Contributed by Bro Emmanouil Diamantas from Greece
A first timer in Dublin, May 2019
Since I had not been to Ireland before I was more than glad to join this journey. The adventure started as soon as my first flight from Athens arrived delayed in Frankfurt at the time of the boarding of my second flight! I managed to board but what about my luggage? Would I be able to attend the lodge meeting in the afternoon? To cut the long story short, as soon as I boarded, I used the Lufthansa mobile application which assured me that my luggage had also been loaded. Well done! Arrived in Dublin at 11am, recovered my luggage and used the air shuttle express to reach Arlington Hotel. Did I mention the light rain? Light or not so light the rain would be our sincere companion until Friday. Arriving at the hotel I had to wait until 3pm to enter my room. Luckily, Christian and Aurora had arrived an hour earlier so I joined them at the nearby Arlington bar for a pint of beer. I also tried the Irish cottage pie which was tasty -or I was really hungry, at this point it did not matter at all! Back at the hotel we were happy to meet Alan and Vicky! Next stop, meeting at the hotel lobby at 6pm to walk to the Masonic Hall of the Grand Lodge of Ireland. Most brethren had arrived at this time except for the brethren from Wales who encountered some flight issues and arrived safely a couple of hours later. At the Masonic Hall, we had a warm welcome and Christian was to be tested by the Grand Tyler and vow for all of us. We assisted him with our prayers while drinking coffee and beer… We had no doubt that our WM would pass the exam and half an hour later the meeting of the 510 Kingstown Lodge commenced, in the Grand Hall of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, a truly magnificent temple. In the meanwhile, the ladies had a guided tour of the Grand Lodge. Our WM introduced us to the Irish brethren and gave their WM a commemorative plaque on behalf of our lodge. At the festive board we enjoyed the company of the Irish brethren and were glad to answer their questions about our very unique lodge. After the festive board we walked back to our hotel to rest, having been awake for more than seventeen hours.
On Thursday morning we welcomed the rest of our brethren at breakfast -which included white pudding! A short walk under light rain to Trinity College, then at 11am the tour started. A student walked us through the campus and enlightened us with the history of the College and its breathtaking buildings. The last part of the tour was the exhibition of the legendary Book of Kells. Our next guided tour was that of the Dublin Castle; we walked through the ruins of its foundations, the basement, the moat, the fortifications, its chapel, the interior, including various rooms and finally the Grand Hall, still used for state events. Some of us decided to wander through the streets of Dublin but, due to heavy rain, we had to seek refuge in a shopping centre. Our next adventure was to find a taxi to return us to the hotel while testing if our jackets were waterproof enough… An hour to recover until our next tour, the canal dinner cruise. We once again experienced the horrible traffic of Dublin while our taxi driver rushed to transfer us to the canal boat on time. Nevertheless we were compensated by a picturesque canal cruise and a lovely dinner. At this time the rain had stopped. Before returning to our hotel, we entered a nearby pub to enjoy a local singer and some beer.
Waking up on Friday, we found out that it was not raining. Having no intent to solve this mystery, we crossed fingers and wished our luck continued until our walking tour of Dublin the next day. However, on this special day we had to go on a pilgrimage to the Guinness Storehouse, the temple of beer. A kind lady walked us through the process of brewing beer. At the end of the tour we claimed our “free” pint of Guinness at the Gravity Bar, high above Dublin’s historical rooftops as the brochure said, though several brethren pointed out that this was the most highly priced pint of beer in the world! We had a quick light lunch and then visited the impressive Christ Church Cathedral and its catacombs. Return to the hotel for a quick recovery before the next lodge meeting. This second time we visited the building of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, we were familiar to them so they did not examine our WM again. A warm meeting of the 998 Square and Compass lodge followed, our WM gave their WM an elegant commemorative plaque and they surprised us by giving our WM a meticulously hand-crafted gavel in a wooden presentation box -my description is poor to describe its beauty, I am sure there are some photos of it though… After the festive board we said goodbye to our hosts. Standard operating procedure before sleep, a stop at a pub to listen to the songs of local singers over beer.
Saturday was a sunny, warm day, ideal for our walking tour. Our guide was an experienced lady who met us at the entrance of the Trinity College and initiated us into the secrets of the fascinating history of Dublin and Ireland, as we walked past several landmarks such as the Bank of Ireland/former parliament, the Town Hall, the Dublin Castle, the etc. She was very extensive, as a matter of fact the tour lasted an hour more than originally scheduled! As if three hours of walking were not enough, we continued walking to St Patrick’s Cathedral. Then once again we visited the Grand Lodge of Ireland for a guided tour. The Grand Hall, Royal Arch Chapter, the Commandery and the Princes’ Hall were the highlights of this stunning 19th century building. Finally, the farewell dinner at 7pm sealed the day, followed by a rather entertaining show of Celtic songs and dances at Arlington Hotel. We said good bye and safe return to each other, until the next meeting of August in Brighton.
Most of us returned on Sunday, the unlucky ones had flights in the morning, the lucky ones in the afternoon, and some stayed for an extra day!
In conclusion, this was a very rewarding experience of Dublin, combining masonic duties with sightseeing.
I’d like to congratulate our WM Christian and the organising committee for planning thoroughly every part of it. Furthermore, I’d like to emphasise that the feeling of our brotherly love and bonding was overwhelming at all times. I feel proud to be a member of this unique lodge, I am glad that I participated in this activity and I am waiting for our next one!
So mote it be.
Bro Emmanouil Diamantas
Contributed by Bro Adi Cojan from Romania
Together in Dublin, May 2019
"For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal." - James Joyce
We travel from need or out of curiosity. We are traveling to discover for ourselves. We are traveling to know new things, to meet people and places. We are traveling to tell others how it is at home. Those are traveling alongside our stories. Almost without realizing our travels unite our souls.
”Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime...” Mark Twain
As part of an International Lodge, being with brothers from different corners of the world is a privilege and a unique opportunity to learn from each other in diversity. Nowhere universal ideals could be more easily imagined than together with such brothers. And what city can be a better meeting place for us than Dublin with its history, culture and universality?
From 8th to 12th of May, the Internet Lodge 9659 brothers benefited from the wet mystery or the clear brilliance of the Irish city. We visited, we chatted, and lived together building a long lasting friendship.
On the first day, the program included a visit to the Grand Lodge of Ireland and a Joint Meeting with the Irish Brothers.
On 9th of May we all visited the famous Trinity College and Dublin Castle. Whether it was book walls or stone walls, the greatness of the people who built the history of those places had given us creeps and had led us to meditate on the path of humanity through the times. When the spirit was threatened there were books to feed it; when the body was threatened there were fortifications to defend it. That day ended with a dinner on Dublin's Grand Canal.
May 10th began a visit to the world of Guinness beer. We went through the initiation into the mystery of brewing of one of the most famous beverages in the world. After the necessary tasting, the evening's arrival brought a new visit to the Grand Lodge of Ireland and a new Meeting with the Irish Brothers.
May 11th brought the sun over the capital and the perfect opportunity for a new guided tour. The morning was dedicated to the most important historical objectives, such as the Bank of Ireland, the Town Hall, the Dublin Castle and others. In the afternoon we returned to the Grand Lodge of Ireland, being already accustomed to the place, glad to be once again witnesses of the present of our Brotherhood meeting the past and seeing the future.
The farewell party took place at The Arlington Hotel in a specific Irish atmosphere.
The separation from brothers and city of Dublin could not be easy unless you know another meeting is coming, and the Universal Brotherhood's Chain of Communion is long as the world is, and other places await to be discovered. Hopefully there are still opportunities for us to be together and enjoy our friendship.
Finally, I would like to give my sincerest thanks to all who have contributed to this wonderful meeting in such a delightful place.
"This never was my town,
I was not born or bred
Nor schooled here and she will not
Have me alive or dead
But yet she holds my mind
With her seedy elegance,
With her gentle veils of rain
And all her ghosts that walk
And all that hide behind
Her Georgian facades-
The catcalls and the pain,
The glamour of her squalor,
The bravado of her talk."
Louis MacNeice – Dublin
Bro Adi Cojan