The Provincial Grand Lodge of Wicklow and Wexford.
Freemasonry is known to have existed in the Province of Wicklow and Wexford for
almost three hundred years and probably a great deal longer than that, its origins having
been long lost in the mists of time.
Following its formation in 1725, one of the many difficulties which confronted the Grand
Lodge of Ireland was in persuading its subordinate Lodges to acknowledge its authority,
especially those a distance from Dublin as a means of solving this problem, Grand
Lodge, in 1768, introduced County Committees of Inspection. These were given powers
so that they might manage and report on local Masonic business and activities.
Eventually, in 1829, Grand Lodge made the decision to introduce Provincial Grand
Lodges throughout Ireland. However, in keeping with their normal policy this was only
to be done gradually and as they gained experience. These early Masonic Provinces, of
which there were nine in number, were in time considered to be unwieldy, so it was
decided, in 1868, to reorganise these Provincial Grand Lodges into the formation with
which we are familiar today.
Wicklow and Wexford would appear to have been the last Masonic Province to be
formally established. The Right Honourable Mervyn Viscount Powerscourt was
appointed as the first Provincial Grand Master and he presided over the inaugural
meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge which took place on 21 February 1870, at the
Assembly Rooms, Bray, Co. Wicklow.
During its early years, the Provincial meetings were customarily held in either Bray or
Wexford. One notable exception was the October communication of 1874, which was
held in Powerscourt Castle, Enniskerry. This must undoubtedly be one of the most
beautiful settings where Freemasons have enacted their labours.
There were five Lodges in the Province to begin with. These were Alexandra No. XI
Bray, Prince of Wales No. 222 Bray, Harmony No. 228 Gorey, Wicklow Militia No.
877 Arklow, and True Blues No. 935 Wexford. During the succeeding years some
Lodges have closed while on the other hand, new Lodges have been formed. The present
number has been increased to nine, with the addition of St.Georges No. 270
Enniscorthy, Emerald No. 49 Greystones, Tynte No. 236 Baltinglass, and Wicklow
No. 748 Wicklow. These Lodges teach and encourage in their meetings the important
principals of morality, integrity and relief of those in need.
In these modern times, it is difficult to visualise the problems, which must have
confronted the Provincial brethren in those far off days. The country was constantly in a
state of political turmoil and the famine years still lingered in the minds of many of the
older members. Transport depended mainly on horse drawn vehicles, unless one was
fortunate to live near a railway station. Communication too must have been difficult, as
the telephone had still to be invented. Even the nowadays-simple task of providing light
and heat must have been rather arduous, as electricity and gas were still not yet in common use. Brethren usually travelled to meetings by steam train and occasionally special discount fares were granted. The ever changing railway timetable frequently caused problems and meeting times were difficult to arrange. Occasional clashes with the regular Fair Days in Arklow and Gorey were also unavoidable, and were unpopular with the members.
Nevertheless, with the enthusiasm and dedication of its members, Freemasonry has prospered and expanded down through the years. Whilst the Brethren in Wicklow and Wexford have always kept the fraternal aspect of the Order very much to the fore, they have also developed a strong charitable ethos. This has resulted with an excellent record in their contributions to the three main Masonic Charities, the V.J.M.B.F., the Girls Benefit Fund, and the Boys Benefit Fund, together with the relatively modern Masonic Welfare Fund. The brethren of Wicklow and Wexford are especially proud of the John R. Brennan Memorial Fund, which is the Provinces own charity fund. In more recent years a increasing number of outside charitable organisations both local and national are also supported.
In recent years, the social side of the Order’s activities is receiving greater attention. The members together with their ladies and friends enjoy many pleasant evenings which include, barbecues, dinner dances, and various other events.
Currently there are nine Lodges which meet in the six Masonic Halls within the Province and one, that in fact meets outside the Province. These are situated in Greystones, Wicklow, Arklow, Gorey, Enniscorthy, Baltinglass and the exception Dalkey .
The Provincial Grand Lodge holds four stated communications each year. These are held on a rotating basis at the various Lodges, on the second Monday during the months of March, May, September, and November. Meetings commencing at 8.00 p.m.
Current Lodges within the Province
Alexandra Lodge No. XI
Emerald Lodge No. 49
Prince of Wales Lodge No. 222
Harmony Lodge No. 228
Tynte LodgeNo. 236
St. Georges Lodge No. 270
Wicklow Lodge No. 748
Wicklow Militia Lodge No. 877
True Blues Lodge No. 935