Sunday 6 November 2011

Palmer Street Memorial Service and Parade

Upcoming Parade & Service

Sunday 13th November
Palmer Street Memorial Service and Parade
Assemble West Belfast at 2pm

Sunday 23 October 2011

Annual Reformation Service and Parade

Upcoming Parade & Service

Sunday 30th October
Annual Reformation Service and Parade 
Venue to be announced
Assemble at 2pm

Sunday 16 October 2011

Grand Royal Arch Purple Chapter Centenary Service

Upcoming Parade & Service

Sunday 23rd October
Grand Royal Arch Purple Chapter Centenary Service and Parade to St. Mark’s Parish Church, Armagh

Thursday 6 October 2011

Belfast Grand Lodge, Launches Ulster Covenant Centenary Celebrations.



In August 1912 in Bad Homburg, at a famous German spa town near Frankfurt. a package arrived for a visitor who was holidaying there. The visitor opened the package and read the document it contained, I can almost imagine a smile creep across the recipient’s  stony face as his sharp legal mind examined and dissected each phrase; every word weighed and tested in its purpose and meaning. 
The man of course was Sir Edward Carson and the document was the Ulster Covenant - the draft had been sent to him for approval. 
It received Carson’s imprimatur when on 21 August 1912 he stated  “I would not alter a word in the declaration which I consider excellent”. It is this excellent document of 188 words that we seek to celebrate the centenary thereof next year. 
I would contest that had the Covenant not been written and subscribed too, we would not be standing in this Parliament building today, because there would have been no need for it in an Irish State. Had people not been of firm confliction and prepared to take resolute action as indicated by the Ulster Covenant we would not be celebrating Her Majesties Diamond Jubilee next year, Elizabeth all would not be our Sovereign.So we have much to celebrate in the Ulster Covenant, not just its content, but what it represents, as the birth certificate of Northern Ireland. In 1776 - 56 men signed the American Declaration of Independence. In 1916 - 7 men signed the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. But in 1912 virtually an entire community, men and women put their signatures to the Ulster Covenant and related Declaration. My brief this evening is to talk about the Ulster Covenant, and provide an appetiser  as to what is possible and what is required as we prepare to celebrate its Centenary. 
Let me set the scene with a swift overview. Irish Nationalists sought home rule - a Parliament in Dublin giving them a majority say over the whole island. British Prime Minister Gladstone introduced the 1st Home Rule Bill in 1886, but it was defeated in the House of Commons.  A second Home Rule Bill was passed in the Common in 1893, but defeated in the House of Lords. However, new legislation the Parliament Act 1911 changed parliamentary procedure, should a Bill be passed by the  Commons - the Lords could only stop it for two years, on the third year if it was passed by the Commons and again rejected by the Lords it would automatically become law. Therefore the way was open for a Home Rule Bill. On 11, April 1912, the 3rd Home Rule Bill was passed by the Commons, but rejected by the Lords – the reality was that in 1914 Nationalists would have secured Home Rule. Unionists began to organise to resist such situation. 
On 23 September, 1911, at a huge demonstration was held in the grounds of James Craig’s house, Craigavon House, about mile from this location, Craig was a partner in Dunville Whiskey Distillery and a veteran of the Boer War. He was also a prominent Orangeman and MP for East Down. The demonstration was attended by 50,000 – 100,000 depending on the accounts you read – suffice to say there was a brave crowd that you wouldn’t want to be feeding on the 12th day. Sir Edward Carson, the new unionist leader, was presented to the gathering and told those assembled that he was entering into “a compact”, an agreement with them. Stating, “with the help of God you and I joined together –  I giving you the best I can, and you giving all your strength behind me we will yet defeat the most nefarious conspiracy that has ever been hatched against a free people” . He was of course talking about the plan to introduce 3rd Home Rule Bill. Carson had pledged himself to the cause of Ulster at a demonstration at Balmoral on Easter Tuesday, April 1912, when estimates of the crowd are put at 200,000 Bonar Law, the new leader of the Conservative Party, invited everyone present to raise their hands and repeat after him, “Never under any circumstances will we submit to Home Rule”. That day the people of Ulster pledged themselves to the cause of Ulster. It was at this gathering that the idea to formalise these verbal pledges into a document against Home Rule was born. A document that would articulate a community’s determination and resolve to resist Home Rule and I quote by “using all means which may be found necessary to defeat the present conspiracy to set up a  Home Rule Parliament in Ireland.” The Covenant was drafted by the leading Presbyterian and liberal Unionist Thomas Sinclair an exemplary wordsmith and true Ulsterman, Sinclair had been the mastermind behind the Ulster Unionist Convention 1892. Some think Sinclair Seaman’s Presbyterian Church was named in his honour, however it was actually named to honour his uncle John Sinclair. The Covenant was inspired by the Scottish Covenant of 1581, but Sinclair took the title from the Scottish Solemn League & Covenant 1643 although its spirit is derived from the Scottish National Covenant of 1638. As I stated Carson approved the text while on holiday in Germany during August and on 19 September 1912 on the steps of Craigavon House, Carson read the text of the Covenant to assembled journalists.  with the Ulster Unionist Council officially endorsing the wording on the on 23rd September.  The scene was set for the signing 28th September 1912 was declared Ulster Day and on that date 471,414 men and women signed the Ulster Solemn League & Covenant and related Declaration, men signed Covenant and ladies the related declaration. It is this act of loyalty and the events surrounding it that the County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast plans to celebrate next year. 
What I shared was only a synopsis of the history and heritage involved, a summary of events that were to shape the Unionist people and their future. It is how we celebrate the Ulster Covenant that will shape the many centenaries that will occur in what is being described as the forthcoming Decade of Centenaries. A decade that will take us up the centenary of the founding of Northern Ireland in 1921. It is important that all these centenaries are commemorated, celebrated and marked, depending on your perspective of the event, in a way that brings understanding and engagement, in a climate of toleration.  However, we cannot do it alone or with a few committed individuals. The Covenant was signed by a community and it needs celebrated by a community. 
There are so many stories that emanate from the Covenant that need to be told and heard, and many of us are indebted to people like Gordon Lucy and others who have unlocked in us an interest and passion for our past, not as mere history, but in the events that shaped and moulded our character and world view. Let me further wet your appetite in this regard. 
There’s the story of the logistics surrounding the Covenant: 
On Wednesday, 25 September, 700 large cardboard boxes containing copies of the Covenant and forms for signing, were sent out from Belfast’s Old Town Hall for distribution in the city and in rural areas. The forms were foolscap-sized sheets, with spaces for ten signatures, made up into blocks of ten sheets per folder, and headed by the text of the Covenant together with the parliamentary division, district and place of signing. Underneath were lines ruled for names and addresses of signatories. The Covenant could be signed at over 500 Orange Halls, Churches and private homes across Ulster. At city hall 540 signatures could sign the Covenant simultaneously and this went on to 11pm. 19,162 men and 5,055 women signed the Covenant outside Ulster 2000 men in Dublin alone – bearing  in mind this was the Ulster Covenant. One my favourite images of day is people signing the  covenant in Greyfriars church yard, Edinburgh  on top of the “covenanters stone”. It was signed on ships in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. The logistics of the 28th September is a story in itself. 
The churches role in the Covenant. Seven Anglican bishops signed the Ulster Covenant,  including Bishop Montgomery of Tasmania, the father of Field Marshal Montgomery. At the City Hall on September 28, 1912, Charles Frederick D’Arcy, the Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore and future Archbishop of Armagh, was the fourth signatory to the Covenant and the Dean of Belfast was the fifth. The Moderator Presbyterian Church and President Methodist Church.Although some stated the Covenant was driven by CoI and Orange.As a response on 1 February 1912, 25,000 – 50,000 male Presbyteriansattended a convention held in Churches in Belfast to show their support for covenant.In the early 18th century Ulster flourished economically under the Crown.Belfast was one of the major industrial powerhouses of the boasted the largest shipyard, ropeworks, tobacco factory, linen spinning mill, tea machinery works, aerated water factory and dry dock in the worldUlster Unionists believed that this prosperity and positionwould be jeopardised by Home Rule. Covenant stated Home Rule would be“Subversive of our civil and religious freedom.”Unionists had long feared that a Home Rule parliament would besubject to Roman Catholic teaching, The enforcement of the Ne Temere decree by Pope Pius X in 1908,fuelled such an assertion. The decree declared that marriages between Roman Catholics and Protestants not conducted by the rites of the Roman Catholic Church were null and void. It also required the children of mixed marriages to be brought up as Roman Catholics.  The slogan Home Rule is Rome Rule was real in 1912.By product - was Women’s Loyal Orange Institution was formedin 1912 as a result of the implementation of Ne Temere decreeWhat role did that new body play in Covenant.The covenant spoke of “Destructive of our citizenship and Equal citizenship”“Perilous to the unity of the Empire”Ulster men and women had played an importantpart in the acquisition, defence and administration of Empire,they did not want to see that jeopardised by Home Rule.The story of Orange Order and Covenant – one worth tellingWhen the religious services ended at 12 noon on Ulster Day Carson and the Unionist leaders paraded from Ulster Hall toCity Hall , preceded by the Boyne Standard, a faded yellow silk banner that had been carried before William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne.He was escorted by a smartly turned-out guard of men wearing bowler hats and carrying batons. I would say from No 6 District – smartly turned out, but Noel Liggett’s excellent book about History Organism in Ballynafeigh names 11 brethren No 10 District who were part of  Carson’s body guard. An example of how there are many local stories to tell;Stories that can be found in our minute books and research of local newspapers, stories that we need to tell.The Orange Order was pivotal to all the Covenant and emergence Ulster Unionism ,the Institution was the glue that held it all together and provided the structure and supportSo it’s fitting we the County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast are at the heart of celebrations, in partnership with thosefellow Unionists from whatever hue who are proud of their history that shaped and moulded their loyalty and faith.The story of Covenant warts and all needs to be heard,there was opposition to the events of Ulster Day. John Frederick MacNeice, the future Bishop of Down, Connor & Dromore, father of the poet Louis MacNeice and Rector of St Nicholas in Carrickfergus, declined to sign the Covenant but on religious rather political grounds.Revd J. B. Armour, the Presbyterian Home Ruler minister from Ballymoney, dismissed Ulster Day as Protestant fool’s day and regarded Carson as greatest living enemy of Protestantism. Not surprisingly, the nationalist Irish News tried to dismiss Ulster Day as of little consequence. The paper asserted that most of the signatories had never bothered to read the document;  even of those who had bothered,  most would not have understood it. The few who had both read and understood the document had little intention of honouring their pledge.  Events, however, were to prove the Irish News completely wrong.  Ordinary unionists clearly did value their cherished position of  equal citizenship within the United Kingdom and  civil and religious freedom .  Indeed we still do.
The Covenant centenary creates an opportunity to explore issues thatit references and are still relevant today,although the laugauge may have changedSocial Justice – “material well-being of Ulster”Human Rights – “our civil and religious freedom”Citizenship – “our cherished position of equal citizenship in the United KingdomIdentity –  “loyal subjects of His Gracious Majesty King George V”Faith and Politics – “humbly relying on the God whom our fathers in days of stress and trial confidently trusted”. All themes that today will still present challenges and opportunities.All these stories and more are deserving of exploration and articulation; Plays; Paintings, Poems and Prose need to be produced Debates, Dinners and Dialogue need plannedand of course parades organised.But, sadly the response to the Ulster Covenant celebrations  is not what it ought to be. Not least by academics and artists, by museums and libraries, by playwrights and local government Yes there have been meetings and sympathy expressed, but overall commitment is hesitant and  resources unannounced Before those with their hands of the tiller of power feel I’m having a go at them  let me say - I am to an extent, but it is not to you alone I direct my comments. We all need to mobilise enthusiasm, ignite a passion and encourage involvement in the Covenant centenary. Every man and women present has a role to play, just as they had in 1912. It is up to us to honour the commitment of those whose toil and tenacity secured our  cultural, religious and political freedom. Commemorating  the signing of the Ulster Covenant and the events surrounding it are deserving of our energies and efforts. It was a struggle that we won and reap the benefits from to this very day.On the morning papers of 28 September 1912 a poem by Rev WF Marshall Presbyterian minister and Orangeman linking the Ulster Covenant and the struggles of  the Scottish Covenanters appeared – entitled The Blue BannerThe Blue BannerFirm-leagued we face the future, tho’ the road be dark and steep, The road that leads to honour is the lonely road we keep,And, though all the world forsake us, this is the course we hold, The course our fathers followed in the Cov’nant days of old.
We fain would look for comfort to the land from whence we came, Where still abide our kith and kin and clansmen of our name.Where lives were deemed of small account by valiant men and true, For Christ, His Crown, His Cov’nant and the war-worn folds of blue.
Long years have been and faded since the old-time banner waved, See! How it flashes once again ere dangers must be braved,The Cov’nant oath we now will swear that Britain may be told, We stand for faith and freedom and the memories of old.
For all they died for gladly in the homeland o’er the sea, For blood-won rights that still are ours as Ulsterborn and free,For the land we came to dwell in, and the martyr’s faith we hold - God grant we be as leal to these as were the men of old!
By the end of the Ulster Day, the unionist people had demonstrated their resolve – their zeal – their loyalty. The London Times opined that the events of Ulster Day brought to a close a fortnight memorable in the history of Ulster and remarked that the impression left on the mind of every competent observer is that of a community absolutely united in its resistance to the act of separation with which it is threatened . The Covenant was Ulster’s birth certificate, a birthright that was won at Derry Aughrim Enniskillen and the Boyne a birthrigh that was secured by the blood of Ulstermen and women in the mud of Flanders and the fields of Picardy, on the beeches of Normandy and  in the jungles of Burma a birthright that we still enjoy today. I said at beginning my brief was to give you an appetiser - an appetiser never fills me.There is a feast of Ulster Heritage and culture and history surrounding the Covenant  to be shared and devoured. Stories that will educate friend and foe alike –  debates that will challenge - exhibitions that will amaze celebrations that will create confidence in a people who have much to thank God for. May our commemorations in 2012 provide a legacy that will see the Covenant remain a living reality for generations to come. May each of us here this evening resolve to play our role in celebrating and commemorating Ulster’s Solemn League and Covenant in 2012

Sunday 28 August 2011

Annual Royal Arch Purple Service

Upcoming Service

Sunday 5th September
Annual Royal Arch Purple Service in Ballymacarrett Orange Hall at 3pm

Tuesday 5 July 2011

321st Anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne

Upcoming Parade

Tuesday 12th July
321st Anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne Parade
Assemble at 9.30 am

Sunday 3 July 2011

Annual Boyne Anniversary Service

Upcoming Parade & Service

Sunday 10th July
Annual Boyne Anniversary Service and parade to St. Michael’s Parish Church
Assemble at 2.15 pm

Sunday 19 June 2011

Annual 36th Ulster Division Memorial Service and Parade

Upcoming Parade & Service
Sunday 26th June
Annual 36th Ulster Division Memorial Service and parade to the Assembly Hall
Assemble 2.15 pm

Saturday 18 June 2011

Monday 13 June 2011

Brethren In Arms (part 1)

The First Part of our film, "Brethren In Arms". The following parts will be uploaded over the next few days.

Saturday 11 June 2011

Wednesday 8 June 2011


A lambeg drum which has been carried by Orangemen from the south coast of England to Scotland, in aid of charity, arrives in Northern Ireland on the afternoon of Thursday, June 9.

The aim of the walk has been to raise funds for the charity HELP FOR HEROES which helps injured service men and women when they return from duty around the world.

The challenge was to follow in the steps of King William III, and carry the lambeg drum from his landing place at Brixham, Devon, all the way to the Boyne Heritage Centre at Drogheda. The first leg of the journey was completed by members of London LOL 1689, taking the drum to Exeter, Portsmouth, The Houses of Parliament, London, Hereford, Manchester and Liverpool, raising funds at various functions and events along the way.

The next leg of the journey began when the drum was handed over to Glasgow LOL 162 at Carlisle. More fund raising took place as the drum made its way around Scotland before crossing the Irish Sea and landing at Larne on Thursday, June 9 on the afternoon ferry from Stranraer.

Members of Banbridge Bible and Crown Defenders LOL 423 will then, along with their Scottish brethren, make their way on foot all the way to the Boyne.

“It has been a major exercise for the Orange Institution throughout the United Kingdom,” said David Watson of Banbridge Bible and Crown Defenders LOL 423.

“There has certainly been a lot of hard work by a lot of people but the effort and planning has been worth it. We have received tremendous support from our Orange brethren, the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. We have taken the lambeg drum to the top of Slieve Donard and Ben Nevis for charity, but this trip is really special. It is certainly a well-travelled drum and it has been attracting fantastic interest as it has been carried, and played, along the very long route,

“It will be wonderful to see the drum come off the boat at Larne. We will be joined by brethren from the rest of the United Kingdom as we parade it through a number of towns and follow the same route as William.

“It really is a record-breaking drum and the excellent charity – Help for Heroes – will benefit considerably as a result. So far we have raised more than £40,000 and we have high hopes that much more will come in during the time the drum is in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.”

There will be a parade in Larne on Thursday, June 9 at 7.30pm and it will then be taken to Carrickfergus, the town where William landed in 1690.

It will leave Carrickfergus at 3.30am on Friday morning and be carried via
Fortwilliam at 5.45am
Stranmillis at 7.30am
Hilden at 10.00am
Lisburn Island Centre at 10.30am
Hillsborough at 12 noon
Dromore at 2pm
Banbridge at 4pm – followed by a parade in the town.
Scarva at 6.30pm

The lambeg drum will then be carried via Newry and Drogheda to arrive at the Boyne Heritage Centre around 10.30am on Saturday, June 11.        

Keep up to date with the latest news and follow the drums progress on Facebook page Drumming for Heroes.  If you would like to make a donation
You can by sending cheques made payable to LOL 423 c/o
8 Victoria Street, Banbridge , Co. Down BT32 3DQ                                                                                      

Sunday 22 May 2011

Women's Association Church Service and Parade

Upcoming Parade & Service

Sunday 29th May
Women’s Service
Assemble North Belfast Memorial Orange Hall at 2.15 pm.

Sunday 15 May 2011


Two Twelfth demonstrations have been selected as flagships for the biggest festival in Northern Ireland.

The flagships will be the standard bearers for the 18 demonstrations being organised by the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland on Tuesday, July 12, 2011.

The Twelfth in Randalstown, organised by the East Antrim Combine, and the Mid-Down demonstration in Comber, will enjoy flagship status this year.

Grand Lodge will now work closely with the organisers of the flagships to promote the Twelfth.

The Orange Order Director of Services, Dr. David Hume explained:

“This is the sixth anniversary of our Twelfth Tourist Flagship programme and we believe that it has been a huge success and has helped to develop the potential of the parades. We know that more than half a million people either take part in the parades or watch them – that is a huge proportion of the population. For very many people it is the biggest day of the year.

“There is strong evidence that an increasing number of tourists are planning trips to Northern Ireland at that time of year so they can see the parades. All of our parades are very important and we will be working with all the organisers to maximise the positive impact of the Twelfth parades. But Grand Lodge decided that we should put a special effort into the two flagship demonstrations in Randalstown and Comber.

“The Twelfths in Randalstown and Comber will be big occasions with huge crowds. The organisers are working on programmes of events leading up to the big day and there will be plenty for people to see and enjoy.

“The idea behind the Flagship Twelfths is to look at the demonstrations through the eyes of tourists. We are thrilled by the number of people who come out to enjoy the Twelfth but we are never really satisfied. We want even more people, and visitors, to enjoy the spectacle and understand its importance to this community.

“Cultural tourism is a growing industry and we are determined that the Orange Order will play its part in developing this sector of business. We have been working closely with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Tourism Ireland to attract more visitors to the province in July and they have been extremely helpful.

“The Twelfth of July offers a unique opportunity for the Orange Institution and the bands community to showcase our culture and heritage and we are confident of welcoming increasing numbers of visitors, tourists and families, to the event in the years ahead. While every Twelfth celebration is in our opinion worth visiting, the flagship venues have an added element of specifically catering for tourists through the Welcome Host programme and additional attractions and we are delighted at the efforts made by those venues.”

The Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson, said:

“The Twelfth is a unique day. It has special significance in the history and culture of our country and is enjoyed by massive crowds. There is no other single event that can produce crowds like the Twelfth. Right across Northern Ireland, and in Co. Donegal the weekend before, tens of thousands of people will be attending Twelfth demonstrations. There are 18 different locations in Northern Ireland, all with distinct characteristics that make it such a special day of religion, culture, music and pageantry.

“We want people to visit theTwelfth and enjoy the atmosphere for themselves and we believe that the work we are doing with the tourist authorities is crucially important.”

The East Antrim Twelfth in Randalstown will see approximately 3,000 Orangemen, from nine districts, on parade. About 60 bands will take part in the parade, which will also include the Junior Orange Order, Ladies Orange Lodges and members from England and Scotland.

This year is the 95th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and this takes on special significance for Randalstown as the site for the Twelfth Field at Dunmore Park was used as a training camp for soldiers prior to them going off to fight in France.

A number of events are planned to mark the anniversary and an exhibition of artefacts from the First World War will be on show prior to the Twelfth.

The other Flagship Twelfth is in Comber and more than 60 lodges, accompanied by about 40 bands, will be on parade in the historic town.

Comber is the gateway to the tourist area surrounding Strangford Lough and is rich in heritage. It was the home of the Andrew’s Family who were key in the building of the Titanic and a large statue of the 18th century Army General Rollo Gillespie stands in the square. The town is also the birthplace of Edwin De Wind, who won a Victoria Cross in the First World War.

The organisers are drawing up plans for a number of major local events leading up the Twelfth.

The Rossnowlagh Twelfth in Co. Donegal will be on Saturday, July 9.

The demonstrations in Northern Ireland, on Tuesday, July 12, will be in:

Belfast, Killylea, Lisnaskea, Stewartstown, Sixmilecross, Clogher,Limavady, Ballyronan, Cullybackey, Ballycastle, Broughshane, Randalstown, Ballymena, Aghalee, Holywood, Comber, Rathfriland and Ballymartin.

Friday 29 April 2011

Congratulations to HRH Prince William, and the Duchess of Cambridge

The Worshipful Master, Officers and Brethren of
Royal York LOL 145
would like to offer their warmest congratulations on this, the wedding day of

HRH Prince William & the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton

May their future together be a long and happy one.


Sunday 24 April 2011

Widows Fund Church Service and Parade

Upcoming Parade & Service

Sunday 1st May
C.o B. Widow’s Fund Annual Church Service and parade in Townsend St. Presbyterian Church
Assemble 2.15 pm.

Sunday 27 March 2011


The trail blazing charity effort by members of Banbridge Bible and Crown Defenders LOL 423 is making good progress.

The aim of the event is to raise funds for the charity HELP FOR HEROES which helps injured service men and women when they return from duty around the world.

The challenge is to follow in the steps of King William III, and carry a Lambeg Drum from his landing place at Brixham, Devon, all the way to the Boyne Heritage Centre at Drogheda. The first leg of the journey has been completed by members of London LOL 1689, taking the drum to Exeter, Portsmouth, The Houses of Parliment, London, Hereford, Manchester and Liverpool, raising funds at various functions and events along the way.

The next leg of the journey began last week when the drum was handed over to Glasgow LOL 162 at Carlisle. More fund raising will take place as the drum makes its way through Scotland to cross the Irish Sea and land at Carrickfergus on Friday, June 10 this year.

Members of LOL 423 will then, along with their Scottish and English brethren, make their way on foot all the way to the Boyne.

“It has been a major logistical exercise for the Orange Institution,” said David Watson of Banbridge Bible and Crown Defenders LOL 423.
“But the effort and planning has been worth it. We have received tremendous support from our Orange brethren, the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.
We have taken a lambeg drum to the top of Slieve Donard and Ben Nevis for charity, but this trip is really special.

“It is for an incredibly good cause – Help for Heroes – and we have been humbled by the response from the Orange Institution and the wider public. So far we have raised £25,000 but we hope that figure will go up much more.

“We can’t wait for the drum to arrive in Northern Ireland and begin its journey to the Boyne.”

Keep up to date with the latest news and follow the drums progress on Facebook page Drumming for Heroes.

If you would like to make a donation you can by sending cheques made payable to LOL 423 c/o
8 Victoria Street, Banbridge , Co. Down BT32 3DQ

Sunday 6 March 2011

St. Patricks Day, Sunday Service and Parade

Upcoming Parade & Service

Sunday 13th March
No.3 District Service and parade in the Nelson Memorial Church
Assemble 2.15pm.

Monday 31 January 2011


Culture Minister Nelson McCausland was the main guest at the annual Orange Order Community Awards, in Enniskillen on Saturday night.

Local MLA and Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster also attended the event which is held annually to showcase the community work undertaken by members of the Orange Institution.

Awards were presented to Orangemen and lodges for their work and the prestigious award for the best new banner of the year went to Magherabeg True Blues LOL 838 from Dromore.

The winning lodge in the category for the biggest percentage increase in membership, sponsored by Victor Stewart Enterprises, was Benvarden Temperance True Blues LOL 1001 (Bushmills).

The winning lodge in the category for the largest numerical increase in membership, sponsored by Aubrey Campbell and Company, was Lisburn Ulster Defence Volunteers LOL 1981.

The best charity fundraising lodge, sponsored by Grave Image, Co. Fermanagh, was shared between Maguiresbridge DLOL 14 and Newtownards Ex-servicemen LOL 1952.

Maguiresbridge District LOL No. 14 (County Fermanagh) raised over £2000 for a number of charities, including the Grand Master’s Appeal for Kidney Research, the Headley Court Appeal and the Erne Hospital Patients Welfare Fund.

Newtownards Ex-Servicemen LOL 1952 (County Down) raised £2250 for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice in May 2010. The Lodge undertook an arduous hill climb in the Mourne Mountains from Bloody Bridge, ascending Slieve Donard and ending at Bryansford Country Park, where all lodge members camped overnight.

The winner of the award for individual community involvement, sponsored by Blackslee Tours and Hilda Winter, was:
William Robinson, Ballymacanallen True Blues LOL 2013 (Banbridge)
•    Lodge Member for over 50 years and held various offices, Past District Master of Gilford District No. 13
•    Founder Member of Tullylish Church of Ireland Men’s Fellowship and current Treasurer, serves on Church Vestry of Tullylish Church of Ireland and has been heavily involved in helping support a church in Croatia
•    Involved in Bleary Young Farmers Club for over 50 years and was Past Club Leader and is now a Committee Member
•    Received an award from Banbridge District Council for his work in helping migrant workers settle into the local Gilford area by giving them support and help to establish themselves in the community
•    On the Board of Directors of TADA, an organisation which provides support for the local rural community

Runner up:
Trevor Alexander Stewart, Rehaghey LOL 857 (Tyrone)
•     Lodge Member for 33 years and is a Past Secretary
•    Founded the “Friends of Schomberg” charity fundraising group six years ago, raising thousands of pounds for various charities
•    His most recent venture raised over £2100 for ‘Help for Heroes’

The award for lodge community involvement, sponsored by NC Engineering and Oval James Insurance, was won by:
Killycurragh LOL 200, (Omagh)
•    Formed a community group in 1995 to represent the views of the local minority Protestant people in their area which aimed to provide social, recreational and educational help for people of all ages. From these efforts, a Youth Club, Parent and Toddler Group, Women’s Group, Senior Citizens Club and an Indoor Football Club were all formed. All of these groups have continued to flourish over the last 15 years and today there are over 200 people using the Orange Hall on a weekly basis.

Runner Up.
Raphoe Crimson Defenders LOL 1921, (Donegal)
•    Allowed the local Raphoe Central National School which teaches children of all faiths, to use their hall as a classroom for a period of 10 months while building work was being done to the school. The lodge members facilitated this and were on hand to open and close the hall for the pupils, ensure the building was warm and clean, even going so far as to clear away the snow from the building to ensure the pupils could get to the hall safely in the bad weather.

The Special Merit Award, sponsored by SD Kells and John Bush System, was shared by three people. 
Gareth Long, Greyabbey LOL 1592
•    Lodge Member for approx 14 years and a Past Master
•    Nominated for his work in setting up a charity called the Helping Alopecia Trust (HAT) after having a family member diagnosed with the condition
•    Organises fundraising events for the charity including running the Belfast Marathon himself, he is Chairman of the Committee and organises events to bring people living with alopecia together

Barrett Rennick, Ballindarragh LOL 689 (Fermanagh)
•    Lodge Member for 33 years and has held various offices, currently       District Secretary since 2000
•    Founder member and Treasurer of Lisbellaw Credit Union, Treasurer and member of the Select Vestry of Derrybrusk     Parish Church and member of the management committee of Ballindarragh Union Hall, committee member of the South East Fermanagh Foundation
•    Founder member of the Friends of Drumack Society and Drumack     Historical Association, had been a member of the Ulster Special     Constabulary Association for approx 16 years and serves as their     Secretary, he is also Chairperson of the recently established     Phoenix Group
•    Trained as a tutor and delivered the ‘Educating Ourselves Programme’ in County Fermanagh along with three others to approx 175 people, teaching the participants about the history and traditions of the Orange Institution

William Murdie, (Belfast)
Sir Robert H.H. Baird Memorial Temperance LOL 1045
•    Lodge Member for 71 years and has held various offices
•    He is a member of North Belfast Working Men’s Club, Bowling Club Member and Honorary Treasurer to the Board of Trustees, President of the North Belfast Working Men’s Club Pipe Band, member of Duncairn Nomads Running Club, member of Donaghadee Probus Club involved in charity work
•    He is heavily involved in his local church, Donaghadee Parish, was Rectors Warden, Church Reader, served in the Choir, and was an active member in his previous Parish where he ran Badminton clubs, and the Young Men’s Institute to name but a few.

The Chaplain’s Award, for Christian witness in the community, sponsored by Nelson-Singleton Solicitors, was won by: 
Philip Agnew, Duke of Schomberg LOL 486 (Belfast)
•    Lodge Member for 15 years and Deputy Master
•    Full-time volunteer for the worldwide ‘Child Evangelism Fellowship Organisation’ along with his wife, bringing the gospel to children throughout the world. Both Philip and his wife Rachael have been involved in church work in Newtownabbey for many years
•    Boy’s Brigade Officer, Sunday School Superintendent, Youth Leader, organises Christian summer schools and camps for young people during the school holidays

Runner up:
William Chambers, Ballyvea LOL 343a (Co. Down).
•    Lodge Member for 65 years and has been Chaplain for 36 years
•    William started up prayer meetings in the Orange Hall in 1957 and has attended these meetings faithfully for 53 years, he also conducted prayer meetings in Bingian Hall every Monday for 42 years

The Orange Standard award, sponsored by the Orange Order’s newspaper, was won by John Kelly (Lisburn) who has been a great asset to the paper, providing photographs from the many events which he attends. His photographic work is of excellent quality and has brought many events to the attention of readers that might otherwise not be known about.  

The best new banner, sponsored by Joseph Long and Sons, Newtownards, was
Magherabeg True Blues LOL 838 (Co. Down), painted by William Magowan.
The design concept of the steam train came from a desire by the members to create something different while still connecting with the local community in Magherabeg. The Orange Hall was built in 1902 on land given by the Railway Company. The Belfast-Dublin railway ran immediately behind the hall and the Magherabeg halt was on the other side of the bridge from the hall. The last train ran in1965 before the line closed and several of the members worked on the railway. On the other side of the banner the painting depicts the Angel commanding the prophet Elijah to 'Arise and Eat'. Elijah had become disillusioned with the world and was despondent. The Lord delivered Elijah back to become a leader again. This religious theme has been on every banner of LOL 838 in living memory.

The award for the best banner painter went to William Magowan, Garvagh.

A Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Henry Latimer Trailers, went to
Rev. Dr Victor H. Ryan from Belfast.
Rev. Dr. Victor Ryan has given dedicated and committed service to the Orange Institution in Belfast County and at Grand Lodge level. He became a Grand Chaplain in 1998, serving with dedication in this post until he relinquished the office at the January meeting of Grand Lodge in 2011. He was appointed as Imperial Chaplain in 1994. A County Grand Chaplain of Belfast, Rev. Dr. Ryan is a familiar figure within Orangeism far and wide, and his inspirational services at the Imperial Council have given much sense of purpose for those attending. He is also a renowned speaker at Orange services. Following his decision to stand down from office in January it was felt that his service should be acknowledged in this first Lifetime Achievement Award presented at the Orange Community Awards.

The Grand Master’s Achievement Award, sponsored by Pennon Plaques, and chosen personally by the Grand Master is presented to an individual who merits recognition for their work either relating to the Institution or the wider community.
Hugh Bell, from Donaghadee, has been an active member of the Institution for over 50 years and is recognised for his efforts on behalf of Action Cancer. After having a voice box operation due to throat cancer, Hugh has been actively involved in seeking to assist research towards the prevention of cancer. He started the Wee Walk from Groomsport to Donaghadee, with a small number of friends, and now has hundreds of people taking part each year. Hugh has inspired others in Donaghadee to raise a cumulative total of £450,000 since 1994 for Cancer Research.
The award was presented by the Immediate Past Grand Master, Robert Saulters.

The large crowd was entertained by Enniskillen Pipe Band, Brookeborough Flute Band, Maguiresbridge Highland Dancers, Maguiresbridge Male Voice Choir, Joe Graham and Churchill Silver Band.

Sunday 16 January 2011

We'r Fur Hame

"Twenty-two Americans travel across Northern Ireland on a 13-day bus tour. They're here to look at Ulster Scots culture. They're here to see the sights. But mostly they're here to find their own roots. In this programme some of them begin to find out who they really are. And it all ends in tears."

Our guests at the 12th celebrations were being covered by a camera crew from BBC Northern Ireland, and their trip has been produced into a three part documentary. The first part is being shown on BBC 2 NI this coming Monday at 19:00. Our lodge is shown, as can been seen in the clip above. 


The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has expressed alarm at the upsurge in attacks on Orange Halls in Co. Tyrone.

Three halls were attacked over the weekend .On Saturday morning, an attempt was made to break into Dergina Orange Hall near Ballygawley. Graffiti was daubed on the building. A few miles away, graffiti was painted on Mullnahunch Orange Hall.

This morning, Sunday, an attempt was made to set fire to Strawletterdallon Orange Hall on the Newtownstewart to Plumbridge Road.

Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary, of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland said:

“A passing motorist saw smoke coming from the hall around 9.00am and raised the alarm. Without his quick thinking, the hall would probably have been burned to the ground.

“A tyre was placed at the emergency exit at the rear of the building and set on fire. Oil had been poured over the tyre to accelerate the fire. We are very fortunate the hall was not destroyed.

“This hall is used by all sections of the community, including dancing classes, a Young Farmers Club, a Faith Mission and a local community group. On Saturday night about 20 members of the local Junior Orange Lodge met in the building.

“Last week a number of windows in the hall were smashed.

“We are very concerned about the upsurge in attacks in Tyrone.

“It seems too much of a co-incidence that we have had three halls attacked in the county over the weekend. We believe there is a degree of organisation behind these attacks that points towards republican paramilitary activity.

“This may be an attempt by republicans to stir up sectarian strife and we would appeal to everyone to keep calm and report any knowledge they have to the police.

“We would also appeal to the police to devote more resources to the detection of those responsible for these attacks.”