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Kildare Observer, June 4th, 1898
Imposing Ceremony at Newbridge
At a quarterly stated communication of the Provincial Grand Lodge of the Midland Counties held at Newbridge on Friday, the ceremony of opening a new Masonic Hall, erected in George’s Street for the accommodation of the United Service Lodge 215, was performed by the Provincial Grand Master (who was assisted by several other Provincial Grand Officers) in the presence of a large concourse of Brethren, who attended not only from the different Lodges in the district, but from Dublin and other parts of Ireland. The building is of handsome red brick, with white stone facings, and includes caretakers’ apartments, lodge, and committee room, with spacious ante-rooms and a commodious banqueting hall, and was erected by Mr John Cromer, contractor, Lucan, from designs of Mr J J O Ramsay, CE, Dunlavin. The total cost of the edifice was £1000, and there is still a considerable sum required to clear the building account.
The following officers of the Provincial Grand Lodge were in attendance – Colonel Robert G Cosby, D L, Prov. Grand Master; R Middleton Smith, Senior Grand Warden; R J Wilson, Junior Grand Warden; R Hawes, Senior Grand Deacon; J Boyle, Junior Grand Deacon; T Robert Ely, J P, Grand Secretary; Rev D H O’Connor, Acting as Provincial Grand Chaplain; G Pierce Ridley, M D, Grand Superintendent of Works; Robert Williams, Grand Director of Ceremonies; R T Fitzgerald, T Bowers, John Hipwell, and D R Mullarchy, Grand Stewards; Thomas G Lumley, Grand Sword Bearer; Isaac Williams, Grand Organist; and Henry E Joly, J P, Grand I G.
Amongst the other members of the Order present were – The Earl of Portarlington, Grand Senior Warden of the Grand Lodge of England; Robert Malone, Mus. Doc, Grand Organist of the South - Eastern Provincial Grand Lodge; Francis H Wayland, Past Prov. Grand Secretary of Wicklow and Wexford, and Representative of the Grand Lodge of North Dakota; W Beck, J D, 215; W G Hamilton, S D, 662; C H Manners, P M, 662; James Dunne, Fr Sec, 402; P Hannigan, P M, 321; W C Murray, J D, 662; G T Tyrrell, P Prov S G W, 662; H G Houghton, W M, 150; W F Houghton, S W, 150; J T Turner, P M, 825; E l McCormack, O M, 125; James Neville, 158; F Scarr, J W, 222; P R Gray, p M, 167; J Erskine, J W, 100; R Simpson, P M, 384; J Hampton, J D, 125; W Coughlan, W m 321; R H Mather, W M , 321; W J Parry, W M 321; Robert Chalmers, 321; A H Jackson, P M, 139; M C Carey, P M, 398; J N McGuire, J W, 398; F R Jackson, PPGSW, 167; T E Norris, 730;W M Tehan, 1604 (London); James Hartley, 2387, (Manchester); J Cromer, 500; W H M Conne, J W, 139; R Fincher, 660; W Finnegan, W M, 402; J Edgar, J W, 94; S H Marshall, J W, 398; J L Mills, J W, 150; T Burne, 660; S F Synes, 245: C P Tracy, 215; A Johnston, 215; H T Love, 321; G W Henderson, W M, 167: D J W Wilkinson, W M, 139; A Richardson, 660; F E Somers, S W, 321; R T Leatham, J D, 660; W H Johnson, W M, 660; R N Barron, P M, 50; H E Byers, W MJ, 215; T Llewellyn, P M, 215; A K Douglas, S W, 662; T R Gibson, P M, 215; W Cockburn, 215; Alex Bond, S W, 660; W Bailey, J W, 660; A read, 215; P Kingston, S W, 307; H W Clark, 215; J Baldwin, P M, 402; J H Smith, P M, 402; J S McElveen, T G, 215; George Clark, 215; A Haslam, 215; G Trickett, 340; H Livick, 215; T Jerome, 215; G Emerson, 215; E Dagnall, 215; G Wallace, J Barber, 215; Rev D H O’Connor, PM, 215; H Church, S W, 215; G B Read, 215; McGuirck, 62; H Cooper, W Baird, P M, 150; Chas Perman, 215; H G Sheppard, J W, 307; Wm Jackson, P M, 167; W F Mackey, P Prov G S W, 398; A W Savage, 215; Weller, 215.
Provincial Grand Lodge was opened in accordance with ancient Masonic custom, but owing to the crowded state of the Lodge Room the elaborate ceremony of dedication had to be somewhat curtailed, and the perambulations had to be dispensed with. The opening hymn, the first verse of which is:-
                       Hail, Eternal, by whose aid
                       All created things were made,
                       Heaven and earth, Thy vast design,
                       Hear us, Architect Divine.
having been sung, the grand honours were given at the appropriate time, and the Rev D H O’Connor, Secretary of the Lodge, offered up prayer as follows: - “O Most Holy and Glorious Lord God, Though Great Architect of the Universe, Giver of all good gifts and graces, Thou hast promised that wherever two or three are gathered together in Thy name Thou wilt be in their midst. In Thy name we have assembled, and in Thy name we desire to proceed in all our doings. Grant, O Lord that the sublime principles of Freemasonry may so subdue every discordant passion within us, and so harmonise and enrich our hearts that this Lodge may ever humbly reflect that order and beauty which reign before Thy throne, so mite it be.”
The Secretary then, acting on behalf of the WM, addressing the presiding officer, said – Right Worshipful Master, the Brethren of this Lodge, being animated with a desire to promote the honour and interest of the craft, have erected a Masonic Hall for their convenience and accommodation. They are desirous that the same should be examined by the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge, and, if it should meet their approbation, that it be dedicated solemnly to the purposes of Freemasonry, in accordance with the ancient usages of the craft.
The Provincial Grand Master expressed the pleasure he had in acceding to the wishes of the Lodge.
In the meantime three suitable vessels, containing respectively wheat, wine, and oil, were placed on a table before the chair; on another table, at convenient distance, were placed the Holy Scriptures open with a square and compass thereon; the book of constitutions, the Warrant of the Lodge, copy of its by-laws, and a roll of the names of its members, with their respective offices.
Addressing the Secretary as one of the promoters of the new building, the Provincial Grand Master said the skill and fidelity displayed in the execution of the trust imposed in Br O’Connor and those acting with him had secured the entire approbation of the Provincial Grand Lodge, and it was their sincere prayer that the edifice would continue a lasting monument to the taste, spirit, and liberality of its founders.
The Consecration and dedication of the Hall was then proceeded with according to the ancient rites and usages of Freemasonry, the prayer of Consecration being read as follows; Almighty and ever glorious Lord God, Creator of all things, and the Governor of everything Thou hast made, mercifully look upon Thy servants now assembled in Thy Name, and Thy presence, and bless and prosper all our works, began, continued and ended in Thee. Graciously bestow upon us Wisdom in all our doings, Strength of mind in all our difficulties, and the Beauty of harmony and holiness in all our work and communications. Let Faith be the foundation of our Hope, and Charity the fruit of our obedience to Thy will. O Thou, preserver of men, graciously enable us now to consecrate this Lodge to the honour and glory of Thy Name, and mercifully be pleased to accept this service at our hands.
The Ode, commencing
Hail Masonry divine,
Glory of ages, shine;
Long mayst thou reign,
having been sung, the Provincial Grand Master solemnly dedicated the Lodge to the purposes of Freemasonry, after which the Chaplain invoked a blessing as follows:-
May the Most High God, the giver of every good and perfect gift, bless the brethren here assembled in all their lawful undertakings and grant to each one of them in needful supply, the corn of nourishment, the wine of refreshment and the oil of joy and peace.
The Provincial Grand Lodge was then closed in due form, the Grand Officers retiring, whilst the Brethren sang the following verses:
God of light, whose love unceasing
Doth to all Thy words extend;
Crown our order with Thy Blessing,
Build, sustain us to the end.
Humbly now we bow before Thee,
Grateful for Thy love divine,
Thine the power, the praise and glory,
Mighty Architect Divine.
The Brethren, to the number of about 130, were subsequently entertained at luncheon in the Banqueting Hall. The Provincial Grand Master, who occupied the chair, in eloquent language proposed the usual toasts, which were duly honoured, In proposing the toast of the “Three Grand Masters of England, Ireland and Scotland,” he coupled with it the name of the Immediate Past Senior Grand Warden of England.
The Right Worshipful Lord Portarlington, who was received in a most cordial manner, expressed the great honour he felt at being present on such an interesting occasion. As an English Mason, he felt the great desirability of there being more of an amalgamation between England, Ireland, and Scotland; that, while they preserved their distinct constitutions, they might be the same in ritual and working. If this was brought about, he thought it would be a great advantage.
The Provincial Grand Master, in replying to the toast of his own health, dwelt on the progress which was being made in Freemasonry, not only in their own province, but throughout Ireland. Last year no less than nine warrants for new lodges were issued by the Grand Lodge of Ireland, and the opening of that Masonic Temple in Newbridge that day was an indication of the standing of the order in the province. He hoped other lodges in the province would emulate the example set by Lodge 215. He wished the lodge every prosperity in the future. He took a deep interest in the success of every Lodge in the province, and in the discharge of his duties as Provincial Grand Master he tried to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, the late Lord Huntingdon. Freemasonry was increasing in strength and vigour in Ireland, and it was a pleasant thing to know, particularly in a Lodge like No 215, which was composed equally of soldiers and civilians, that the distinguished hero, at present at the head of the Forces in this country, Lord Roberts, was a Freemason, and that eminent nobleman at the head of the Government in Ireland, Lord Cadogan, was also a Freemason.
A number of other speeches followed, and the proceedings closed in “peace, love, and harmony.”

The opening of the new Masonic Hall in Newbridge is reported on at length by the Kildare Observer in June, 1898

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