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Freemasonry in Belfast
Becoming a Freemason in Belfast
Becoming a Freemason
Grand Lodges and Grand Orients are independent and sovereign bodies that govern Masonry in a given country, state or geographical area (termed a jurisdiction). There is no single overarching governing body that presides over worldwide Freemasonry; connections between different jurisdictions depend solely on mutual recognition.
Freemasonry, as it exists in various forms all over the world, has a membership estimated by the United Grand Lodge of England at around 6 million worldwide. The fraternity is administratively organised into independent Grand Lodges (or sometimes Grand Orients), each of which governs its own Masonic jurisdiction, which consists of subordinate (or constituent) Lodges. The largest single jurisdiction, in terms of membership, is the United Grand Lodge of England (with a membership estimated at around a quarter million). The Grand Lodge of Scotland and Grand Lodge of Ireland (taken together) have approximately 150,000 members. In the United States, total membership is just under 2 million.
Relations between Grand Lodges are determined by the concept of Recognition. Each Grand Lodge maintains a list of other Grand Lodges that it recognises. When two Grand Lodges recognise and are in Masonic communication with each other, they are said to be in amity, and the brethren of each may visit each other's Lodges and interact Masonically. When two Grand Lodges are not in amity, inter-visitation is not allowed. There are many reasons one Grand Lodge will withhold or withdraw recognition from another, but the two most common are Exclusive Jurisdiction and Regularity.
Exclusive Jurisdiction is a concept whereby normally only one Grand Lodge will be recognised in any geographical area. If two Grand Lodges claim jurisdiction over the same area, the other Grand Lodges will have to choose between them, and they may not all decide to recognise the same one. (In 1849, for example, the Grand Lodge of New York split into two rival factions, each claiming to be the legitimate Grand Lodge. Other Grand Lodges had to choose between them until the schism was healed). Exclusive Jurisdiction can be waived when the two overlapping Grand Lodges are themselves in Amity and agree to share jurisdiction (for example, since the Grand Lodge of Connecticut is in Amity with the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Connecticut, the principle of Exclusive Jurisdiction does not apply, and other Grand Lodges may recognise both, likewise the five distinct kinds of lodges in Germany have nominally united under one Grand Lodge, in order to obtain international recognition.
The first rational study of masonic history was published in Germany, but Georg Kloss's 1847 work, Geschichte der Freimaurerei in England, Irland und Schottland was never translated. When Findel's History of Freemasonry was translated from German to English in 1866, Woodford in England and Murray-Lyon in Scotland were already active writers on the subject. Woodford was Findel's guide when he visited York to inspect manuscripts, and would shortly collaborate with Hughan in collecting, dating and classifying the old manuscript constitutions. Albert Mackey was no less active in America. The list of his published works start in 1844 with "A Lexicon of Freemasonry", and extend to his monumental Encyclopedia of Freemasonry in 1874. Increasing interest, and participation, in masonic studies led, in 1886, to the formation in London of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, the first lodge dedicated to masonic research.
Belfast is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast. It is the 12th-largest city in the United Kingdom and the second-largest on the island of Ireland. It had a population of 343,542 as of 2019. Belfast suffered greatly during the violence that accompanied the partition of Ireland, and especially during the more recent conflict known as the Troubles: in the 1970s and 1980s it was one of the world's most dangerous cities, with a homicide rate around 31 per 100,000.
By the early 19th century, Belfast became a major port. It played an important role in the Industrial Revolution in Ireland, becoming briefly the biggest linen-producer in the world, earning it the nickname "Linenopolis". By the time it was granted city status in 1888, it was a major centre of Irish linen production, tobacco-processing and rope-making. Shipbuilding was also a key industry; the Harland and Wolff shipyard, which built the RMS Titanic, was the world's largest shipyard. Belfast as of 2019 has a major aerospace and missiles industry. Industrialisation, and the inward migration it brought, made Belfast Northern Ireland's biggest city. Following the partition of Ireland in 1922, Belfast became the seat of government for Northern Ireland. Belfast's status as a global industrial centre ended in the decades after the Second World War.
Belfast is still a port with commercial and industrial docks, including the Harland and Wolff shipyard, dominating the Belfast Lough shoreline. It is served by two airports: George Best Belfast City Airport, 3 miles (5 kilometres) from the city centre, and Belfast International Airport 15 miles (24 kilometres) west of the city. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) listed Belfast as a Gamma + global city in 2020. The name Belfast derives from the Irish Béal Feirsde, later spelt Béal Feirste. The word béal means "mouth" or "river-mouth" while feirsde/feirste is the genitive singular of fearsaid and refers to a sandbar or tidal ford across a river's mouth. The name therefore translates literally as "(river) mouth of the sandbar" or "(river) mouth of the ford". The sandbar formed at the confluence (at present-day Donegall Quay) of two rivers: the Lagan, which flows into Belfast Lough, and the Lagan's tributary the Farset. This area became the hub around which the original settlement developed. The Irish name Béal Feirste is shared by a County Mayo townland which has the anglicised name Belfarsad.
An alternative interpretation of the name, "mouth of [the river] of the sandbar", would allude to the River Farset, which flows into the Lagan where the sandbar was located. Edmund Hogan and John O'Donovan favoured this interpretation. It seems clear, however, that the river itself took its name from the tidal crossing. In Ulster-Scots, the name of the city can appear variously written as Bilfawst, Bilfaust or Baelfawst, although "Belfast" is also used. The site of Belfast has been occupied since the Bronze Age. The Giant's Ring, a 5,000-year-old henge, is located near the city, and the remains of Iron Age hill forts can still be seen in the surrounding hills. Belfast remained a small settlement of little importance during the Middle Ages. John de Courcy built a castle on what is now Castle Street in the city centre in the 12th century, but this was on a lesser scale and not as strategically important as Carrickfergus Castle to the north, which was built by de Courcy in 1177. The O'Neill clan had a presence in the area. In the 14th century, Cloinne Aodha Buidhe, descendants of Aodh Buidhe O'Neill, built Grey Castle at Castlereagh, now in the east of the city. Conn O'Neill of the Clannaboy O'Neills owned vast lands in the area and was the last inhabitant of Grey Castle, one remaining link being the Conn's Water river flowing through east Belfast.
Population City of Belfast:
Irish grid reference J338740
City of Belfast
County Antrim / County Down
Becoming a Freemason in Northern Ireland
Becoming a Freemason in United Kingdom
Post town BELFAST
Postcode district BT1–BT17, BT29 (part), BT36 (part), BT58
Dialling code 028
Police Northern Ireland
Fire Northern Ireland
Ambulance Northern Ireland
Belfast North (SF)
Belfast South (SDLP)
Belfast East (DUP)
Belfast West (SF)