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North Munster Masonic Centre,
Castle Street,
King's Island,
Limerick.

Triune Lodge 333
Meets at the Masonic Centre, Castle Street, King's Island, Limerick

on the 3rd Friday of every Month
except in June, July & August.

Triune Lodge, number 333 on the Register of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, first met in Limerick in 1846, and appears to have drawn many of its first members from the neighbouring Antient Union Lodge No. 13.  The minutes of the Grand Lodge Board of General Purposes record that on the 29th December 1845 they read the Memorial of Bros. Saml. Dickson, Wm. Massy and Henry Massy all of Lodge No. 13, for a new Warrant to be held in Limerick, and this was recommended by the Provincial Grand Master of North Munster and the Masters of Lodges 13 and 73.  The Board recommend that a warrant be granted to the Memorialists and the warrant granted was No. 333.  This had previously been held by lodges in Caledon, County Tyrone in 1759 and a lodge in Tynan, County Armagh in 1801, both these lodges becoming defunct. 

The name of the Lodge is unusual and it seems likely that Triune, (Tria Juncta in Uno or Three in One), was suggested by the number of the warrant, although that name does not seem to have been used by the previous warrant holders.  The number three has various Masonic significances, as well as the obvious religious meaning, and so the awarding of Warrant number 333 would be fortuitous.  One of the original by-laws of the Lodge limited the total membership to 33, although this has since been changed.

The year of the foundation of the Lodge, during the Great Famine, was one of great tragedy for the people of Limerick and it has to be recognised that the membership of the Lodge at that time was only available to the better off.  Details of that initial membership is sketchy but the names of the founding members of the Lodge, Massy and Dickson, represent two well-known and prosperous Limerick families, the Massys holding lands in Castleconnell and Galbally, and the Dicksons at Croom Castle.  The secretary of the Lodge in 1847, and presumably the founding secretary, was Right Worshipful Brother Michael Furnell who was also the Provincial Grand Master of North Munster, a Freemason of the highest rank, and also a Limerick landowner.  The original initiation fee was ten guineas and the annual dues were £5.00, and these were very large sums of money when a craftsman might only earn £60 in a year.

Records show that the Lodge got off to a good start and we read in The Freemasonsí Quarterly Review for December 1846, This lodge, not yet twelve months formed, displays a regalia of singular taste and value; and has subscribed handsomely to Masonic Charities! to the Poor Relief Fund of the parish, and to the Grand Lodge building fund.  Such are the acts which best prove its high character.  Other records from the same period show substantial charity donations from this Lodge and from related Masonic bodies for local relief. 

In 1847, the well-known New England Masonic author, Charles Whitlock Moore (1801-1873) was made an honorary member of the Lodge, and expressed his appreciation in The Freemasonsí Monthly Magazine, edited in Boston.  The Lodge then appears to have worked without incident until late in 1862 when the warrant was returned to Grand Lodge for a period of just over a year before being coming back to Limerick.  The reasons for this hiatus are not known, but perhaps falling membership was to blame.  However, from 1863 onwards the Lodge has worked without interruption and in the latter half of the nineteenth century appears to have been strong enough in numbers to have associated with it a Royal Arch Chapter No. 333, and a Preceptory of High Knights Templar.  Eventually all the Limerick based Preceptories were merged into one, but Royal Arch Chapter 333 continues to meet in Limerick. 

The passage of time saw the lodge attract people from more conventional backgrounds and by the twentieth century the trades and professions provided most of the membership.  The Great War had a significant impact on the lodge in several ways.  In addition to members of the lodge joining the army, there appear to have been a number of soldiers who were stationed temporarily in Limerick and who became members.  This sometimes necessitated them receiving the three degrees of Masonry within an unusually short time, for example, Company Quartermaster Sergeant Bentley of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, received all three degrees in a period of four weeks in November 1918, just as the war was ending.  Unfortunately, some members of the lodge paid the ultimate price, Sergeant Joseph Gray, of the York and Lancaster regiment, who joined the lodge in 1914, was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal in June 1915 and was also Mentioned in Despatches, before being posted Missing on the 9th August 1915.

Today, the lodge is representative of local society with members from a range of backgrounds and occupations, and from a much greater geographical spread than in the past.  In recent years fraternal relations have been established with Royal Preston Lodge, No. 333, English Constitution and the Lodge of St. George, No. 333, Scottish Constitution, with exchange visits taking place.  One important thing that has changed is that the cost of joining the lodge is modest when compared with that of 1846.

 

Presented to Triune Lodge 333 by the Brethren of Royal Preston Lodge No. 333 E.C., Preston, Lancs., England.
 

 

 


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