Monday, April 9, 2012
Lodges of Ireland
My wife, who is Cuban, pointed out that I have given too much attention to Cuba on my blog even though I am Irish. As always, I bow to the wisdom of "She who must be obeyed" and went straight to work to provide a brief and admittedly incomplete entry on some random lodges in Ireland that happened to catch my fancy. I hope you all enjoy.
Inch Island in Donegal is a remarkable place. In addition to having been home to both Catholic and Protestant communities since the 1700s, it has played a role in Irish political and cultural history, and still does. Today, the Inch House Irish Studies Centre, a center for visiting University programs from around the world, inhabits a home built in the late 1600s for a local landlord. Here we see a photo of the old Inch Masonic Lodge.
It is important to consider, when we look at Lodges in Ireland, especially those from this period, that our conceptions about political and religious divisions in contemporary Ireland are not as accurate as we believe. The Society of United Irishmen (Cumann na hÉireannaigh Aontaithe) was founded as a liberal political organisation in eighteenth century Ireland that sought Parliamentary reform. However, it evolved into a revolutionary republican organisation, inspired by the American Revolution and allied with Revolutionary France. It launched the Irish Rebellion of 1798 (The Fenian Uprising) with the objective of ending British monarchical rule over Ireland and founding an independent Irish republic. The leader of this movement was Theobald Wolfe Tone, a Belfast Protestant, and as recent research has amply demonstrated, the Freemasons quite often supported efforts at achieving the goal of an independent Ireland. One result of this failed revolution was the institution of a national school system throughout Ireland dividing its youth by religious affiliation and teaching separate histories of Ireland to Protest and Catholic in a rather successful attempt at creating internal strife. This belies the real history, especially of Ulster. For example, in 1865, the Synod of the Presbyterian Church in Ulster (now Northern Ireland) recommended that the students in the Presbyterian Seminary be instructed in the Irish language as the majority of its members in the rural areas spoke only Irish Gaelic and knew little or no English. In 1911, the census for Ireland documented that one hundred years ago there were as many Irish speakers on the Shankill Road as there were on the Falls Road. Shankhill was a stronghold of the Protestant community while the Falls Road was Catholic.
One of the more impressive lodge buildings in Ulster is that of Harmony Lodge 586 Enniskillen
Irish Constitution. Antient Free and Accepted Masons in the Provence of Tyrone & Fermanagh.