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The Records of the Freemasons of Ireland

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review: No. 02, 1986


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By C. G. Horton

"The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland is the second oldest Grand Lodge of Freemasons in existence. It was established by 1725 following the example set in England eight years previously. Scotland followed later in 1736.

However, the earliest Masonic Lodges in Ireland date from the early seventeenth century but documentary evidence for this period is very scarce and we have to rely mainly on tombstones or other inscriptions for clues to their existence.

The earliest documentary evidence we have comes from two manuscripts in Trinity College, Dublin, dated 1688 and 1711 respectively. They tell us of the existence of a Masonic Lodge working in the College which included 'gentlemen, mechanics and porters.'

The works of Jonathan Swift and the history of the Lady Freemason, the Hon. Elizabeth St. Leger, in Cork also show how Masonic Lodges operated before the foundation of the Grand Lodge."

This article looks at the records of the Freemasons of Ireland - the second oldest Freemason Grand Lodge in existence.