Newtownards District LOL no. 4

The governing body of 12 Orange lodges in Newtownards, County Down

Loughries True Blues LOL 1948

Formed in 1869 “Loughries True Blues” used to meet in the Greenwell Street area in a Bro. Graham’s house. James George was its first warrant holder.

The Loughries Great War project

Loughries True Blues LOL 1948 were formed in 1869. In 2015 they embarked on a project to celebrate the history of the lodge and remember the brethren of LOL 1948 who served or died in the Great War of 1914-1918.

One aspect of the project was the publication of a book ‘The Great War and Its Legacy, A History of Loughries True Blues LOL 1948’.

The book was launched at an event on Tuesday 10th May 2016 in Mary Street Orange Hall. The room was filled to capacity – with visiting sisters and brethren from around the area coming along to support Loughries project. Also, in the audience were several relatives of Loughries men who were commemorated in the booklet.

Author and Historian Philip Orr gave a wonderful presentation on the build up and preparation to war looking at the Ulster Division at home and on their journey to the Somme. Nigel Henderson spoke on research that he carried out for the Lodge and his contribution to the project.

Bro Mark Anderson addresses the audience at the book launch

Loughries unfurl new War Bannerette

In April 2016 Loughries True Blues LOL 1948 unfurled a new bannerette at the Somme Museum, Conlig. The bannerette is dedicated to the memory of Lodge members who served, fought and died during the Great War.

members pose with the new Great War bannerette at the Somme Museum

The Lodge members and invited guests began the evening with two complimentary tours of the Somme Museum, prior to the unfurling ceremony in the main hall. Wor. Bro. Mark Anderson welcomed everyone to the evening and gave a overview of the World War 1 project that Loughries had undertaken.

This was followed by the unfurling ceremony performed by Wor. Bro. David Cargo Snr. Hon. Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and Wor. Bro. Stephen Rodgers, lodge Treasurer and the banner painter.

Mrs Carol Walker from the Somme Museum gave a ‘twin towers’ talk on the Ulster Tower and Helen’s Tower.

Loughries start new year

Loughries True Blues LOL 1948 held their annual Installation of Officers on Saturday 3rd January 2015. The lodge were delighted to welcome Grand Treasurer Bro. Brian Dorrian to the meeting. Loughries Officers were duly installed by the Newtownards No. 4 District Officers. The Lodge room was filled to capacity (with seven apologies) for the meeting. Following the meeting the members retired to a local restaurant for the Installation meal.

lodge members and visitors at the 2015 installation of officers meeting

A special presentation took place – lodge Lecturer Bro. Brian Dickson received a Lecturer’s jewel in recognition of his hard work and dedication. Over recent years Brian has initiated many new members into our lodge and has been a great ambassador for Loughries lodge. Presenting the Jewel is Bro. Andrew McCullough 1st District Lecturer.

Five members of Loughries True Blues received their membership certificates at the meeting from our special guest Grand Treasurer Bro. Brian Dorrian – Bro. Brookes Thompson, Bro. Glenn Rawson, Bro. Johnny McCully, Bro. Johnny Thompson and Bro. Stephen Rodgers.

Four of the five have been initiated into Loughries recently and this special presentation was for their regular attendance and good conduct in our lodge.

Loughries Unveil New Banner

For the 2012 marching season, one Newtownards lodge stepped out with a renewed sense of pride as they fell in line behind a brand new banner.

Loughries True Blues LOL 1948 are the lodge who have invested heavily in a new banner, which was unfurled by Grand Lodge of Ireland Secretary Drew Nelson recently.

members of the lodge about to parade with their new banner for the first time

The new banner features a portrait of King William III at the Boyne on one side, while telling a historical story of Ulster on the reverse.

The four main images featured on the banner depict the signing of the Ulster Covenant in 1912, members of the 36th (Ulster) Division at the Battle of the Somme, The Ulster Tower, and a view of Donaghadee Harbour depicting the infamous gun-running of 1914. These four images surround the statue of Lord Carson at Stormont, which stands as the centre-piece of the banner.

LOL 1948 were joined by brethren and sisters, both of Newtownards and further afield at the official unveiling and the banner was proudly carried aloft through the streets of the town following the ceremony.

25 Year Jewel Presentation

On the Twelfth morning 2006 Worshipful Master Bro. William Carroll presented a 25-year jewel to Bro. Hamilton Gregory, for his faithful and devoted service to the Loyal Orange Institution of Ireland.

Bro. Gregory is a local DUP elected politician, a serving Councillor and past Mayor of the Borough of Ards. Bro. Gregory is valued and trusted member of Loughries True Blues LOL 1948.

Stormont Tour

In August 2007 members of Loughries True Blues LOL 1948 travelled to Stormont, Dundonald, for a tour of Parliament buildings, as invited guests of Councillor Simon Hamilton MLA.

The tour of this most magnificent building commenced in the Great Hall at 8pm, where we were welcomed by Simon Hamilton and tour guide Brendan. The evening consisted of an educational tour from the Great Hall, through to both meeting chambers. Lodge members took the opportunity to take a number of photographs, including a group photo on the famous Great Hall steps.

At the end of the evening Worshipful Master Bro. Billy Graham, on behalf of the lodge, thanked Councillor Simon Hamilton MLA for the evening which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. Bro. Graham also thanked our visitors for attending, including members of other Orange lodges, Mill Street, Ballyrobert and the Bowtown.

lodge members with Simon Hamilton, MLA

David Healy Football Fun Day

In June 2007, Loughries True Blues LOL 1948, in partnership with Boyne LOL 1054 took 45 children, aged between 5 – 15, to the Ulster Scots David Healy Football Fun Day, which was held at Regent House School grounds and Dairy Hall.

The group consisted mostly of lodge members’ children with their friends and family. It was an amazing day with over 2000 children from all over Northern Ireland and the Border Counties of the Irish Republic, gathering to enjoy a football coaching day with then Leeds United and Northern Ireland International footballer David Healy.

David was assisted by over 75 local IFA coaches who helped the children enjoy a full range of football skills through out the day. Other aspects of the Ulster Scots Tradition were on display, including music, history, language and dance.

Every group had their photograph taken with David Healy before the football coaching commenced. At the end of the day each child received a signed David Healy football, boot bag, programme and the framed group photo.

Dan Winter’s Cottage

In June 2007 Loughries embarked on a further cultural trip across the border into the Irish Republic. This time the lodge and visitors travelled to Mullaghboy Orange Hall, which is situated 18 miles west of Monaghan Town, across the county border from Monaghan into Cavan.

the morning tea break was at Mullaboy Orange Hall

The hall is presently being renovated but was in reasonable condition for our visit. Bro. Charley McAdam provided tea, coffee and light snack on our arrival. Following the refreshments Charley gave a detailed historical talk, using PowerPoint to illustrate life as a Protestant in the border counties of Monaghan and Cavan. Charley also hosted a question and answer session where members of our group were able to explore topics such as flags & emblems, the Queen & Irish President, sectarianism, attacks on protestant halls, community relations and football teams. A display of local history was also on show for our group to explore. Following extensive work and restoration, the hall will officially reopen on Friday 22nd June 2007.

members gathered outside Dan Winter’s Cottage

Pleasantries exchanged and photographs taken, our group boarded the bus for a visit to Dan Winter’s Cottage. On arrival at the cottage the group made their way to the meeting room where the lodge held its monthly meeting. During the meeting Bro. Mark Anderson was presented with a 25 year jewel, purchased by the Deputy County Grand Treasurer, the presentation was made by the Worshipful Master, Bro. Billy Graham who commented on Bro. Anderson’s hard work, commitment and dedication to Loughries lodge and the Orange Institution.

Bro Mark Anderson (left) receives his 25 year membership jewel from WM Bro Billy Graham

Formalities concluded the group retired to the kitchen area of the cottage where we were entertained by Mrs Hilda Winter, who provided a most wonderful buffet meal. Suitably refreshed the group posed for a few souvenir photographs before the bus was back on the road again.

This trip was another successful venture for Loughries True Blues LOL 1948, once again camaraderie and fellowship was very evident throughout the day. Our thanks go to our hosts, Bro. Charley and John McAdam, Mrs Hilda Winter, all our friends and visiting Brethren, including our driver and tour guide for the day Bro. Ron Redpath and finally to Farset/ Innishowen Border Counties Initiative who sponsored the trip.

World War One Weekend

Loughries True Blues held a “World War I” event over the last weekend in January 2007. On the Friday evening members and friends gathering at our meeting room in Newtownards Orange Hall, for a sequence of historical talks. Mr David Orr was the keynote speaker, who covered the entire WWI conflict, in a one hour 20 minute presentation. He was followed by Bangor Trench Line Lectures, who had exhibited a number of artefacts from the Great War and gave a brief presentation on their workings.

Following a short comfort break Mr Brian McClurg entertained the audience with a few well known tunes on his accordion, whistle and fife and this was followed by Mr Jack Greenald who gave a brief talk on local Orangemen who had fought in the Great War. A light supper concluded the evening.

On the Saturday morning members and friends of Loughries met at the Somme Heritage Centre at Conlig for the historical lecture and tour. We were met by the curator Neill Downes who gave us a detailed guided tour of the displays and interactive presentations at the centre.

This World War I Weekend has proved to be another successful venture for Loughries True Blues, with in excess of 60 people attending both events. Again noticeable was the enjoyment of the members and friends, who had come along and was entertained by music and by a variety of distinguished and excellent speakers.

members gathered at the Somme Heritage Centre

Ulster Scots Awareness Weekend  

Over the weekend of 13th and 14th October 2006, Loughries True Blues organised an Ulster Scots Awareness Weekend in Newtownards Orange Hall.

Friday’s event was held in Loughries’ recently refurbished lodge room. Some 40 people were in attendance and the evening commenced with a talk from Mr Mark Thompson, Chairman of the Ulster Scots Agency, on the 400th Anniversary of the settlement of “The Ards” by Hamilton & Montgomery in 1606. Second up was Mr George Holmes, a local musician. George entertained us with music, chat and song.

Finally the “Twa Wullies” Willie Cromie and Willie McAvoy entertained us with some poetry, storytelling and the odd yarn. It was a fascinating and entertaining evening with the room packed to capacity where everyone enjoyed the Ulster Scots history, music and language. A light supper followed the entertainment which gave each person an opportunity to mingle and enjoy some fellowship together.

Saturday’s event saw over 100 people attend an evening of music, song and dance. Albert Boal began the evening, followed by Portaferry Accordion Band who gave us some familiar and traditional accordion tunes. They were followed by Conlig Drumming Club, who gave us an exhibition of traditional Lambeg Drumming combined with some fabulous fifing music.

Willie Crommie, Mark Thompson (Chairman, Ulster Scots Agency), Willie McAvoy, George Holmes (retired CEO, Ulster Scots Agency)

Boyne Trip

In September 2006, members from Loughries, together with a small number of members from visiting lodges, embarked on a pilgrimage to the Boyne Valley to view the Boyne Battlefield.

members enjoy morning tea in Newry Orange Hall

Following morning tea in Newry Orange Hall, we were soon on the outskirts of Drogheda where we were met by Mr John Roach, from the West Ferrand Community Group, who acted as tour guide for the visit. By this time it was raining very heavily, however undeterred we made our way to Drogheda Corporation Town Hall where our group was given a viewing of the sword and mace, which William presented to the town following his victory at the Battle of the Boyne. We were given a brief history of both artefacts by a local historian, during which members were able to ask questions and take photographs.

Following this we drove down King William’s Glen on the northern side of the Boyne River close to where the obelisk once stood. John Roach gave a detailed commentary of the events leading up to and including the battle itself as the bus crossed the Boyne to the Southern side of the river where we parked and were greeted by Mary O’Rourke, a local tour guide.

at the Boyne Battlefield site

Mary took us to the Boyne Battle site where the Irish Government has recently provided historical artefacts such as cannons, cannon balls, muskets, swords, pikes etc. Mary gave a very detailed talk and demonstration on the weaponry and also showed us maps and old paintings from the battle scene.

Following the demonstration and talk we returned to the Northern Bank of the Boyne River, where we made our way to the viewing point overlooking the River and Battlefield. It was here the group adorned their Orange collarettes and posed for some photographs. A member produced a fife and played a couple of tunes, King Billy’s March and The Boyne Water. The eerie shrill of the fife was heard echoing through the valley before the rain began to fall heavily again, so we made a hasty retreat back to the bus.

During the return bus journey members reflected on what was a special day for everyone. What appeared evident and most striking between members were the fellowship and camaraderie shown and a genuine belief that the Lodge had turned the corner. The lodge had grown in number and stature with strong friendships being forged. All in all it was a successful outing for the lodge and its visitors.

members donned their collarettes and sashes for this photo prior to leaving the Boyne

Why not join us?

Newtownards District consists of twelve lodges making up a membership of over 300. Each lodge holds a monthly meeting, where issues affecting the lodge are discussed. Though much of the business is of a formal nature, there is much social gathering between the members as well, at parades and other events which are organised throughout the year. If you would like to talk to someone about joining, contact us

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