Freemasonry is the one of the world’s oldest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organisations.
Freemasonry means different things to each of those who join. For some, it’s about making new friends and acquaintances. For others it’s about being able to help deserving causes – making a contribution to family and society. But for most, it is an enjoyable hobby.
Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. Its members are taught its principles (moral lessons and self-knowledge) by a series of ritual dramas – a progression of allegorical two-part plays which are learnt by heart and performed within each Lodge – which follow ancient forms, and use stonemasons’ customs and tools as allegorical guides.
Freemasonry instils in its members a moral and ethical approach to life: its values are based on integrity, kindness, honesty and fairness. Members are urged to regard the interests of the family as paramount but, importantly, Freemasonry also teaches concern for people, care for the less fortunate and help for those in need.
Grand Master M.W. Bro. Douglas T. Grey
A video tour of the Freemasons Hall, Dublin, the Headquarters of Freemasonry in the Irish Constitution
Why become a Freemason?
Every Freemason has his own reason for joining. For many, Freemasonry acts as a 'constant', providing them with a unique combination of friendship, belonging and structure, with many Freemasons saying they have made valuable lifelong friendships.
The Three Principles of Freemasonry
Freemasonry offers its members an approach to life, which seeks to reinforce:
Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and behave with kindness and understanding to his fellow creatures.
Freemasons are taught to practice charity and to care, not only for their own, but also for the community as a whole, both by charitable giving, and by voluntary efforts and works as individuals.
Freemasons strive for truth and honesty, requiring high moral standards and aiming to achieve them in their own lives.
How to become a Freemason
You do not need to be asked to join
We always welcome new members who live, work or study in the County Down or Greater Belfast area and wish to join and become a Freemason.
It is an essential requirement that Freemasons must profess a belief in God, regardless of how they worship or address Him. Membership is open to men of good character and repute, irrespective of race, colour or religion.
Brethren are required to observe certain confidences which might easily be referred to as "secrets", but these are entirely of a ceremonial nature.
Freemasons are expected to be law-abiding citizens - any member convicted of a criminal offence being liable to suspension or expulsion from the Order.
Freemasons come from all walks of life and from all social and financial backgrounds. All members in a Lodge are regarded as equal and will receive a warm welcome in any Irish Lodge or any Lodge overseas operating under a Grand Lodge.
Freemasonry is neither a religion nor a religious organisation. Members are expected to support their own faith whatever it may be. No religious discussion is permitted at any meetings.
Nor is political discussion permitted at any meeting. Freemasonry is non-political. Many organisations exist which claim to be "Masonic", but because they are either political or, sectarian, the Grand Lodge of Ireland does not recognise them and will not permit any contact with them.
Irish Freemasonry is a caring organisation which, for two hundred years, has been concerned with the welfare of young and old.
How much does it cost to join?
Lodge fees vary from Lodge to Lodge, and after a small one-off joining fee, the general annual subscription to the Lodge is in the region of £90 per year. This covers membership and the administrative cost of running the Lodge and can be paid yearly or by monthly direct debit.
It is entirely up to the individual member what he gives to Charity, but it should always be without detriment to his other responsibilities. Similarly, he may join as many Lodges as his time and pocket can allow, as long as it does not adversely affect his family life and responsibilities.
About our Charity work
Benevolence has always been the cornerstone of Freemasonry. Goodwill to all and a desire to help those less fortunate are fundamental principles of the Masonic Fraternity and therefore, charitable giving is a major part of membership of the Freemasons.
Our members engage in acts of benevolence in a variety of ways, either through simple gestures such as gift giving, or through the raising of monies for a variety of funds which help a wide variety of people.
Our charity work continues to provide assistance to national and local charities and good causes.
There are also charities within Freemasonry that exist primarily for the benefit of members and their families.
Local Charities within the Province of Down:
The Down Masonic Widows Fund
Affords assistance to deserving widows and their families, including mothers and sisters of freemasons who have been members of a Lodge in the Province of Down outside a six mile radius of Belfast.
The Margaret Elizabeth Daniel Respite Fund
Provides temporary respite care for Masons, (or their close family relatives) who are or were subscribing members of Lodges sitting within the Masonic Province of Down.
The Belfast Masonic Charity Fund
Affords assistance to deserving, destitute and indigent Freemasons or their families by grants or loans of money or by such other means as best suited to their necessities.
The Masonic Orphans’ Welfare Fund
Advises, encourages, assists and promotes the welfare of necessitous orphans and children of Freemasons, provided they are not more than 25 years of age.
Charities within the Grand Lodge of Ireland:
The Masonic Medical Research Fund
Facilitates medical research in Ireland. In the past it has supported research into cochlear implants for autistic children and into renal failure and is presently assisting with research into the causes and treatment of MRSA and other related diseases.
Masonic Havens Limited
Care of the Elderly by the provision of residences and/or appropriate financial and other assistance, so that their quality of life may be enhanced, their independence fostered, and their dignity preserved.
The Victoria Jubilee Masonic Benevolent Fund
The Board may consider a Memorial which has been submitted on behalf of any distressed Freemason who is a subscribing member of a Lodge within the Irish Constitution or any distressed spouse of a deceased Freemason who had been a subscribing member of a Lodge within the Irish Constitution.
The Masonic Girls Benefit Fund
Contributes towards the cost of the maintenance, education, advancement and benefit of daughters of deceased Freemasons.
The Masonic Boys Benefit Fund
Contributes towards the cost of the maintenance, education, advancement and benefit of sons of deceased Freemasons.
The Masonic Welfare Fund
Relieves cases of poverty, hardship, sickness and distress among Freemasons, their wives, widows, children and other dependants who may not be eligible under the criteria of other schemes. Its objectives include furthering the education of such persons by awarding scholarships, maintenance allowances, outfits, clothing, tools etc. to assist entry into a trade, profession or service, or to set up business.
Non-Masonic Charities & Good Causes
It's not just the Masonic Charities that we help support, but charities and good causes nationally and throughout the Province of Down.
Over the years Freemasons have raised many hundreds of thousands of pounds for well known non Masonic charities.
The TLC Appeal is one of the most recent and successful projects which has a simple objective. "To raise funds to provide teddy bears to hospital Emergency Departments for the medical staff to give at their discretion, to children who are in severe distress, where the staff feel that a teddy to cuddle will alleviate that distress and assist them in their urgent work."
So far over 30,000 TLC Teddies have been distributed to hospitals all over Ireland!