. The Foundation members of the Lodge are made up from both retired and serving members of the Irish Guards and the Lodge is open to membership from other ex-Servicemen and their families. On the day of the Constitution the Foundation Members were nineteen in number with twelve names of Brethren for affiliation and four for joining being read out.Recruiting for the Lodge is taking place across not only the Irish Constitution but the English and Scottish as well, wherever Irish Guardsmen are dispersed.The Lodge will hold Stated Communications on four occasions each year, two being held in Derriaghy Masonic Hall and two in the Metropolitan area the dates of which can be obtained from the Secretary.The Worshipful Master, Members and myself would like to take this opportunity of thanking the Grand Master, Grand Officers, The PGM and Grand Officers of the PGL of Antrim for Constituting the Lodge and for all the assistance and advice given prior to the event.Last but not least to the Staff at Freemason’s Hall, Molesworth – thank you.

Founders and Distinguished Guests

Founders and Distinguished Guests

Since being Constituted the Lodge held its first Regular Meeting on Saturday 25th May 2013 and on this occasion twelve ballots were held for Affiliates, two for re-joins and five for new members.

James H Furphy, A/Secretary, PGI: PPGS (Down).

Brethren, I’m sure that you will all join with me in wishing every success to this new Lodge, and pray that all its extended membership, wheresoever they may have to serve, will come home safe and sound to the members of their Lodge. I’m also certain that you will all wish for this Lodge to grow and achieve its potential, as another shining beacon of Irish Freemasonry throughout the Masonic World. As our history clearly shows, many Sovereign Constitutions around the globe owe their origins to the glorious work done by travelling Irish Masonic Warrants, and although this is not a travelling Warrant, its Members will spread the word where ever they go. Clearly another case of In Hoc Signo Vinces. – Bro Bob.

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Service of Thanksgiving at St Columb’s Cathedral, Londonderry.

Crest of the Province of Londonderry and Donegal.

Crest of the Province of Londonderry and Donegal.

Earlier in the year the Provincial Grand Master of Londonderry and Donegal, Right Wor Bro Noel Drain, decided that the Province would hold a service of thanksgiving in St Columb’s Cathedral as part of the overall celebrations for the City of Culture throughout 2013. To that end arrangements were put in hand and Very Reverend William W Morton Dean of Derry and Rector of Templemore quickly agreed to the request. It was decided that the Parade would start in the Masonic Hall, which at one time was the original Bishop’s Palace associated with the Cathedral. As this then meant that we would be parading on a public highway, the Provincial Grand Lodge had to seek a Parades Commission Determination, before the necessary permissions were granted. One outcome was the presence of P.S.N.I. officers to supervise the parade and the presence of a surveillance helicopter to record the events.

Rt Wor Bro Noel Drain P.G.M. of Londonderry and Donegal.

Rt Wor Bro Noel Drain P.G.M. of Londonderry and Donegal.

On the day the weather was fine and from 2.00PM onwards the Brethren began to assemble in the grounds of the Masonic Hall. They came in on foot, by bicycle, in the car, by small bus, medium coach and large touring bus. Brethren came from all over the Northern Provinces with Brethren from as far away as Dundalk, Cavan, Ballybay Sligo and even a couple from Ballina. Firstly the Hall filled up followed by the adjacent car parks and still they came. There were representatives from all the home Provinces including Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone. Efforts were made to keep on programme and by 3.00PM the parade was underway, winding out of the Hall, through the car park, across the road and up the short wynd to the Cathedral entrance.

The Front of the Parade.

The Front of the Parade.

Slowly as we arrived, the Cathedral began to fill, and still they came, more and more and more Brethren. The Cathedral, its side Chapels and the Balcony were quickly filled, and yet still they came. The Cathedral, with a capacity of 850 people was filled and still they came, until finally some 150 Brethren and friends were left standing in the Porch and Entrance as the service progressed.

The End of the Parade

The End of the Parade

The Dean was quite surprised at the strong turnout, thanked us all for coming and declared that this particular service was the largest that he had conducted all year. He welcomed our Most Wor Grand Master, Most Wor Bro George Dunlop, a member of the congregation and then went on to welcome the Province and all its many guests. Although not a Freemason himself the Dean was welcoming, inclusive, encouraging and generous in his remarks on the Order and its membership. The Collection was taken on behalf of the Cathedral Building Fund ( totalling over £ 5,000 plus tax refunds )and then we all began to progress back out and across to the Hall, where afternoon tea awaited us all.

Farewell's.

Farewell’s.

Brethren, it was a great pleasure and honour to join with our Brethren of Londonderry and Donegal on this remarkable occasion. I would particularly like to thank the various Brethren, supporters of this site who came along to support the Province on this particular day. Your attendance and enthusiasm added to the overall ambiance of the day and I hope that you too, got as much from the occasion as I did. On a closing note, I would just record that despite the numbers, some food was left over, and as we made our way slowly homeward, some of the local Brethren took the remaining buns and sandwiches to a local hostel for the homeless.

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North West 200 Race Festival.

North West 200 Logo 2013.

North West 200 Logo 2013.

We have just completed the 2013 festival of road – racing at the North West 200. It was a difficult week with a mixed bag of weather, ending up with a very wet day yesterday, when the riders only managed to complete a couple of laps. However the turn out of supporters was truely amazing sitting in the wet stands from early in the morning. Surely we should be able to provide some covered stands, for this great Northern Irish landmark event. I would take this opportunity to commend all those many volunteer officials, medical and PSNI staff ( LC you know who you are ) who worked so hard, around the course in appalling weather to keep us all safe and informed over the past week. These people, and of course the riders are the true stars of the North West. I also want to make mention of all the many sponsors who help pay the bills and keep this event on the road. I would particularly mention Vauxhall, one of our newest sponsors, who did a magnificent job, and even though Gordon Hannen failed to find me a NW200 jacket, he still did a great job in spporting the event. We look forward to Vauxhall and Gordon.s return in the years ahead, building on the great work they did this year.

Gordon, Jeremy and Logie with the NW helmet.

Gordon, Jeremy and Logie with the NW helmet.

One name intimately associated with thee North West 200 festival is the late Bro Joey Dunlop OBE MBE, member of Vowferry Masonic Lodge No 17, North Antrim. Joey and his brothers Jim and the late Robert, his late Brother in law, Mervyn Robinson and close friend the late Frank Kennedy were the founder members of The Armoy Armada, a group of dedicated riders who were well known in the Triangle area. Joey himself won some 14 races at the North West and his brother won one more, taking his total to 15, the most victories by any rider since the North West started in 1929. Most people know that Joey received his MBE for his great contribution to Sport, but what is not so well known is that he received his OBE for his humanitarian works in helping children in various orphanages throughout Eastern Europe. He was a quiet, unassuming man, who went about collecting donations in his race van and then set off across Europe, to deliver the proceeds to orphanages in Bosnia, Albania and Romania. He never had any difficulty with corrupt customs officials on his travels, as his fame and renown ensured that all doors were open to him. Many people talk about Charity, Joey just went out and did it. Sadly, on the 2nd July 2000, Joey was Called Home to Rest, after a high speed 125cc crash at the Pirita – Kose – Kloostrimetsa racing circuit at Tallinn in Estonia. His coffin was returned to Dublin Airport, where he was accorded the single honour of a motor cycle funeral and escort back up to Ballymoney by The Lost Riders Motorcycle Club from the Skerries in Dublin. The roads were lined by mourners on the way up and the border was opened to let the cortage pass with no delays. On the day of the funeral in Ballymoney, some 50,000 people turned up to participate. Since then Joey’s good works inspired the members of the Lost Riders Club to take out their own donations to an orphanage in Estonia, which was filmed by the BBC. In 2007 an English Lodge of Mark Master Masons was formed by keen Masonic motorcyclists and given the name The Joey Dunlop Lodge No 1881 E.C.

A Gift for the New Lodge from Vowferry

A Gift for the New Lodge from Vowferry

The North West 200 is one of the great motorcycle racing spectacles of the 20th and 21st century. It is the fastest road racing circuit in the world. The fastest lap ever recorded on the circuit was in 1978 when Tom Herron recorded a speed of some 127.653 MPH on the circuit. This record stood for twenty five years before finally being broken by Adrian Archibald at the Ulster Grand Prix in 2003. His speed on that occasion was 128.505 MPH. We had many personalities in the Pits yesterday including Danny Kennedy the Roads Minister, who should now have seen enough to secure further Government funding for this great annual event. Edwin Poots the Health Minister and Ian Paisley junior another keen North West supporter. Amongst the many sporting stars present were Steve Plater retired North West rider, Stephen Ferris rugby player for Ulster, Ireland and The British Lions and Brian Magee the current British and World super middleweight boxing legend.

Brian Magee and Logie.

Brian Magee and Logie.

We had all the old faithfuls popping in and out during the day. Mervyn White the brains behind the North West and long serving clerk of the Course. Then there were Jackie Fullerton, Liam Beckett, Fred Clarke, Stephen Watson and Philip McCallon all doing their bit and of course, there were the riders.

Gordon Hannon with some of the Riders.

Gordon Hannon with some of the Riders.

One other important part of the day was the Charity Auction to raise funds for the Riders Benevolent Fund. There were many and varied items gifted for sale from bodies as diverse as Dungiven Castle Hotel and Royal Portrush Golf Club. However the highlight of the sale was the prototype of the Shoei North West 200 Helmet complete with a map of the course on the back. After a hard fought auction the helmet was knocked down at £ 2,500.00 and then the two buyers very generously presented the helmet for resale. This time it was knocked down for after another hard fought battle for a further £ 2,300.00 securing a grand total on all the auctions of some £ 10,475.00 an excellent afternoon’s work.

The Sucessfull bidder and his new Helmet

The Sucessfull bidder and his new Helmet

Brethren, as always the North West was a great day out, as you will see from the photo gallery, even though the weather was appalling. There were people there from all round the world and many different accents could be heard. I had hoped to spot some members from the new Irish Branch of the Widow’s Sons Masonic bikers association, but could see very little with all the wet weather gear in use. However, when you are out and about during the rest of this year, keep your eyes peeled for this badge . . . . .

Widow's Sonm and his Patch.

Widow’s Sonm and his Patch.

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Charity Service at St Columb’s Cathedral.

2013 03 18 001

As part of the celebrations of the Londonderry City of Culture this year, the Provincial Grand Master of Londonderry and Donegal decided to have the charity services throughout his Province combined, and invited all of the Brethren, their wives, families and friends to attend a service being held in St Columb’s Cathedral on Sunday the 19th May 2013. The Brethren are asked to assemble in the Bishop’s Palace from 2,30PM onwards. They will then be formed up and will parade up to the main entrance in the Cathedral, before processing to their pews. Rt Wor Bro Noel Drain and his team are keen to have a good turn-out on the day, and the funds raised will be given to the building fund of the Cathedral.

noel drain

St Columb’s Cathedral with its tower and tall graceful, late Georgian spire, is built in a pure Gothic style of great simplicity. Architecturally, this is now known as Planters Gothic. The building is the latest amongst many that trace their origins from the simple stone built and thatched cells that formed the monastery of St Colmcille founded in 546AD. This is a building packed with history, with monuments such as the Tomkins and Elvin monument surviving since 1676. Then of course there is the Kerr McClintock monument on the north wall, and a collection of magnificent stained glass, telling the history of the city and cathedral.

Seek and Ye Shall Find.

See and Ye Shall Find.

We, as a society are entering a further period of uncertainty, and it will be the membership of organisations such as The Grand Lodge of Ireland who will step up to the plate and provide the men who will play an important role in their church, their community, and their society. Men who are apart of Society, not apart from Society. These are the men who fill the churches every Sunday and serve as Ministers, Elders Choir Members, Attenders, who are the back-bone of so many organisations in the community. This is why it is important that we all make a special effort to attend these very worthwhile activities and play our part in the celebrations of The City of Culture. There will be a cup of tea and bun in the Bishop’s Palace afterwards for all in attendance.

irishfreemasonry.com will be in attendance on the 19th to record the highlights of the day and provide a commentary for all who are unable to attend. We are aware of visiting parties coming from the Masonic Provinces of Antrim, Down, Armagh, Tyrone and Fermanagh and a small load coming up from the Provincial Grand Lodge of North Connaught. Some of these visitors will be travelling from as far afield as Ballina, and we look forward to having a few brief interviews with them all. And I hope Brethren, that those of you, who are based in the North of Ireland next Sunday, will consider making the effort and joining with your Brethren at St Columb’s on the day.

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Freemasonry in the Irish Press.

Belfast Newsletter.

Belfast Newsletter.

Brethren, this has been a remarkable week in the Irish press both North and South of the border. The main story in the North was the death of Most Excellent Companion Cyril Frederick Andrew Quigley, who had been the oldest Freemason in Ireland at the time of his death. As already noted in an earlier posting, Most Excellent Companion Cyril was a remarkable man, whose life spanned the 20th century and who devoted some seventy three years of his life to Freemasonry in Ireland. He was public with his membership of the Order andwas a shining beacon to others on the benefits of Freemasonry.

Belfast Telegraph.

Belfast Telegraph.

Belfast Newsletter.

Belfast Newsletter.

In the South, we were delighted to find a major interview with Wor Bro Morgan J. McCreadie, assistant to The Grand Secretary on his take on Irish Freemasonry. Again the reporter on the Irish Times gave a comprehensive and generally supportive interview on the activities of the Freemasons throughout Ireland.

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Wor Bro Morgan J McCreadie.

Wor Bro Morgan J McCreadie.

So Brethren, it is very encouraging to get some supportive comment in our press as we continue to conduct our age old activities in an ever changing world. If you are aware of any similar press reports, then please do not hesitate to let us know.

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Lodge of Research visits Rathfriland.

Light-Box over Master's Throne.

Light-Box over Master’s Throne.

Everywhere that we in CC visit, we invariably find one or two unique artifacts, that cannot be seen anywhere else. Our visit on Saturday the 27th April to the premises of the Lodge of Antiquity and Integrity No 80 in the town of Rathfriland, Co Down, was no exception, where we found this unusual light-box located over the Master’s Throne, bearing a most suitable engraving of some of our Masonic symbols. Just above the box is the motto KNOW THYSELF and above that again in brass is the six pointed Seal of Solomon. Within the Light-Box itself is a representation of the All Seeing Eye in the center of a five pointed star representative of the five points of Fellowship, with a skirret, compasses and pencil on one side. On the other side are the level, plumb-line and chipping maul. Along the bottom is the coffin, bearing a range of sacred symbols and the emblems of mortality, (skull and crossbones) and a sprig of acacia.

We received a warm welcome from the Brethren of Lodge 80, who took us to the local Sports Center for morning coffee and a fresh scone. The weather was glorious and we had great views of the nearby mountains od Mourne, snow capped and busy sweeping down to the sea. WE were delighted to welcome a long standing member of CC to the meeting in the person of Most Wor Bro James J Byrnes, Past Grand Master of Wisconsin, and a long time member of the Irish Lodge of Research.James had received his award for 60 years service to the Craft in Wisconsin in 2011 and was over in Ireland presently for a family holiday with his wife.

Grand Master Byrnes and his wife.

Grand Master Byrnes and his wife.

One curious feature about the glass is the fact that unusually all of the glass has been fixed in such a way that it is meant to be read from the outside, which is why the “G” in this picture appears to be back to front. This is true of all the other panes in the Lodge-room.

Amongst our Members present was our very dear friend, the indomitable Bill Howie, who was over with us all to celebrate his 85th birthday. A few of us met up on Thursday night to celebrate the occasion and a good time was had by all.

Bill and friends celebrate his 85th Birthday

Bill and friends celebrate his 85th Birthday

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In Memorium of Most Ex Comp Cyril F A Quigley

Cyril at Sir Charles Cameron Chapter

Cyril at Sir Charles Cameron Chapter

It is with great sadness that we record the passing of Ireland’s oldest Freemason, who was called home to rest on Friday the 26th April 2013. Most Excellent Companion Quigley was one of the real characters in Irish Freemasonry,well known to Brethren throughout the Irish Constitution and held in high regard by all. He was a visitor to Grand Lodge, on several occasions after his hundred’th birthday and was always accorded a special and warm salute from all in attendance. Our most Wor Bro Cyril Quigley, was one of those rare people who had the ability to engage with everyone and as a result was beloved by all. He will be sadly missed by all.

Cyril and the Titanic

Cyril and the Titanic

As a young boy, he could recall his father taking him down to the slipway, to watch the launch of the Titanic. Two years later he could also recall the parades of our young men going down to the dock, on their way to death at the Somme. Most Wor Bro Quigley joined Feemasonry and immediately took great pleasure in the Giving of Degrees and Instruction. This love of ritual would stay with him for the rest of his life as he progressed through the various orders of the Irish Masonic System. At the time of his passing his Masonic career could be recorded as follows.

He was a Past Sovereign of Heredom Capter of Prince Masons in Belfast, A Knight Commander of the High Knight Templars of Ireland, He was a Past Senior Knight of The Council of Knight Masons, a Past Grand High Priest of The Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Ireland and Past District Grand King of the District Grand Chapter of Antrim. He was also an honorary Past Grand Deacon of The Grand Lodge of Ireland.

Brethren we shall be all the poorer, for the passing of our worthy Brother and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family circle, at this sad time.

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Jim Penny is Presented his 50 Year Jewel.

Presentation of 50 Year jewel.

Presentation of 50 Year jewel.

Friday the 12th April 2013 marks an important anniversary for one of our keenest supporters, and I was particularly pleased that I was able to come along and support him, in this his fiftieth year of Irish Freemasonry. Being a researcher by nature, I can tell you that 1963 was an important and busy year in world history with many remarkable events taking place.

It was the year that JFK was assassinated, the hotline was introduced between the Kremlin and the Whitehouse, the Great Train Robbery took place, the first Woman was sent into Space, the first episode of Dr Who was shown on terrestial TV, and Dr Martin Luther King made his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.

I am quite sure that many of these events would intreague and interest
Bro Penny, as he prepared himself to receive the first degree in St Nicholas Lodge No 1014 Carrickfergus. This was the reincarnation of an old Ballycarry Lodge that was reformed in 1950, to give more opportunities for candidates hoping to join the Craft in Carrickfergus.
The Foundation Master, Wor Bro James Hamilton, then serving as District Grand King of Antrim would shortly become a 31st Degree Freemason in the year 1965.

You may be interested to learn that while all this activity was taking place, the Government of Iraly sought help in stabilising The Tower of Pisa, Hasbro introduced their GI -Jim Action figure and Japan launched the first of their futuristic Bullet Trains. Sadly, in Ireland the news was not so bright as the entire Island was affected with Foot and Mouth disease. Things were so bad for the farmers that The Grand Lodge of Ireland suspended all Masonic meetings during the month of December 1967 and the Brethren only returned to Labour on the 2nd January 1968.

Debonaire Jim

Debonaire Jim

In 1974 Bro Penny was chosen to represent St Nicholas Lodge No 1014 at the forthcoming celebrations of the 250th anniversary of The Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1975. Bro Penny was installed as Master in 1975, which made him the 25th Master of 1014, aas it was also the 25th anniversary of the formation of the Lodge. James was delighted to host the Lodge anniversary Dinner and also organised a day trip to Scotland for the Lodge members and their Ladies. It was on this trip that Margaret found a good value bathroom set, that she would send Jim for in the years to come. One other item of note for the members of 1014 was the receipt of
a set of English Tracing Boards from a Brother Taylor, as a mark of thanks for the welcome he had received in Ireland.

In 1986 Bro Jim was one of a group of Brethren, who sent a memorial to the Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes, seeking the issue of another new Warrant in the town of Carrickfergus. THet received Warrant No 900 and in September 1986 Fergus Lodge 900 was Constituted in Joymount Presbyterian Church Hall by Rt Wor bro Robert L. Orr Provincial Grand Master of Antrim. Jim was of course elected to serve as Foundation Secretary, an office that he would continue to occupy for many years thereafter.

Thomas the Tank Engine and Friend.

Thomas the Tank Engine and Friend.

In the meantime Jim had build up a seperate career in the model railway society. He and good friend Norman Close travelled all over the UK to exhibit their model railway tableau. During this time Jim was invited to join an English Craft Lodge which he duly did. Over the years he maintained his English masonic links and was eventually invited to join other Masonic bodies culminating in receipt of his 31st degree in the English Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite.

Jims, greatest love was of course The Irish Lodge of Research, where he would also serve as Secretary for the last ten years. He was recently awarded the Lodge jewel of Merit, which has been very sparingly issued by the Lodge, and is a mark of his contribution to the administration of
the Lodge. He was recently appointed as Assistant Provincial Grand Lodge Librarian of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim.

Brethren as you can see, Jim has been a very active member of the Irish Constitution and of course the English Constitution as well. He is well
read, and is well aware of the many theories of our origins. We are delighted to see that his 50 year membership has been marked and we all wish him many more years to enjoy his Masonry.

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Sixty Year Jewel Presented at Cairncastle Lodge-Room.

cairncastle60yearjewel.jpg

cairncastle60yearjewel.jpg

A night of history and celebration was enjoyed at Cairncastle Masonic Lodge 788 at their stated communication in January. W.Bro Tommy Bell was presented with a 60 year certificate for membership of the Masonic Order.

Rt. W.Bro John Dickson who made the presentation said it was always a great pleasure to be part of such an evening, even more so in being asked to honour the brother personally. Tommy joined Cairncastle on 23rd January 1953, became WM in 1966 and was awarded his 50yr Jewel on 19th January 2003. Expressing gratitude to Tommy for his many years of dedicated service to the Order, the PGM added that Cairncastle had been blessed with a good share of brethren who gave so much time to Freemasonry in general.

In particular he highlighted V.W.Bro Sam Brennan who had been PGL Director of Ceremonies and W.Bro Alan Tweed who had been a long serving secretary of the lodge.

Tommy thanked the PGM for his kind words and indicated his delight at W.Bro Tweed being at the Lodge as he had served as Tommy’s Junior Warden.

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The Oldest Mason in Ireland.

Rt Wor Bro Cyril Quigley

Rt Wor Bro Cyril Quigley.

A small gathering of some fifty people, comprising senior Brethren, family and friends came together on Wednesday night to celebrate the 106th birthday of Rt Wor Bro Cyril Quigley. It was a lively event with many reminiscences of life in Greater Belfast over the last hundred years. We also learned that the oldest man in Ireland died a couple of weeks ago at the age of 107. Rt Wor Bro Cyril may not yet be the oldest man in Ireland, but he is most certainly the oldest Mason in Ireland.

He took the opportunity to inform all present that he had received his third Royal telegram from the Queen congratulating him on reaching his 106th birthday. There was some surprise that he had not received more communications from her Royal Majesty, but in his usual succinct way, Cyril was able to advise that the official telegrams are only sent out to mark your 100th birthday, 105th birthday and then yearly thereafter. He was extremely pleased to have now received Number Three.

He still keeps abreast of all the news from Grand Lodge, Supreme Grand Chapter, Grand Council and all the other Masonic bodies close to his heart. His memory is magnificent and he has a zest for life that would put many lesser men to shame. I’m sure that you will all join with me in wishing our greatly respected Brother an extremely happy birthday, and ask that he accepts our continued good wishes as he begins the run up to his 107th. We cannot promise him the excitement of another titanic launch, but we all hope that he will come along to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim, for another annual verse of Happy Birthday.

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Craft Anniversaries in 2013.

Cavan Bi-Centenary Jewel

Cavan Bi-Centenary Jewel

This year there will be 29 major anniversaries celebrated throughout the Craft celebrating Lodges whose history extends from 25 years to 275 years service to the Craft. Our two longest serving Lodges with Anniversaries this year are Antient Bandon Lodge No 84 in Munster and Cavan Lodge No 90 in Meath, both of whom celebrate 275 years of continuous working.Here we have an example of the Bi-Centenary jewel manufactured in Cavan, by a local watchsmith, to celebrate the Bi-Centenary of the Lodge in the year 1938.

Then we have a tranche of three Lodges celebrating 250 years of working. These Lodges are Ballintoy Lodge No 38, Ballyconnell Lodge No 405 Enniskillen and Armagh Lodge No 409. Then there is Annahilt Lodge No 683 which is celebrating its 225 anniversary this year. A further six Warrants celebrate their Bi-Centenary this year including Ballymoney Lodge No 57, North Antrim, St John’s Lodge No 163 Islandmagee, St Patrick’s Union Lodge No 175 Raloo, Star of Ards Lodge No 183 Greyabbey, Union Lodge No 1008 Portrush and Seaforth Lodge No 1009 Co Down.

Two Lodges Alexandre Lodge No 11 now meeting in Dalkey and Antiquity & Integrity Lodge No 80 Rathfriland both celebrate their 150th Anniversary this year.whilst a further four Warrants celebrate their 125th Anniversary. These include Downpatrick Lodge No 369, City Temperance Lodge No 481, Border Lodge No 482, Fivemiletown and Ensor Lodge No 625 Loughgall. Celebrating their centenary this year are three Lodges all named after prominent local freemasons. These Lodges are the John Heron Lepper Lodge No 346 Carrickfergus, The J.Pim Thompson Lodge No 349 and the Sir Henry Wilson and Sir Charles Cameron Lodge No 353 Arthur Square.

Seventy Five years ago the Sir George Clarke Memorial Lodge No 669 was formed in Arthur Square and continues to grow from strength to strength. Two other Lodges Gilliland No 824 and Excaliber Lodge No 825 both celebrate their fiftieth anniversaries. Finally we have a further five younger Lodges all celebrating their 25th Anniversary. These include Sino Lusitano Lodge No 897 Macau, St James Lodge No 898 Montigo Bay, Quaerers Verum Lodge No 914 Arthur Square, Eastern Gate Lodge No 972 Crumlin and Lux Diei ( the Daylight Lodge ) in Molesworth Street, Dublin.

Brethren, it never ceases to amaze me. We do this exercise every year, and without fail, we always find a fascinating list of Irish Lodges, all with great stories to be told. It is our intention to revisit some of these stories as the year progresses.

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An Old Memorial in St John’s C.of I. Antrim

An Old Masonic Memorial in Antrim

An Old Masonic Memorial in Antrim.

One of the most interesting Churches in County Antrim, is the old Church of Ireland Church located in the centre of Antrim and known by the name St John’s.This is a Church with a long history, and was involved in many stirring times including the Battle of Antrim in June 1798, when the United Irishmen tried to take over the town.

It is also true to say that St John’s is a family church, having for many years a close association with the family of the Viscount Massereene and Ferrard. There are many memorials and stained glass windows throughout the Church linked to the Massereene family.

One of the most interesting, in my view is the memorial erected in 1905 to the memory of Clotworthy John Eyre, Viscount Massereene and Ferrard, Baron of Lough Neagh, Baron Oriel etc born 9th October 1842. Died 26th June 1905. This tablet was erected by Florence, Viscountess Massereeneas to his memory. This is a very personal memorial in which she commemorates the two great loves of his life – His love of Music and his love of Freemasonry.

So Brethren, it always pays to keep your eyes open, when you visit a new building, for there are many Masonic memorials located all around us. And if you spot an unusual Masonic Memorial, then drop us a line by e-mail and let us know, so that we will have a chance to feature it, at some time in the future.

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Retirement of Rt Wor Bro Dennis Millen.

Antrim Bids Farewell To It’s Provincial Deputy Grand Master.

Rt Wor Bro Dennis Millen D.P.G.M..

Rt Wor Bro Dennis Millen D.P.G,M.

It was a cold, wet night in September when Antrim Freemasons gathered at Rosemary Street for the Provincial meeting which saw the retirement of Dennis Millen as the Provincial Deputy Grand Master. However, the warmth of feeling expressed that evening for a long serving officer, more than made up for the weather outside. Members from differing branches of the order queued to give testament and show their affection for a hard-working and much loved brother.

At the Ballycarry Charity Breakfast 2012.

At the Ballycarry Charity Breakfast 2012.

Dennis, humbled by what he heard, didn’t let it go to his head and stated that all his work within the order was for the betterment of his fellow brethren and he had gained much pleasure and gained many friends from his time serving the province and at times the entire Irish Constitution. In his farewell speech, Dennis made reference to the recent turmoil within the Province and hoped that all brethren could be reconciled.

Dennis recalled that he joined the Masonic Order some 46 years ago when a friend Trevor Hanna, nominated him to Zion ML 700, Rosemary Street. Dennis is still a member of that lodge today although it has changed somewhat. “Three lodges were struggling with members and we decided to amalgamate. We’re now Festival of Zion ML 796, which incorporates a piece from each.” He explained. Dennis joined the Rosemary Street Social Club and became its secretary for 10 years whilst also joining the charity committee. During the tenure of Robert Thomson as PGM, Dennis was invited to become a PAGM with responsibility for the charities of the Province, subsequently forming the Antrim Charity Council. “My heart has always been in the work of Masonic Charities ever since I heard Rt.W.Bro.Gordon Bradshaw give a talk about the charities in my mother lodge.” added Dennis.

Taking a keen interest in ritual Dennis was always a regular attender at the Grand Lodge of Instruction and he was thrilled to have been made an honorary member in recognition of his attendances.

When asked what he felt was his most noticeable contribution to Freemasonry, he said that his dedication to charity and getting different charities working and communicating with each other was high on the list along with masonic breakfasts and the Christmas Carol Services. “However, it’s not about me.” he insisted, “It’s the future that matters. We need to address the continued cost of maintaining halls and continue to improve our image to the wider community that we are a part of.”

Dennis with a Model Mason.

Dennis with a Model Mason.

When I enquired why he’d decided now was the right time to step down he explained that new blood was needed, young and fresh. He felt it important to support John Dickson as the PGM during the transition period after he was installed in the post.

“I’d like to wish the PGM, officers and brethren success for the future and extend my warmest congratulations to W.Bro. Lyness on his appointment to the office of PDGM Antrim.” He added.

Dennis continues to be an active member of the Masonic Order and still has many duties on committees in Dublin, he will also remain a familiar face within Antrim and looks forward to seeing the Province moving from strength to strength and shall continue to support Charity work by the district committees and lodges alike.

Dennis Investing Master of St George 166.

Dennis Investing Master of St George 166.

MICHAEL HOLDEN
Grand Lodge PR Officer

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The Missing Jewels from Downpatrick Hall.

Brethren, we are very grateful to Bros Mervyn McClurg and Gavin Ringland for keeping us all well briefed on the developments at Downpatrick. It would, at these early stages appear that some 12 to 15 Masonic jewels have definately been taken, and there may still be more to come.

33rd Degree Jewel

33rd Degree Jewel

Members Jewel - Friendly Brothers of St Patrick.

Members Jewel – Friendly Brothers of St Patrick.

Personal PGM of Down's Jewel.

Personal PGM of Down jewel.

Past MWS Jewel from Down Rose Croix Chapter No 14

Past MWS Jewel from Down Rose Croix Chapter No 14.

American Commanderie Jewel

American Commanderie Jewel

Ornate Royal Arch jewel

Ornate Royal Arch jewel

Early Royal Arch Watchglass jewel

Early Royal Arch Watchglass jewel

Foundation Master's jewel for One and All Masonic Lodge No 524

Foundation Master’s jewel for One and All Masonic Lodge No 524

First Master's Crest Lodge 524

First Master’s Crest Lodge 524

Here we can see some of the most important jewels that were taken, and I would ask you all to keep an eye on ebay, your local auction houses, jewellers, car-boot sales etc and if you see any of these jewels, at all, then please contact me at bobthebuilder303@yahoo.com and I will pass your information on to the proper authorities. As you can see, this is quite a unique collection, containing as it does, jewels, that were presented to both Rt Wor Bro Robert Wallace and Sharman H Crawford. These items are irreplaceable, and I would ask you all to do your best, to help in their recovery. Your efforts will be greatly appreciated by all the Brethren that use the Downpatrick Hall, the current P.G.M., Officers and Members of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Down,and of course all the many many Brethren who strive to preserve our Masonic heritage here in Ireland.

Robert Bashford 29th November 2012.

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Robbery at Downpatrick Masonic Hall.

Downpatrick Masonic Hall.

Downpatrick Masonic Hall.

It is with deep regret that I report on another Masonic Hall coming under attack in the last few days. In this instance, the Masonic Hall in Downpatrick was broken into on Wednesday the 21st November 2012 and then again on Saturday the 24th November 2012. On the first occasion the Hall was completely ransacked and some monies were stolen. On the Saturday, a number of Masonic jewels were stolen from the First Floor museum and sadly the building was ransacked again.

Masonic Crest at Front of Hall.

Masonic Crest at Front of Hall.

The Hall in Downpatrick is located on the Mall, opposite to the old Downpatrick Gaol and on the road up past the Bishop’s Palace to the Church of Ireland Cathedral of Down. This is the legendary burial spot for St Patrick, St Bridget and St Columba. The Hall itself is a rare example of an Arts and Crafts building that was completed and opened in the year 1907. The Hall accommodation includes a small Care-takers flat, some fine mosaics in the floor and some very fine stained glass windows. The Hall is used not only for Masonic meetings but also provides facilities for the local Credit Union. It would appear from initial information that the thieves were in search of cash when they attacked the Hall on Wednesday night,and then they found the absolute treasure house that was the First floor museum. What I do not understand is this urge by all mindless thugs to wreck and damage the surroundings in these buildings when they carry out these heinous crimes.

A View of the Museum.

A View of the Museum.

Once the PSNI have completed their preliminary investigations, and the extent of items missing becomes clearer, we shall keep you all advised on the details of the items stolen. Once again we will use the skills and interests of all of you to help our Brethren in Downpatrick, and hopefully get their rare and important artifacts returned to their proper home. In the meantime if you would like to learn a little more about this beautiful Hall and its contents, have a look at our video presentation entitled “The Man from God Know’s Where“.

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Walking Wounded.

One of the most horrific days of the entire Great War passed by on the 1st July 1916 – the day that began the battle, now known as The Battle of the Somme. The numbers killed and wounded were so high that the entire administrative support began to break down, with the result that the most seriously wounded, were taken off the battlefield by the regimental medical porters. This left great numbers of men, who, although wounded, could still walk, and these men basically had to walk, slowly and painfully back out, to their own, rear trenches, to seek medical assistance. These slow lines of wounded men caught the eye of the Rev Geoffrey Ankertell Studdert Kennedy, who wrote the following magnificent poem, recording the scene,

Walking Wounded.

Still I see them coming, coming
In their broken ragged line
Walking wounded in the sunlight,
Clothed in majesty divine.

For the fairest of the lilies
That God’s summer ever sees
N’er was robed in royal beauty
Such as decks the least of these;

Tattered, torn, and bloody khaki,
Gleams of white flesh in the sun,
Robes symbolic of their glory
And the great deeds they have done.

Purple robes and snowy linen
Have for earthly kings sufficed,
But these bloody , sweaty tatters
Wear the robes of Jesus Christ.

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Provincial Grand lodge of Glasgow

Meet the Admin Team of PGL Glasgow.

meet the Admin Team of PGL Glasgow.

On a recent trip to Scotia Minor, I had the great pleasure to visit 54 Berkerley Street, Glasgow, home to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow. Rt Wor Bro Alistair Henderson and his team made me very welcome and spent some time telling me about Freemasonry in and around the city of Glasgow.

The PGL of Glasgow Crest.

The PGL of Glasgow Crest.

I need to also mention Wor Bro Robert McDougall Provincial Grand Secretary and a PM of Lodge 4 S.C. and Wor Bro Ian McMillen Provincial Grand Treasurer and a PM of Lodge 1486 S.C. Ian drew the short straw and took me off to the basement to show me some of the fascinating material preserved in their excellent little library and museum. And what an interesting collection it is.

Unusual Masonic Apron.

Unusual Masonic Apron.

.Etched Masonic Mirror

Etched Masonic Mirror.

Provincial Crest.

Provincial Crest.

And so it goes on. They have a very good collection of jewels and tokens from a large number of Glasgow Lodges including Founders jewels, Members jewels, PM jewels and Commemmorative jewels. If you are one of us interested in jewelology, then you will find this collection fascinating. There is indeed something
for everyone. One particularly interesting little pin produced last year, is one of the very few Masonic poppy badges.

Glasgow Masonic poppy Pin.

Glasgow Masonic poppy Pin.

Our Brethren in Glasgow gave me a marvellous welcome and spent a lot of time in showing me around their excellent facilities. They produce an excellent oval PGL enamelled Lodge token, which will take pride of place in my collection. They also produced their own version of the official Grand Lodge Bi-Centenary and other anniversary jewels, so I will have to keep a keen eye on future offerings from E-Bay.

Glasgow's 300th Anniversary

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Annual Charity Breakfast in North Antrim.

Some of the Brethren in Attendance.

Some of the Brethren in Attendance.

A charity breakfast was held in the Bayview Hotel last Saturday to raise much needed funds for two local charities. The event was organised by the local district charity committee of the Freemasons of Ireland. An annual event now in its fourth year, the hotel commences serving meals at 7.00am and finishes at 10.00am and had a very varied selection of food on offer. Wor Bro Andrew Bingham, the Secretary of the charity committee was delighted with the turnout, “We’ve served a hundred more breakfasts than we did last year. There are many people here who have no association with Freemasons, but want to support us and the charities.” Those charities that are to benefit from the function are, Guide Dogs for the the Blind and the Chest, Heart & Stroke Association .

Tori and her guide-dog Ushi.

Tori and her guide-dog Ushi.

Representatives from Guide dogs for the Blind were present and enjoyed a breakfast themselves; Tori with her guide dog Ushi seemed to be enjoying their morning. “I’m overwhelmed by the support here today. Everyone sounds like they’re really enjoying themselves.” Tori went on to explain that each dog costs approximately £50,000 for its lifetime as a guide dog and every penny raised was gratefully received.

Wor Bro Bingham welcomes an old Friend.

Wor Bro Bingham welcomes an old Friend.

One popular and regular visitor to North Antrim events was Rt Wor Bro Dennis Millen, Deputy Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim. Dennis has travelled many miles over the years in his unstinting support of the Masonic Charities. Wor Bro Andrew Bingham, was delighted to welcome him to the breakfast, on behalf of the Cary and Dunluce Masonic Charity Committee.

Officers of the Cary & Dunluce Charity Committee.

Officers of the Cary & Dunluce Charity Committee.

At the end of the Breakfast, the Committee Chairman Wor Bro Stirling announced to those people still at the Bayview Hotel, that the money raised was in excess of £2000.00 and with more donations promised it is hoped that the final figure will be closer to £3000.00.

We are particularly grateful to Wor Bro Michael Holden, the Grand Lodge Press Officer for the Northern Provinces, for writing this brief report and taking the photographs, which accompany this article.

If anyother Brother wishes to avail of this service to advertise a fortcoming event or report on the outcome of a Masonic Occasion, then we invite you all to get in touch at the usual e-mail address.

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RemembranceSunday.

The Irish Freemasons Poppy The Irish Freemasons Poppy

Once again Remembrance Sunday has arrived and we all have another opportunity to remember the great sacrifices made by our armed forced and others to preserve our freedom as a people and maintain our way of life. In many many cases this results in our boys and girls being called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. It seems that hardly a day passes that we do not learn of the death of another service man or woman, somewhere in the world. One of our latest casulties was Combat Medical Technician Corporal Channing Day from 3 Medical Regiment. She was killed in a fire fight in Helmond Province, Afghanistan, as she was trying to save the life of Corporal David O’Connor of the Royal Marine Commando. Channing was only 25 years old when she died, having joined up in 2005. She was fearless in action and was renown for her medical efforts in support of our troops. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family in Comber at this time, along with the family of Corporal O’Conner who also died in the same incident. Sadly two more British soldiers have since been killed in Helmond, as we conmtinue to help the people of Afghanistan find a better way of life for themselves and their children.

Corporal Channing Day 3 Medical Regiment

Corporal Channing Day 3 Medical Regiment

A few days ago the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim recived a donation of items from the family of the late Worshipful Brother William John Harbinson. Billy, as he was known was a member of the Rev Samual Cochrane Masonic Lodge No 413, Belfast, having joined in 1946, at the end of the Second World War. He seems to have been a quiet, diligent and hard working Brother who progressed through the Lodge, serving as W.M. in 1963. He joined the Rev Samuel Cochrane Royal Arch Chapter, and served as Excellent King in 1965. He received his 50 year membership jewel in 1996 and subsequently also received his 50 year Chapter jewel. Eventually he was Called to The Grand Lodge above, and it was only at that time that his immediate family learned a little more about their Father’s military career. He had initially joined the Royal Ulster Rifles back in 1932, and had spent six years with the Rifles, in England and on various postings throughout India. He came out of the army in 1938, returned to Belfast and got married. When The Second World War began in 1939, Billy returned to the military, where he was send to bolster numbers in the Royal Welsh Regiment. He served in various postings during the War, ending up in Crete in 1941. He was there on the 20th May 1941 when the Germans launched the first massed airborne invasion deploying thousands of paratroopers. After ten solid days of fighting on the island, the battle was lost, and Billy who had been captured with many of his fellow soldiers was destined to spend the rest of the War in captivity. He passed through a number of Prisioner of War camps and made several attempts to escape. At one stage he was held in a camp on the outskirts of Berlin, from which he escaped and tried to escape by using their railway system. Finally he ended up in Colditz, where he was one of the team involved in making a wooden glider in the roof-space of the Castle. His particular duty in this instance was turning the hand generator to produce the electrical current needed to run the lights in the working area. After the War, he was released, demobbed in 1946, and the rest, as they say is history.

Royal Regiment of Wales

Royal Regiment of Wales

One little known aspect of Memorial Sunday, is the involvement of Freemasons in the various parades held in Cities, Towns and Villages throughout the country. A number of our Military Lodges such as Glittering Star No 322, The 4th/9th Royal Dragoon Guards No 295, Garryowen No 923 and Thiepval Memorial 1020 have already held their Lodge Meetings yesterday including an Act of Remembrance. In Scotland, Grand Lodge has become involved in THe Field of Remembrance – an initiative organised by Poppy Scotland in the Princes Streert Gardens Edinburgh. Grand Lodge commissioned 650 special Masonic poppy crosses, one for each of the home Lodges in the Scottish Constitution. This is an excellent initiative, where the public at large can see that Freemasons are indeed apart of Society, and played their part in the defence of Crown and Constitution. At this point it is worth remembering that the most decorated soldier in the Second World War was none other than Lieutenant Colonel Robert Paddy Blair Mayne DSO and three bars, Croix de Guerre etc was the Master of a Masonic Lodge in Newtownards in Co Down. Again, we remember with great pride the service given by Colonel Paddy and so many others in the Defence of the Realm.

Poppy Memorial in Edinburgh. Poppy Memorial in Edinburgh

Our service personnel do not start the Wars in this country, but they are usually the ones sent off to fight on our behalf. And it is our duty to support them in any way that we can, in peacetime, at War or when they are brought home injured or worse. We owe a great debt to our Service men and women, 365 days a year, and we, through our politians should be doing all that we can to support them.

Bob

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Congratulations to the People of Donegal.

Donegal, is a county in the far North West of Ireland, with marvellous scenery, friendly people and bracing weather. It is a place that I know well and have enjoyed the great warmth of the people over many years. People like Minister Dinney McGinley Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, probably one of the most approachable Government Ministers that it has been my great pleasure to meet, Councillor Noel McBride Mayor of County Donegal, Councillor Mary Kelly Deputy Mayor of Buncrana Town Council, the officers and staff of Donegal County Museum, particularly Ms Caroline Carr, one of the curators. David Magee and his team at Fort Dunree, John McCarter, and his very friendly team in the Buncrana RNLI, and all the many other inhabitants dispersed throughout the county boundary. These are some of the many many people who have given their support and assistance to the activities of www.irishfreemasonry.com.

Outbreak of Yellow and Green in Letterkenny.

Outbreak of Yellow and Green in Letterkenny.

In the last few weeks there has been an incredible outbreak of yellow and green throughout the entire county. Houses have been painted yellow and green, Cars have been painted yellow and green, and in the far west, in the kingdom of Lug, the very sheep have been painted yellow and green. This Brethren is the living exemplification of the old popular Irish love of tribal warfare. In this case the battle between Donegal and Mayo for the honour to host the famous Sam or Sam Maguire trophy, awarded annually to the winning tem in the All Ireland Senior Football championship. The cup is based on the design of the famous Ardagh Chalice and was made in Dublin by Matthew J Staunton silversmiths of D’Olier Street, Dublin. The cup was first awarded in 1928, and was last won by Donegal in 1992. After a hard fought game in Croke Park earlier today, the trophy was again won by Donegal, and in the process they unleashed, probably one of the biggest parties ever seen on the Island of Ireland.

I think it was a few years ago that the Irish Times described the G.A.A. as the Sports wing of Irish Freemasonry. Bearing in mind all the support and encouragement that we have enjoyed in the County in recent months, we can but add our heartiest congratulations to all in Donegal, hoping that they will savour and enjoy the fruits of victory brought to them by their hardworking County team. We look forward to our next visit, when we can hear first hand some of the stories from their journey to victory.

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Culture Night 2012 : Dublin and Cork.

Just a short note of congratulation to all those hardworking Freemasons in Dublin and Cork who gave up their Friday night to staff the Molesworth Street and Tucky Street Halls, as an integral part of the annual Culture Night festivities. In both locations large numbers of visitors turned out for their annual visit throught the Halls, where they had the opportunity to learn first hand, a little about the origins of our Antient Craft, a bit about our ethos and a lot about the esprit du corps, commonly experienced in most Masonic gatherings.

One curious fact about the Dublin and Cork halls, is the fact that they are very accessible buildings, open to the general public on a regular basis, and still the crowds turn out regularly to get the guided tour and take reassurance from what they see and hear on these regular visits. Living proof Brethren of the central role of Freemasonry in the history of the Irish people. It is not for nothing that we make the claim that Freemasonry is a part of Irish Society, not apart from it.

Extract from The Irish Times 22.9.12

Extract from The Irish Times 22.9.12

The Irish Times records that some 3000 visitors trooped through the various rooms in Molesworth Street, and indeed their main picture is a view of The Grand Lodge Room. It just goes to show the level of interest out there for all things Masonic.

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Adventures of an Airman.

Battle of the Atlantic.

Battle of the Atlantic.

I had the great pleasure to attend a historical talk in the new Roe Valley Arts Centre in Limavady where Norman Thorpe, curator of The Shackleton Aviation and Space Museum gave a fascinating talk on the Battle of the Atlantic. This was the key battle of the Second World War, beginning on the first day of the War and continued right through to the last day, some six years later. Had Great Britain lost this battle, they would, by default have lost the War. The country could not have survived without the food, fuel, munitions and other crucial supplies that had to be brought in by sea.

However, this is not the story I want to tell you tonight. Sitting quietly at the talk were a number of retired RAF personnel, over to attend their annual Shackleton Reunion. These were all men who had flown the Shackleton over the years, and most of them were frequent returnees to these annual gatherings. At the end of the formal presentation, most of the people at the talk departed homewards, whilst the rest of us had a very entertaining discussion on all matters military. In the midst of our visitors, I met a man in his eighties, who had served in the Royal Air Force regiment during the ninteen fifties. This was a curious time in Britain, just after the war in Korea, when Britain was looking to improve its defences. In December 1954, the MOD announced its intention of developing a megaton hydrogen bomb, which would be as powerful as the detonation of one million tons of TNT. A number of different scientific groups were formed to look at various design issues such as guidance systems, casings and housings etc.

On the 19th June 1956 the MOD sent an advance party, in to the North Pacific to Christmas Island, where they began establishing test facilities. By July, there was a tented city in place with accommodation for some 2000 sailors, soldiers and airmen. These numbers were over and above the many naval personnel based on the various warships in harbour and the civilian scientific personnel.

Within two years the MOD were far enough advanced to send a few devices over to Christmas Island for test purposes. This timescale compares very well with the Americans who took seven years to develop their bomb to a similar state. It was early in the year 1957 that my new friend, who I will call Ted, was shipped over to Christmas Island from his home in Lancashire. It was his first time out of England, and what a posting it turned out to be. As Ted was getting himself organised in Tent City, the powers that be continued to develop their Testing proposals. The plan was to drop a device at high altitude, set for an air detonation some thirty miles south of Christmas Island, an island that was relatively uninhabited. The prevaling winds were generally blowing out to sea and the general consensus was that radiation levels on the island would be low to zero.

Various test structures and monitoring stations were established all over the island and preparations were completed for the big day. All the woman and children were taken off the island and taken to a nearby island, as a precaution, in advance of the tests. At the last moment various types of military vehicles and equipment were dispersed over the island and the troops, including Ted were given white paper suits and instructed to sit out in the open, on the runway, with their backs to the blast. They were instructed to push the flats of their hands over their eyes, to protect themselves from the brillance of the detonation. At last D-Day arrived and the first bomb was dropped at 12.00 noon on the 15th May 1957.

First Detonation at Christmas Island.

First Detonation at Christmas Island.

Ted told us all of the events before, during and after the detonation and you could have heard a pin drop, as he related his story. The day began early with the dispersal of the troops personal belongings into some of the hanger buildings at the airport. They were issued with their white paper suits and were all assembled on the runways before zero hour. A tannoy system was in place to keep them all informed of the countdown, and the civilian scientists gave them last moment instruction on protecting their eyes. The men sat in their groups, with their backs to the direction of detonation. Ted’s recollection was of a great sense of uncertainty amongst the troops as they all waited to face the unknown. By five to twelve all the groups were silent and the only sound was the tannoy counting relentlessly on to Zero. Dead on the stroke of twelve the sky lit up brilliantly behind them, as they all concentrated in pushing the palms of their hands into their eyes. Ted’s comment at this time was that as the flash occured, his hands lit up and became opaque, very like an X-ray. Once the flash receded, they started to stand up as the percussion blast finally hit them. It apparently felt like being out in the bright sunlight.

This was one of a sequence of three nuclear blasts that were detonated in the air some thirty miles south of the southern tip of the island. These bombs were all dropped by a flight of four engined Valiant Bombers from 49 Squadron, normally based at RAF Wittering in Northampton. The final bomb was dropped on the 19th June 1957, and at that point an official announcement was made about the Pacific Nuclear Trials. This announcement was made by Air Vice Marshal W.E. Oulton Commander of the Task Force and W.R.J.Cooke the scientific director of the programme.

Sadly, the subsequent outcomes for those on the ground were not great. Over the years, many of those involved fell victim to a number of radiation type sicknesses such as cancer. Indeed the bomb aimer on the plane that dropped the first device developed cancer. When he took the MOD to court, their defence was quite simple – he was not on the ground at the time of the detonations. Quite clearly he was not on the ground, as he was flying at the time, bombing his friends on the ground.

Christmas Island Pennent

Christmas Island Pennent

Thankfully, my new friend Ted seems to have survived the whole awful experience, and is in reasonable health for a man of his age. This dignified and quiet man held his audience spellbound, as he related what his country had done to him, and so many others on the altar of military expediance. Remarkably, this man still has good memories of his military experiences, so much so that he still commemorates his time in the military and the companionship of his mates in times of hardship. All I can say is that it is thanks to the many men like Ted, who put their country first that the British Forces are so professional in all that they do.

Ted and Friends

Ted and Friends

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The Loss of a Brother.

Rodney Palastanga

Rodney Palastanga

Brethren, once again, I want to record the untimely death of another worthy Brother, Secretary of my mother Lodge Moyarget 280 I.C. Wor Brother Rodney Alan Palastanga, was called home last Wednesday night,and was laid to rest in Toberkeigh Presbyterian Church, Mosside on Saturday morning. Rodney joined the Lodge some twelve years ago, shortly after he came to live in North Antrim. He worked his way through the various offices in the Lodge, serving as Worshipful Master in 2007. After a year shadowing the previous Secretary, he became Lodge Secretary in 2009. In the past few months, he was instrumental in sourcing funding from the National Lottery, sufficient to allow us to provide new windows and external doors within our Lodge Building.

Rodney was a diligent Brother with an interest in the ethos of Freemasonry. In recent years he had taken the next step and joined Ballycastle Royal Arch Chapter No 89. In many ways, this was a natural step for a Moyarget Mason, as many members of our Lodge have joined R.A.C. No 89.

Brethren, our deepest sympathy is extended to his loving wife Agnes and their two children, Stephen and Kerry, and the rest of the family circle, on the loss of a loving husband and father. Rodney will also be missed by his Brethren in Moyarget and his Companions in Ballycastle. Yet we were all honoured and pleased to walk part of the way with Rodney on his journey. I think it was John Fiske who defined his belief in the immortality of the soul, not in the sense in which he accepts the demonstrable truths of science, but as a supreme act of faith in the reasonableness of God’s work.

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The Masonic Astronauts.

John Glenn Astronaut

John Glenn Astronaut

Our story begins with John Glenn, who was born in Cambridge Ohio in 1921. He went on to become a college graduate, distinguished war hero, first American to orbit Earth, U.S. senator, the oldest person to fly in space. On February 20 1962 he became the first American and third man ever to orbit the earth. President Kennedy brought him out of the Space programme in 1964 and Glenn went on to become a Democratic Senator for Ohio. In 1998, at the age of 77 John Glenn returned to space with six other past astronauts for a ten day period to carry out research for NASA on the effects of space on the elderly.

Gus Grissom Astronaut

Gus Grissom Astronaut

Gus Grissom was born in Mitchell, Indiana, and after completing his education, he completed his military service in the USAF, before transferring to NASA and the Space Programme. During those busy years he also found time to join his hometown Masonic lodge – Mitchell Lodge 228 Grand Lodge of Indiana. Gus was clearly very good at his work and was selected to take part in the Mercury Programme in 1961. He became the second Astronaut into space, after John Glenn when he flew a suborbital mission piloting Liberty Bell 7 in July 1961.

As a result of this work, Grissom was selected to be the first man to walk on the moon. Sadly he was killed on 27th January 1967 along with fellow astronauts Ed White and Roger Chaffee during a training exercise and pre-launch test for the Apollo 1 mission at the Kennedy Space Centre.

Neil Armstrong Astronaut

Neil Armstrong Astronaut

In 1969 Neil Armstrong and Edwin Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Buzz was an active member of the American Scottish Rite. He was a member of other Masonic disciplines including the Craft, the RAC, the Masonic Knight Templars and the Shriners. As Apollo 11 landed on the sea of Tranquillity, a radio message was sent to Cape Canaveral stating that The Eagle has Landed. This was followed by Neil Armstrong himself exiting the capsule with the words – “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. With those words he stepped onto the moon and made history. Shortly afterwards his companion and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin followed him out. He was carrying the flag of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite and after unveiling it on the moon; he took it back home and presented it to the museum of The House of The Temple in Washington D.C.

Sadly we learned of the passing of Neil Armstrong on the 27th August 2012 at the age of 82. He was born in Wapakoneta Ohio and died in Cincinnati from complications arising after surgery on blocked arteries.
Brethren, we give thanks to these men for their selfless contributions to the growth of the human conditions. They were prepared to step into the unknown to help advance human knowledge, in circumstances where their lives were put in severe jeopardy. We can only but stand in awe of such bravery and dedication, and in this instance convey our deepest sympathy to the Armstrong family on the loss of their highly respected and well loved member.

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The History of Freemasonry in Donegal.

For anyone in the North West of Ireland tomorrow, there is an open invitation to come along to the Donegal County Museum, High Road Letterkenny around 1.45pm in the afternoon and sit in on my presentation entitled The History of Freemasonry in Donegal. I am gratefull to the Donegal County Museum service for their kind invitation to make this presentation as part of the National Heritage Week celebrations in the Republic of Ireland.

National Heritage Week.

National Heritage Week.

My task, is quite simple, it is to present a brief overview of the history and development of Freemasonry within the county boundaries of Donegal from 1757, the year that the first Warrant was issued in the county of Donegal, right up to the present day. So, over the intervening 255 year period, I will trace the history of all
forty three Warrants issued within the county, record their history and comment on those thirteen Warrants still active today. An interesting challenge, and I will have to work hard to maintain the interest of my listeners, as the afternoon progresses. I’m hoping to conclude the session with a short question and answer session at the end.

So, What do you see?

So, What do you see?

Brethren, you are all familiar with my belief, that it is important to show the world at large that Freemasonry is a part of society and not apart from society. It is only by presenting our story to the world, that we can show people that they have nothing to fear, and indeed encourage them to take a greater interest and show support to our activities and aspirations.

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Open Day at Crumlin Road Masonic Centre, Belfast.

Clearly Saturday the 18th August 2012 was another busy day on the Irish Masonic calendar. Not only did our Brethren in Athlone open their hall to the general public, but, our Brethren on the Crumlin Road, in Belfast joined with them in opening up to the general public. The Hall, located at 95 Crumlin Road, is a Grade II listed building, tucked quietly in on the country side of the old Crumlin Road prison. It is the third hall, used by the Brethren on the Crumlin Road, and was purpose built for its role as a Masonic Centre.

Newsletter Report on Freemasons Open Day.

Newsletter Report on Freemasons Open Day.

Wor Bro David Booth Provincial Senior Grand Deacon of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim, was one of the leading lights in the recent extensive clean-up at the Hall, in preparation for Saturday’s opening. He managed to get a very supportive article into the Belfast Newsletter, on the morning of the opening and, as a result, the Hall also had a steady flow of curious and enquiring visitors throughout the day. Amongst the many visitors on the day were the Rt Wor Provincial Grand Master – Rt Wor Bro John Dickson, and several other members of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim.

As previously stated, in my Athlone report, I would also congratulate Wor Bro David and his team, for taking that first step, to show the world at large, that we, in the Masonic Order are a part of Society, rather than apart from society. We are a group of men who meet for philanthropic reasons, and like to play our part in supporting those less fortunate than ourselves. Yet, Freemasonry is so much more, it helps in the social development of its members, encourages our members to be well informed and play their part in society and gives young men a structure in which they can learn, grow and gain confidence in a gathering of like minded individuals.

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Open Day at Athlone Lodge No 101 I.C.

The Brethren of Athlone opening their Lodge-rooms to the general public, on Saturday last, as part of the National Heritage Week initiative throughout the Republic of Ireland. This is a scheme whereby buildings throughout the state, which are not usually open to the public, will be open to receive visitors who will receive guided tours of the building and its content. Wor Bro John Symes and his team, were there in number from the 10.00AM start until the end of the day at 4.00PM, and during their day, took many visitors around their building.

Some of the Visitors on the 18th August.

Some of the Visitors on the 18th August.

There was a good level of curiosity among our many visitors, who were all delighted to have this opportunity to visit a Masonic Lodge. As expected many questions were asked, and certainly , in my time, those questioners were all more than happy with the answers given. It was an excellent day for the Lodge, the Province and the Constitution, as a whole. Another clear example of our role as an Order within society rather than an institution apart from society. I hope that when the next Heritage Week comes along in 2013, more of our Lodge Hall Committees follow the glowing example of Athlone.

The Masonic Hall in Athlone.

The Masonic Hall in Athlone.

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Another Loss to The Irish Craft.

Brethren, another member of the Two Hundred Travellers Club has been called home to rest. Wor Brother Eric Wardle and his wife Mina were frequent attendees at our Lodge of Research visitations throughout the Island of Ireland, over the past number of years. From Larne to Limerick and from Ramelton to Waterford. His love of cameras and technology was well acknowledged by us all, and he played his part in the success of Lodge CC- The Irish Lodge of Research. He was elected on to the management committee of the Lodge a few years ago and had progressed through all the offices, up to Senior Warden, at the start of this year ( 2012 ). Eric was a popular brother, with an easy way about him, which meant that he was active in Lodge and at refreshment. His favourite trip away was the infamous Aberfoyle visit in 2008, when he served as one of the members of The Escape Committee.

Wor Bro Eric Wardle

Wor Bro Eric Wardle

Eric came to Freemasonry, late in life when he joined his Mother Lodge in the Crumlin Road Masonic Centre in Belfast. He had a great interest in the life of the hall and spent some twenty years as the Crumlin Road Club Treasurer and Hall Keeper. Despite his recent illness, and when he was able, he had shown a keen interest in the forthcoming planned open day in The Crunlin Road Hall later this month. He kept a benign eye on progress as a major tidy-up and repaint was completed in advance of the big day.

Eric in Aberfoyle 2008.

Eric in Aberfoyle 2008.

We sat under an old thorn-tree
And talked away the night,
Told all that had been said or done
Since first we saw the light.

Eric spent some time in the services and whilst there learned a way of life that remained with him to the end. He was always smartly turned out, and you could have seen your reflection in the shine off his shoes. Eric was, in many ways, a young Mason ( despite his age ) and had a hunger for Masonry. He was keen to learn and as a consequence, he worked hard in Lodge and out of it for Freemasonry. It was an honour knowing Eric, and spending some time in his company. He will be badly missed by all, but particularly missed by Mina, Alan and the rest of the family circle. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all at this time.

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Obituary.

Brethren, it is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I record the passing of Very Wor Bro David Bramwell McCutcheon, past Senior Grand Warden of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim, Past Master and Director of Ceremonies of Royal Blue Lodge 216 Carnlough, He was one of the very few holders of The Jewel of Merit in the Irish Lodge of Research No 200, where he also served as Director of Ceremonies for many years. He was an active promoter of The Larne Class of Instruction, where he acted as Secretary and he was a member of The Installed Master’s Lodge of Antrim No 218.

Very Wor Bro David B McCutcheon P.P.S.G.W.A.

Very Wor Bro David B McCutcheon P.P.S.G.W.A.

Davy was born in South Armagh in 1929, and spent most of his working life in the Royal Ulster Constabulary. In 1953 his Masonic career started in Lodge 819 Ederney, County Fermanagh. Due to the nature of his work Davy was moved about the six counties of Ulster on a regular basis and it was Jocelyn Masonic Lodge in Belfast, where Davy completed his third degree. He moved to Larne in 1962 and affiliated to Carnlough Lodge No 216, becoming their Wor Master in 1980. Then he was invested as their Director of Ceremonies, a post that he held for over 20 years. He represented his Lodge for many years on the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim’s Board of General Purposes. Eventually he was elected to serve the Province as Senior Grand Warden for the usual term of twelve months. He was one of the founders of The Larne Class of Instruction and served many offices in that Class including Secretary for quite a few years. I had the great honour, a few years ago to present him with a small set of working tools, as a memento of some fifty years service to Freemasonry in the Larne district. However Davy’s greatest love was The Irish Lodge of Research, which he joined in the 1970’s and served faithfully right up to the time of death. Davy was something of an instutition,and when the Lodge lost their collecting plates, Davy made us some old fashioned bags on short batons, as collecting dishes, and these bags are still in use right up to the present time.

In the 1980’s Davy was the first man to come up with the idea to produce and issue a Lodge news-sheet, and so the Carnlough News came into existence, giving a clear example to The Irish Lodge of Research, amongst many others. You always knew when his printing date was due, as he was on the phone looking for an article or two. In the late 1980’s, his younger Brother Robert J. McCutcheon was elected Master of Lodge Harp and Crown No 60, Ballymena. Very Wor Bro David was extremely proud of the fact that he was the Brother who carried out the Installation of his younger Brother in the presence of The Most Wor, The Grand Master, The Right Wor The Provincial Grand Master of Antrim, and many other senior Masonic Brethren. Davy was unfazed by the occasion and carried out his work in an exemplary manner.

The Irish Lodge of Reserch progressing up The Grand Staircase.

I had the great honour to serve the Irish Lodge of Research in the Millennium Year, as Master, and I enjoyed full support and encouragement from my good friend and Director of Ceremonies Very Wor Bro David Bramwell McCutcheon. On the day of my Installation in Dublin, he organised things like clockwork. I had previously sought special approval from The Grand Secretary of The Grand Lodge of Instruction to call the Lodge off from our stated meeting place and reconvene in The Museum of The Grand Lodge of Ireland, where I would present my paper on Irish Masonic jewels. On completion of the paper, we again called off, paraded back up The Grand Staircase, where Davy called us all to Order, and we reconvened our working in The Grand Lodge-Room as before. We received the necessary permissions and Davy worked the additional ritual supplied, in a faultless manner.

He was a great story teller and one of my favourite tales was the story of the hair-cut. Whilst on duty in the Fermanagh district in the 1960’s he was sent out round the local farms on his police bicycle to record returns on reactor cattle. He had been talking to one particular farmer about his need for a hair-cut and the obliging farmer sent him to a wee old neighbour man who cut hair. Davy went down on the bicycle to see him and ended up sitting on a spiky stool with a silk quilt around his clothes as he got his hair cut. When he returned to the police station, he told his old station sergeant about the hair-cut. The sergeant listened quietly, then told Davy to come with him and show him where this barber lived. This they duly did and after visiting the barber, the pair returned to the Station. The sergeant hadn’t given too much away, so Davy got quite a shock when he learned that the Bomb squad were sent for and recovered a second world war mine and its original parachute silk, being the spikey chair and barbers cloth that had been used on him. As the sergeant eventually told him, he was lucky he hadn’t been 30 foot deeper into Lough Erne, when his hair was cut, or his day would really have went with a bang.

Brethren, when we lose a good friend in the Order, we in many ways lose apart of ourselves. Davy will be missed by all who knew him, particularly by his immediate family, and our thoughts and prayers go out to them at this terrible time for them. He will be laid to his rest at 2.00pm on Monday the 13th August 2012 at Craigyhill Presbyterian Church, Larne. Davy had a tough time over the last couple of years, and I’m sure that it wont be long before he appears on point duty at the Gates of St Peter. I warmly recall some lines that Davy recorded in his 1993 paper – Early Masonry in Larne – which go as follows –

No more he’ll wield the flaming sword
To guard secure the sacred word
Nor challenge sages to devise
Masonry’s plans to equalise
Has gone to where in antient story
St Peter guards the Gates of Glory
If Davy be empowered to unlock
Theres none from Larne will have to knock.

Brethren, we have lost a friend, a mentor, a hospitable host, an excellent guest and a Brother. So please give some thought to those who have gone before, because once again, we all eventually learn that we have stood on the Shoulders of Giants.

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The French Connection.

Our warmest congratulations should go to Wor Bro Dr David J Butler, Librarian and Archivist of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Munster, for the sterling work he is doing in the greater Cork area, promoting the contribution made by Irish Freemasonry to the history of the area. On this occasion, he has focused on the history of the French Huguenot to the growth and development of Cork City. The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France who, between the sixteenth and the seventeenth century left their home country and settled in other countries where they would not be subject to persecution. Some three hundred came across to Ireland and settled in and around Cork city. Their massive contribution to Cork was commemorated yesterday, Saturday the 14th July 2012, on Bastille Day when Cork held its first annual Cork Huguenot Day.

The French Connection.

The French Connection.

Wor Bro Dr David J. Butler has been involved in organising the celebration through the Friends of the Cork Huguenot Burial Ground. David organised the use of the Provincial Grand Lodge-rooms at Tuckey Street, This is one of the finest Lodge-rooms in the Irish Constitutions and will provide an excellent backdrop to the events of the day.

Tuckey Street Lodge-rooms.

Tuckey Street Lodge-rooms.

It was Davids intention to use some of the many Huguenot Masonic items in the Provincial Grand Lodge of Munsters collections to illustrate his presentation on the Family Histories of some of the major Huguenot famililies in the Cork District. He was joined on stage by Dr Alicia St Leger, who spoke on aspects of the Cork Huguenot heritage. The day concluded with various guided walks through Cork City to highlight the many links still surviving in the city to its Huguenot past. And for any of you, who wish to learn more of the works of Wor Bro Dr David, then please visit our reviews section, where you will find details of his latest publication.

UPDATE :
The First Annual Cork Huguenot Day at THe Masonic Hall was tremendously successfull with 85 members of the public attending the talks in the morning and some 50 attended the afternoon walking tour to Christ Church, South Main Street, and the Huguenots Burial Ground at Careys Lane in the centre of Cork city. The sum of 400 euros was raised from the attendees towards the restoration of the oak panels on the recently acquired Rushworth & dreaper Apollo reed organs acquired by the Freemasons to provide music in the Lodge
ans Chapter Room of The Masonic Hall, at Tuckey Street, Cork. This work is currently ongoing in the work shops of Messrs Bruce Perkins, Wood Restoration Workshops, Lower Glanmire Road, Cork.

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The Cahans Exodus.

Presbyterians began to come from Scotland to the Ballybay area of County Monaghan from about the year 1690. In 1748 the Rev Thomas Clark was sent to minister to the first Seceder Congregation in the County. He established the Ballybay New Erection, later known as Cahans and built a small church there in 1751.

Clark was a striking and energetic figure with a charismatic personality. He had a good knowledge of medicine and was an ex-soldier. He was jailed on several occasions for refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance, by kissing the bible, but undaunted, he preformed christenings, and marriages in the jail, and became well known for preaching to the people on the outside through the window of his cell.

Following the death of his wife and one of his children, Clark began to contemplate emigration. In 1764, he led 300 members of his congregation from Ballybay, across country to Newry, where they boarded the sailing ship ‘The John’ bound for New York. Robert Harper of Ballybay, who had emigrated a few years earlier and was a professor of Mathematics in New York. helped the emigrants to get established, negotiating the land on which they finally settled.

As previously stated, they sailed under the leadership of their Pastor, Reverend Doctor Thomas Clark. By 1767 the majority of the emigrants had settled on farmland acquired for them in New Perth, a town which changed its name after 1788 to Salem, New York. The remainder put down roots around Abbeville, South Carolina and established churches at Little Run, Long Cane and Cedar Creek.

It is always of interest to consider the intentions of these 300 families, who left their native land in search of religious and civil freedom. They were one of a number of such Presbyterian groups that left Ireland at that time, as they were dissatisfied at the situation with the established Church in Ireland, where they had to pay an annual stipend to support ther Established Church, on top of their contributions to support their own preachers.

One interesting fact, buried in the midst of this fascinating story, is the number of Gaelic speaking Roman Catholics who became Presbyterians, after discovering that most lowland Scots were bilingual in Gaelic and Ulster Scots and consequentially there was an element of intermarriage and of children attending Presbyterian schools, where they received a basic education. We already know that, at this time in our history most rural Freemasons were Roman Catholic, although a good number of Presbyterians followed them into the Order. These were the men who either emigrated to The New World, or who involved themselves in The Volunteer Movement, which had, as a major goal, the freeing of commercial trade between Ireland and England, the removal of The Test Act and the freedom for Catholics to become land owners, serve in the military and judiciary.

The Old Church at Cahans, still stands, in mute testiment to the many religious difficulties over the past two hundred years. It is now playing an important part in celebrating the cultural diversity across the County of Monaghan, and fund raising is underway in an effort to build a cross community centre, where all can meet on the Level and by the Square.

One such fund raising initiative, commemorating The Cahans Exodus, while looking to develop a multi-cultural centre is The Cahans Walk. This is an initiative where participants have the opportunity to relive the walk across country from Ballybay to Newry. This sponsered walk will take place over four days as follows :-

15th June 2012 walk starts at Cahans and will finish at Annyalla.
16th June 2012 walk starts at Annyalla and will finish at Newtownhamilton.
22nd June 2012 walk starts at Newtownhamilton and will finish at Bessbrook.
23rd June 2012 walk will start at Bessbrook and will finish at Narrow Water.

Brethren, a few of our members from Monaghan, will be giving their support to this initiative and we wish them all every success in this venture. I’m reminded of St Patrick’s blessing, which puts it much better than I could.

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall soft upon your fields,And until we meet again
May God hold You in the hollow of His hand.

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Olympic Torch Bearer from Lodge 1008 Portrush.

Wor Bro Torrens and Family.

Wor Bro Torrens and Family.

Just a quick word of congratulations to Wor Bro Barry Torrens, on carrying the Olympic Torch on its way through the town of Glenarm earlier this afternoon. Barry is a self employed businessman, well known in the town of Portrush, where he is a regular fund-raiser for local charities including the RNLI. He is pictured with son William ( 6 ) daugher Anna ( 9 ) and daughter Jenny ( 8). He is an active member of Union Lodge No 1008 Portrush.

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Metropolitan Board and Metropolis

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Metrololis

Metropolis

In 1927 Fritz Lang produced one of the greatest silent movies of that era, based on a script that he had written with his wife Thea Von Harbou. The film starred Brigitte Helm, Gustav Frohlich, Alfred Abel and Rudolf Klein-Rogge. The film is set in a futuristic urban landscape where society is in a repressed and controlled state. Here you will find the bones of that other great novel of the 20th century – 1984. George Orwell developed many of the themes, that began life in the film Metropolis.

A view of The Grand Lodge Viewing Room.

The Metropolital Board of The Grand Lodge of Ireland have been developing the activities of their social Committee ( The Green Committee ) and have several different events planned for the Brethren in the next few months. Last night 10th March they arranged a showing of Giorgio Moroders 1980’s version of Metropolis with the addition of colour and a soundtrack with music by Freddie Mercury and Adam Ant. As you will see from the embedded photographs, this film generated plenty of discussion amongst those present.

More of the Same.

More of the Same.

A view of The Grand Lodge Viewing Room.

One Group deep in Discussion

One Group deep in Discussion.

For all you more active types, an Air-Soft outing has been planned for the 31st March 2012, when you will be able to hone your war gaming skills in a live environment somewhere in the Dublin area. The day will run from 10.00AM – 5.00PM and will cost 60 euros for the day. Further details can be sought from Bro Luke Walsh, one of the main organisers at luc.breathnach@gmail.com

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Death of Wor Bro Hubert Gingles.

It was with great sorrow that I learned of the untimely death of Wor Bro Hubert Gingles, on Thursday last the 12th January 2012. Hubert has been a long time member of St Johns Masonic Lodge No 788, Cairncastle County Antrim, and was a very active Mason who visited widely around the County of Antrim and further afield.

Charity Breakfast in Larne Masonic Centre.

Charity Breakfast in Larne Masonic Centre.


For many years Hubert and his travelling companion Joe Boyd were a frequent sight at Lodges, Chapters and Councils all over the north, Both were active farmers and farming was a popular topic, when they came together with other farmers such as Alec Bartlett and Robert McCay. Many a late night was spent buying and selling cattle into the small hours.It is one of the great sadnesses of life, that Wor Brother Hubert was too unwell in November last to attend Provincial Grand Lodge where he was due to receive an Honorary Past Grand Deacon’s certificate. However, the real memorial to his Masonic career will be found in Cairncastle, where he was instrumental in bringing over 100 new Masons into the Lodge during his long years of service to Freemasonry.
Larne Charity Breakfast.

Larne Charity Breakfast.


Once again Brethren, we have lost a Worthy Brother, an Excellent Companion and an Eminent Sir Knight. Yet we have been very fortunate in that we had the pleasure of meeting Hubert and spending time with him, over the years, at labour and refreshment. He had his own unique take on life, which he was more than happy to share, and he will be sadly missed by all his many friends in the Masonic Order. Our prayers, thoughts and good wishes are with his family at this time.

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Lodge Presentation at Tyrawley Lodge No 217 I.C.

Very Wor Bro W. Robert Adamson Provincial Grand Treasurer of the Provincial Grand Lodge of North Connaught and Secretary of Tyrawlie Lodge No 217 I.C. very kindly gave up his Saturday morning and opened up his Lodge-Room, in Walsh Street, Ballina, to let us photograph some of their contents. The Lodge is very lucky in having a complete set of Masonic china including some early examples of coffee cups. In Victorian times coffee was very much a new thing in Europe and consequentially quite expensive, so the prudent answer for canny Lodge officials was to purchase smaller cups so that the coffee would go further.

Tyrawley Lodge China.

Tyrawley Lodge China.

Like many of our older Lodges, many of the items used by the Lodge, are out on display in the middle of the room. Here you will see The Volume of the Sacred Law, Square Compasses, The Lesser Lights and many other symbols used to illustrate various parts of our Masonic lessons.

Some of the Working Tools.

Some of the Working Tools.

The Lodge has an interesting history, starting in the year 1846 and much of its history is accessible in and around the Lodge-Room. On the wall is a complete listing of the Past Masters of the Lodge and this clearly shows that many families have been involved with the Lodge over several generations.

List of Past Masters

List of Past Masters.

At their December meeting on the 7th of the month, one of the newer members of the Lodge – Bro Rick Love, native of Texas, and currently one of the IT gurus with Mayo County Council, will present a very fine example of the stonemasons craft, a hand carved stone with the compasses and square and the Lodge number 217. Rick, who received his third degree in 2010, has spent a considerable amount of time carving this stone himself, as a small gesture of gratitude to the Brethren of Tyrawley Lodge for having him as a member.

The Tyrawley Stone.

The Tyrawley Stone.

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Very Excellent Sir Knight Tommy Killen.

Very Ex Sir Knight Tommy Killen & Friends.

Very Ex Sir Knight Tommy Killen & Friends.

Brethren it is with great regret that I learned of the untimely death of Very Excellent Sir Knight Tommy Killen Larne Freemason extraordinaire and an enthusiastic supporter of Irish Masonic Research, over many years. When I first joined the Irish Lodge of Research in the early 1980’s Tommy was a familiar face at many of our meetings in the company of his very good friend and travelling companion the late Very Wor Bro Bertie Henry, from Bushmills Lodge 414 I.C.

Tommy and Bertie travelled all over Ireland in those days to visit Lodges, Chapters, Council Meetings and Perceptory Meetings. They were always unfailingly friendly and cheerful and were welcome visitors where ever they went. Sadly Bertie was called to rest some years ago, and now Tommy has joined him in The Grand Lodge Above.

Brethren, we are all the richer for having known Very Excellent Sir Knight Tommy, and it has been an honour and a priviledge to walk with him on a part of life’s journey. Now he has travelled on ahead, and we can all hope to meet with Bertie and Tommy in the fullness of time.

Rt Wor Bro Robert Bashford. Rep Grand Lodge of Portugal.

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A Visit to North West Mayo.

The All Seeing Eye

The All Seeing Eye.

One area of Ireland often overlooked by tourists and locals alike is that area of Mayo to the North and West of the town of Ballina. This Empty Quarter is often considered to be so far into the wilds that few if any visitors see its many treasures and sites. One such site is the little town of Foxford on the road from Castlebar to Ballina, which is home to this magnificent All Seeing Eye, so finely manufactured in stained glass by An Tur Gloine ( The Tower of Glass ). However this is not the only remarkable item in this lovely little village.

Mosaic of The All-Seeing Eye.

Mosaic of the all-Seeing Eye.

This very fine mosaic is found on the outside of St Marys Hall, just across the street from an excellent bronze statue recalling the links between Admiral William Brown, the founder of the Argentina Navy, and his award of the title of Liberator of The South Atlantic. William Brown was born in 1777 in the village of Foxford, and from here he set off to make his way in the world. On his way, he would join the Masonic Order of Garibaldi and play the leading part in removing the colonial power of Spain from Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Uruguay.

Admiral Brown - Liberator of the South Atlantic.

Admiral Brown - Liberator of the South Atlantic.

Just down the road in Ballina is the Lodge-room of Tyrawley Masonic Lodge No 217 Ballina, which traces its history from the year 1846. The building was originally used as an orphan girls school, founded by Thomas Armstrong and was known locally as The Birds Nest. The Grand Lodge of Ireland reissued Warrant No 217 to `Tyrawley Lodge’ in Ballina, Co. Mayo,on the 28th September 1846. This new Warrant was issued to Bros William Jones; George Irwin and John Wilson. On the 10th May 1871 Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter received a petition from the Brethren of 217 seeking the issue of a Royal Arch Warrant, to be attached to Lodge 217 I.C.

General View of the Lodge-Room to the East.

General View of the Lodge-Room to the East.

Eight members from the Lodge served in the 1914-18 War and Bros. Lieut. Wm. Hamilton R. Innis Fus. and Capt. F.F. Shannon R.A.M.C. made the supreme sacrifice. Amongst the artifacts preserved in the Lodge-Room is a well preserved three rung ladder bearing the legend – Faith – Hope and Charity.

Faith, Hope and Charity

Faith, Hope and Charity

Lodge 217I.C., like many other Victorian Lodges commissioned its own crested dinner service.

Lodge Crest on Tyrawley Lodge Dinner Plate.

Lodge Crest on Tyrawley Lodge Dinner Plate.

And one thing that you can always be sure of is a warm welcolm at Tyrawley Lodge 217, Ballina.

The Welcome Mat at Tyrawley 217 I.C.

The Welcome Mat at Tyrawley 217 I.C.

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Visit of Irish Research Lodge to the Fifteenth Lodge in Skibbereen.

It was a long journey to West Cork, via Belfast, Dublin and all points west. Thankfully the weather was reasonable, and we made good time down along the new motorway to Cork City. Then through the new road tunnel past Jacob’s Island and on out to the wilds of West Cork. This time we had taken a house in Castletownsend, a small but fascinating village located just four miles from the town of Skibbereen. Masonically speaking the village is named after the Townsends, an anglo irish family who provided many freemasons over the years including Lord Chief Justice Townsend the last Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, before the formation of the Irish State in 1922. His home was in the Castle at Castletownsend.

The Castle with St Barrahaine Church behind

St Barrahaines Church is of particular interest as it contains three magnificent stained glass windows by the late Harry Clarke. These windows are exceptional examples of the Stained Glass work being carried out in Dublin in the early part of the 20th century.

Example of Harry Clarkes work

On Friday night it was off to the Skibbereen Hall, where there was a good turnout of Companions from R.A. Chapter No 84. They were joined by a goodly number of visiting Companions from The Irish Chapter of Research No 222. I had the great pleasure in presenting a paper on the unique wall and ceiling frescos, and gave an explanation of the symbolism on display. Excellent Companion Sam Carson was in the chair and had
a very successfull meeting.

RAC 222 Meeting in Skib bereen.

Saturday morning was bright and sunny. Thanks to the efforts of Ex Comp Richard Hosford and the kindness of Mrs Jane Somerville of Drishane House, Castletownsend, we had an opportunity to view the old Lodge Chair used in Castletownsend Lodge No 167. The chair had been made locally and eventually ended up in Drishane House as payment for a Lodge debt.

The Old Drislane House Chair.

Our meeting on Saturday was graced with the presence of Rt Wor Bro Provincial Grand Master of Munster – Rt Wor Bro Leslie Deane, who was invested as P.G.M. by the Most Wor Grand Master at the June meeting of The Grand Lodge of Ireland. On this occasion Wor Bro Dermod OBrien presented his paper on the history of The Fifteenth Lodge, which was well received by all the Brethren present.


One interesting discovery in the town of Skibbereen was the existance of a Masonic pulpit in the local Church of Ireland Church. It once again proves that our Order is still very much a part of Society, rather than, as some see us as apart from Society.

Masonic Pulpit in Abbeystrewry Parish Church, Skibbereen

And now Brethren, we come to one of the real highlights of the weekend. On the Sunday we had an opportunity to see The Book of Lismore which is on show in the Lewis Glucksman Gallery – University College Cork. This is a magnificient fifteenth century gaelic manuscript which was originally known as the book of MacCarthaigh Riabhach the Carbury branch of the MacCarthys whose principal seat was Kilbrittan Castle in West Cork. This collection of Folios includes the Lives of nine Saints, three religious poems including the oldest known example of The Ever-new Tongue, and a collection of general historical works including the only known gaelic translation of The Travels of Marco Polo.

The Book of Lismore

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Lodge of Research No 200 I.C. visit to Skibbereen, Co Cork.

Evening Brethren,

All is now in hand for the forthcoming visit of the Lodge and Chapter of Research to the far south west, where we shall be meeting in the Skibbereen Masonic Lodge room. This is one of the most uniquely decorated Lodges in the Irish Constitution, and was nearly lost as the result of a tragic fire a few years ago. However thanks to the prompt actions of the Lodge membership, the Hall was saver refurbished and redecorated as it was prior to the fire.. We shall hold a meeting of The Chapter of Research No 222 I.C. at 7.00pm on Friday the 23rd September 2011.when I shall present a paper on the unique Royal Arch decoration throughout the Hall. This will be followed on Saturday the 24th with a meeting of the Lodge of Research No 200 I.C. when a further paper will be read on the history of the Lodge and Hall in Skibbereen. This paper will be presented by Wor Bro Dermod OBrien, Lodge Secretary of 15th Lodge Skibbereen.

Hope to see a few of you down there.

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Appeal for financial support for St Catherine’s Parish Church Killead.

Brethren, I recently had the opportunity to visit St Catherines Parish Church, Aldergrove, a little gothic revival gem, located in the midst of RAF Aldergrove. The church, one of the oldest in the Diocese of Connor, was dedicated in 1712 by the Bishop of Down and Connor, the Right Reverend E.Smith on St Catherines Day 1712. The St Catherine named was in fact St Catherine of Alexander, who was strapped onto a wagon wheel and burned to death. It was for this reason that the Parish became known as St Catherines, in memory of this great Saint. In the year 1885 major renovations were completed under the auspices of J.J.Phillips, and after other periods of minor work the Church was restored in the year 2003-4.

Our interest in this fine old church is in relation to its development over the past fifty years as one of the military churches associated with service in Northern Ireland. The Church is located within the secure zone around RAF Aldergrove, and consequentially has a small permanent congregation, who have the difficult task of upkeeping the Church in these times of inflation and constant rising costs.

There is some very high quality stained glass in the church including a memorial window by William Morris of Westminster placed her by his friends to the memory of Squadron Leader J.G.Higginson O.C. No 2502 Ulster Squadron.

Other Army Air Corps memorial windows include the following :-

Sadly Brethren, there has been a heavy price to our military Brethren for all there service to the community in Northern Ireland. As the senior Royal Air Force Officer in Northern Ireland said at last years Remembrance ceremony in St Catherines – when speaking about the memorial wall plaque to military personnell killed on actice service in Ireland said – Take these men for your example – Like them remember that prosperity can only be for the free and that freedom is the sure posession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.

Brethren, over the last fifty years we have had many Freemasons who have served the Crown around the world, and indeed some of those Brethren have made the supreme sacrafice for Queen and Country. Here in Northern Ireland members served with both the Royal Air Force and the Army Air Corps. They and many thousands of other serving members of military and government services worked hard to maintain peace and stability in the six counties. Their memorials are dispersed around the Province. However this unique little Church and its memorial is often overlooked. St Catherines Church approaches its 300th Anniversary in 2012, and hopes to have raised approximately £ 70000-00 ( Seventy Thousand Pounds ) to complete the restoration of the Mosaic in the church Chancel ( approx £ 10000-00. ) and complete the renovations and extensions to the Church Hall ( Balance of £ 60000-00.)

All donations welcome to St Catherine’s Building Fund Appeal, 32 Manse Road, Crumlin, Co Antrim, BT29 4AW

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Adventures with the Brethren of St John’s Lodge No 121 I.C.

Saturday the 17th September 2011 was the first outing of the season for the Brethren of St Johns Lodge No 121, Lisburn Masonic Centre, Belsize Road, Lisburn. A busload of keen Brethren and some of their ladies set off at 10.00AM and made the long trip down to Molesworth Street in Dublin. Here they spent a pleasant time, during which they got a tour of the building and its many rooms.

View of The Grand Master's Throne.

The Grand Lodge Room was admired by all present, who spent some time exploring the many interesting facets on display. One thing which was missed by most of the Brethren present was the existance of astrological symbols on the three lesser lights.

Detail of one of the lesser lights.

After a tiring day, the Brethren and their ladies returned to the Lisburn Masonic Centre, Belsize Road, where the Lodge provided an excellent buffet supper with plenty of eats and liquid refreshments. Here they were joined by a party from The Irish Lodge of Research No 200 I.C. led by Rt Wor Bro Robert Bashford. Amongst those present were Wor Bro Maurice McMorran WM, Wor Bro James Penny Secretary and Wor Bro Chris McClintock, one of our leading Irish Masonic researchers. Wor Bro McClintock gave an interesting and thought provoking presentation on his new book -The Craft and The Cross, which was followed by a keen question and answer session which went on late into the evening. This presentation was well received and provided a suitable ending to a busy day of Freemasonry. Those present availed of the opportunity to take signed copies of the McClintock book home with them, as a souvenir of their day.

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Lodge 900 25th Anniversary Dance

On the 9th September, Wor Bro Chris McClintock and I had the opportunity to join with our Brethren in Fergus Lodge 900 I.C. for their first meeting after the Summer Recess. Wor Bro Brian Magill, another keen member of The Irish Lodge of Research, was in the Chair, and Wor Bro James Penny Provincial Assistant Grand Librarian and current Secretary of The Irish Lodge of Research was also in attendance. The Lodge opened in the usual way and the normal business was transacted. It was a relatively short meeting, as the Lodge membership had arranged tea and sandwiches downstairs followed by an evening of dancing and frivolity in the social club. This evening was all a part of the ongoing 25th anniversary of the Lodge. You can inspect some of the surviving photographs of this occasion in our Gallery section under the heading Lodge 900 Re-Opening.

With so many researchers in attendance, it came as no surprise that one of us made a most unusual and curious discovery. At the front of the Lodge-room, on the first step leading up to the Dias, was the shadow of, what appeared to be a rare old Masonic symbol. It generated much discussion, as to its likely meaning, and one of us even suggested that it may be an early reference to the ancient degree of the Royal Snip. Finally after much banter and discussion, one elderly member of the Lodge – Wor Bro Frank Close was able to reveal that in fact what we were looking at, was the location where the carpet fitter had set his scissors prior to laying the Dias underlay and carpet. The ghostly symbol currently showing through was in fact the impression of the underlying scissors, which have remained insitu ever since.

On retiring downstairs for tea, we were treated to some informal reminiscences, by one of our number, on his fond recollections of his visits to the Betty Staff school of Dance, that at one time, operated from the premises located over a shoe shop at 42 Ann Street, Belfast. The late Ms Staff had quite a substantial figure and ran a tight ship, in which she frequently went round the room with a large bottle of scented spray, which was liberally applied as she went. Her music was invariably provided by the records of the late Victor Silvester, and she taught a range of dances and jives including the Shorty George. Our erstwhile Brother also reported, that if you happened to get too moody with your dancing partner, Betty would not have been averse to coming over, hitting you a slap,and inviting you to concentrate on your dance steps.

An Ad for Betty Staffs establishment.

Brethren, as you can see, a good Lodge works hard at its ritual, encourages its Brethren to attend and participate and then does what it can to involve family and friends in Lodge activities. Lodge 900 have certainly met all of these criteria in their recent meetings and I wish the Lodge and its members continued success in the years ahead.

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Has the Secret of Rennes-le-Chateau finally been Discovered.

Some thirty years ago Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln published a seminal work entitled “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail”, which awakened interest in Freemasonry, Esoteric theories and other associated legends and myths. This book went on to act as a catyalist for the rebirth of interest in matters Esoteric, and dispite the many gaps and flaws in its research, it successfully caught the public interest and was a run away best seller.

One of the most interesting aspects of this book was the inclusion of a number of chapters telling the history of of Rennes-le-Chateau and the story of its parish priest Sauniere, who suddenly became unexplainably rich in the 19th century, as a result of something he discovered. However the source of his wealth was never discovered although he left a number of clues including statues, paintings and copies of two parchments that Saunier is alledged to have discovered.

Since that time many treasure hunters have searched the surrounding area with no success. Here again many books have been writting about the mystery of Rennes-Le-Chateau, and many extravagent claims have been made as to what the treasure might be. Amongst these claims have been the stories about the fabulous treasure of the Knights Templar and indeed the treasures associated The Holy Grail.

Now, we can bring the story right up to date, with a new article in “The Daily Telegraph” announcing that just outside the village of Sougraigne, close by Rennes-le-Chateau, the French Gendarmie have been brought in to protect a local cave, where a group of three researchers claim to have discovered a hoard of golden Jewish artifacts, which they are describing as “King Solomon’s hoard. This hoard has originally been taken by the Romans to Rome after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Then it was seized by the Visigoths on the sack of Rome and alledgedly buried in a cave, known locally as Pech d’En Couty.

As the story unfolded, it turned out that the three researchers – Michael Vallet, Didier Hericart de Thury and Franck Daffos have been working on the site for the last three years. Two of them broke their silence, and on the 12th July this year, they published a book entitled – “THE GOLD OF RENNES” However, as yet, no treasure has been brought out in to the public view. The third researcher Vallet, was so angry about not being involved in the book, that he has now released a photograph of the cave.

It is, at this point, worth recording that no gold artifacts have been brought into the public domain, since works started thre years ago, so maybe Sauntiere’s secret has not yet been found.

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Visit to Irvinestown Lodge No 277 I.C.

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View of Lodge-Room at Irvinestown.

Internal view of Irvinestown Lodge-Room.

I would take this opportunity to thank Wor Bro Arthur McKinney, current Secretary of Irvinestown Masonic Lodge No 277 I.C. for kindly opening his Hall and facilitating a visit to view the Ederney Plate – one of a set manufactured for the Ederney Lodge No 819 I.C. by Belleek China in the 19th century.

Example of the Belleek pattern Masonic Dinner Service

The Ederney Masonic Plate


Lodge 819 began life on the 1st October 1795, when Grand Lodge approved the issue of a Warrant to Crumlin, Co Fermanagh, but when it was actually issued, it was made out to Ederney, near Irvinestown. Ederney was one, of a number of Fermanagh Lodges that supported the Grand East of Ulster in the period of 1806-1809. Like so many others, it quickly realised its error and returned to the Grand Lodge fold. The Lodge moved to Kesh in 1859, where it got premises in an upper room of the Kesh County Courthouse. The Lodge returned to Ederney in 1871, where it would remain for the next one hundred years. It moved to the new Irvinestown hall in 1987, where it has remained to date. This is a Lodge with many items of historical and Masonic interest and includes in its posession the first minute book of Lowtherstown Masonic Lodge No 346, home to The Lowtherstown Masonic Volunteers.

Original Warrant issued to Ederney Lodge No 819 I.C.

Warrant of Ederney Lodge No 819 I.C.


The Ederney Warrant is of particular interest as it’s wording was made out to be issued to Crumlin, a townland in Fermanagh. There are of course other interesting items in the Irvinestown Lodge-rooms including a copy of a rare Victorian print of Counsellor Schotts model of King Solomon’s Temple. This was one of a number of 18th century models of King Solomon’s Temple, based very much on John Bunyons book – King Solomons Temple Spiritualised, a very popular work, read by many Freemasons in Ireland throughout the 19th century.The lithograph was prepared by James McGuigan of Philadelphia and then printed by Jacob N. Taylor & Co in the year 1868. It is a fine representation which is worthy of further study and research. It is certainly worth a visit to see and read all the information illustrated therein.

Lithograph of Schott's 18th century model of King Solomon's Temple.

Model of King Solomon's Temple.


Another interesting feature in the Lodgerooms are the embroidered dates on the steps at the front of the Lodge centerpiece. These may commemorate some particular anniversary of the Lodge, but I will have to confirm the exact reason for these dates with Bro McKinney.

Embroidered Coverings to Lodge Steps.

Embroidered Coverings to Lodge Steps.


Brethren, I would highly recommend that you have a look at the Irvinestown Masonic Lodge website, where you will find a wealth of further information on Lodge 277. You will find it at :-
http://www.irvinestown277.co.uk/

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An Irish Freemason on Tour in Scotland.

Brethren, I was again invited across to “Scotia Minor” to visit one of our outposts in the city of Edinburgh, where I was going to attend a meeting of The Grand Lodge of Scotland in 96 George Street, followed by the Installation Meeting of Sir Robert Moray Lodge No 1641 S.C.

As usual, I was joined by Wor Bro Chris McClintock, and Yolanda, his good lady wife ( my Web-Master ). We came over on the Cairnryan Ferry and then set off down to Wigtown to visit the many, many excellent book-shops in the town. We spent a couple of hours going through the stock, and found some good buys for the family library.

After lunch we set off by road to the New Jerusalem. As it turned out, it was quite a drive, across country through some rugged mountain and high fells scenery. We were very lucky in that it was mostly dry and sunny, so it was quite a glorious trip.

On Thursday, we all had a lazy start to the day, having our breakfast in an apartment in Leith overlooking the Royal Yacht Britannia. Our day officially started with a visit to The Library collections of The Royal College of Physicians in Queen Street, Edinburgh, where we were shown some of the treasures of their collections, including the sixteenth century Ripley Alchemical Scroll, which will be the subject of a separate posting.

Then it was off to the Roxborough Hotel for a champagne lunch, compliments of our host. Here we met up with a number of other well known Masonic researchers including, Bros Trevor Stewart, Robert Mitchell, John Acaster, Bill Howie and Tony Cooke to mention a few. The craic was good and many interesting research topics were brought up and discussed over lunch.

Next stop :George Street to comply with all the administration required to become an acknowledged Visitor to “The Grand Lodge” meeting. However, once we had the magic cards, we were ushered up the Hall to some excellent and well placed seats, where we could see all that was going on. I’m pleased to report that it was not quite as warm, as Molesworth Street, the week before, but it was a busy and interesting meeting. One interesting difference with Ireland is the issue of a bound Proceedings document, which is issued to all the Scottish Brethren on arrival and the Most Wor Grand Master Mason referred to it constantly, as the meeting progressed. In this way the Brethren were all kept informed, and could study the detail at their leisure.

Then it was off to Hill Street, to the Masonic premises of St Mary’s Chapel, for the Installation Meeting of the Sir Robert Moray Research Lodge No 1641 S.C. Our good friend, Bro Trevor Stewart has already finished his first year as Master, and was now reinstalled for a second term. Unlike last year, we were treated to a proper Edinburgh Operatives style Installation, and it was really a joy to behold. As always Bro Norman M.T,M. MacLeod was larger than life and fully lived up to his reputation as one of the most colourful and outspoken D.C’s of Edinburgh.

As the meeting came to a close, we all set off to The New Club, for an excellent Installation meal, an entertaining evening of good chat and liquid refreshment, which kept us out fairly late, into Friday morning.


Brethren, one thing I would advise all of you, is that you want to take that extra step and visit Lodges in your own area, attend meetings of your Provincial Grand Lodge and even take a run to Molesworth Street, and see how things are done in our own Grand Lodge. Then spread your wings and visit your friends in England and Scotland, where you will have the opportunity to see a different approach to the Freemasonry that you are more familiar with at Home. The one thing that Visiting will confirm for you is that you can make as many friends overseas, as you can in your own Lodge, and have a great time as you do.

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Irish Freemasonry and The Moon Lodges.

The Moon the Lesser to Rule the night

One common feature of Irish Freemasonry was the preponderance of Moon Lodges along the North and North Eastern coastline of Ireland during the 18th and 19th century. These Lodges tended to meet later than the usual Lodge, and were often associated with the working of Higher Degrees, after the Craft meeting concluded. The Brethren were then able to make their way homeward by means of moonlight, over dark and inhospitable terrain, late at night.

Another spectacular photograph from last night's eclipse!

Local Lodges such as Royal Antrim No 28, Glenarm 45, Union Lodge No 148 Cogry, Rising Sun Lodge No 170 Crawfordsburn, Lodge 194 Bucknaw, Lodge 216 Carnlough, Lodge 276 Straid, Copestone Lodge No 474 Crawfordsburn, Magheramorne Lodge No 514 Larne, Solomon’s Band Lodge No 565 Lisburn, Ensor Lodge No 625 Loughgall, St John’s Lodge No 675 Donaghadee, Ancient Blue Lodge No 704 Ahoghill, Lodge 788 Cairncastle, Tartaraghan Lodge No 789, Lodge 812 Crawfordsburn and Garryowen Lodge No 923 Larne, still meet on or before the Full Moon in compliance with ancient tradition.

The Moon has played an important role in Man’s social affairs for many millenia. Its history can be traced back in the Holy Bible to Genesis Chapter 1 verses 14-19, in which we are told that on the 4th Day God created two Great Lights – The Sun, the Greater to rule the Day and the Moon, the Lesser to rule the Night. In Deuteronomy and The Book of Kings, we find specific prohibitions against Lunar Worship, yet the Moon has always been regarded as a strong symbol of permanence. Of particular interest are the references in Numbers Chapter 28 verses 11-15, which note the tradition of monthly offerings by some of the Jewish synagogues.

In Freemasonry, the Moon has always been associated with the Senior Warden in the West, following the Egyptian tradition associating the Moon with that direction. As the Moon is a mere reflection of the Greater Light of the Sun, so too does the Senior Warden reflect the “Light” of the Master.

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Closing Supper at Moyarget Lodge No 280 I.C.

The Brethren of Moyarget Masonic Lodge No 280 were delighted to have another visit from Rt Wor Bro Bill Balmer, one of the Assistant Provincial Grand Master’s of The Masonic Province of Antrim. Rt Wor Bro Bill was our guest of honour for the 2011 Closing Supper held in Moyarget Lodge Room on the 7th June 2011 @ 8.00PM.

Rt Wor Bro Balmer was well supported by past and present P.G.L. Officers including Wor Bro James Penny, our new Assistant Librarian, Wor Bro Billy Lamont P.P.S.G.W. of Antrim, Wor Bros George Baker, Sam Carson, Alastair Browne and Gordon Chestnutt all Past P.G.L.S’s. Amongst our Visitors were two English Masons, both of whom held various English Provincial rank and a goodly collection of Brethren from Antrim, Down, Londonderry & Donegal. There were 54 Brethren present in total and the Lodge raffle raised some £ 315-00 for Masonic Charities.

The meeting itself was relatively short with reports from Lodge Almoner and Charity Steward. The recent Church Service held in Portrush, on a very wet day on the 4th June 2011, under the auspices of The Cary & Dunluce Charity Committee raised just over £ 1,000-00 for Masonic Charities. Then we had a couple of extra reports – one of which, by Wor Bro Sam Carson informed the Brethren of a visit to Great Queen Street with Wor Bro Joe Tyler, to visit his Mother Lodge, on the weekend of the Royal wedding. The final report, by me, was a briefing on the Grand Lodge meeting held in Dublin on Thursday the 2nd June 2011.

And after the Lodge closed, we cleared the room, set up the tables and brought out sufficient food and drink to ensure that none left dissatisfied. A good night was had by all, with some discussions going on late into the evening.

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June 2011 Meeting of The Grand Lodge of Ireland.

The plan called for an early departure from Coleraine, but as usual our in-house Author, Bro McClintock of Lodge 754 took a few extra moments to get his make-up completed. Finally we set off, and en-route collected Wor Bro Russel Hutchinson, Master of Kilrea Star Lodge No16, the final member of our travelling team. It was a bright sunny morning and we made good progress on the way down. As usual we crossed the border and then stopped for a tasty Irish breakfast, before continuing our journey to Dublin.

On arrival, we got the car parked up and made our way to Buswells Hotel, our favoured meeting place where we caught up with Wor Bro Robert Mitchell, President of The Manchester Association of Masonic Research and Wor Bro
Lawrence Read, representing the Masonic Province of South Africa Northern. Here we spent an hour in discussions, whilst many other Masons came and went from across the Irish Constitution. Coffees were ordered, but no-one warned me that a birthday cake would accompany the coffee, as I had just celebrated a birthday the day before. As you will see from the photographs, I was temporarily wrong footed, when some forty assembled Brethren broke into a rendition of Happy Birthday, in the bar of a busy hotel.

By now time was going on, so I took Bro Russell on an impromptu tour of our Grand Lodge premises giving him the chance to see our Princes Room, Great Priory, Council of Knight Mason’s Room, Royal Arch Room and the Mark Room.
It was a flying visit, but nonetheless, Russell enjoyed his flying visit.

By now it was starting to get really warm, as we all filed into the rear of The Grand Lodge Room. Today the room was filled to capacity, and indeed there were so many people present, that the extra overflow had to be accommodated in the Anti-Room and the First Floor landing.

The meeting, began promptly on time, with the introduction of visiting delegations from The National Grand Lodge of Greece, The Grand Lodge of British Freemasons in Germany, The Grand Lodge of Scotland and The United Grand Lodge of England. It was a busy meeting
with the Installation of new Provincial Grand Master’s for Munster and Wexford & Wicklow., and the investiture of Representitives of The United Grand Lodge of Bulgaria, The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Illinois, The Grand Lodge of Luxembourg, The Grand Lodge of Ohio and The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ontario. This was only a small part of a packed agenda, and by the time the charity Collection was lifted, many of us were suffering from the heat. I suppose that we should’nt complain, but it is unfortunatete that our warmest day’s weatherwise always co-incide with the June meetings of The Grand Lodge of Ireland.

And soon, it was all over. Everyone left the Grand Lodge room and made their way downstairs to the relative cool of The Ground Floor. And here Brethren, I took most of my photographs, which can be seen in the Gallery section under the title ” Grand Lodge Dublin “.

By now some of us were getting thirsty, so a few of us adjourned to Buswells for more coffee, and air conditioning.
We spent some time with Robert Mitchell discussing a range of Research issues of interest to us all, and then it was off homewards, after an enjoyable, educational and busy day.

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