Culture night in the Masonic Hall

Culture night takes place in various cities and venues around the country and tonight was the night.There are lots of places which would not normally be open to the public on show or places that would normally charge a fee were free, it takes place in the evening to allow people who work during the daytime to partake in the event.
We opted for the Freemason Masonic hall for our venture into culture! Places were limited so it was one of the venues which had to be prebooked.
I did not take my camera not expecting to be allowed to take photographs but there were no restrictions on snap happy sightseers, daughter Aisling had her small camera and took the following photos. First one is a huge mosaic over the door with various symbols the four plaster casts surrounding it depict the 4 Evangelists. The plaster casts came from the rebuilding of our St Finbarre's Cathedral, the figures surround the west window in the present cathedral.
Very Bell,Book and candle!
Aisling enthroned! The only female Freemason was a lady from Cork who overheard a Lodge meeting taking place in her father's house and was admitted to the order,her name was Hon. Elizabeth St.Leger (Aldworth) You can read various accounts of this remarkable story
hereThe house in question was Doneraile House and as far as I know it is now a ruin. Doneraile has another claim to fame ,the first Steeple chase took place there in 1752.A horse race was run from the church steeple in Doneraile to the church steeple in Buttevant a distance of 4 miles, and the Steeplechase was born!
Myself sitting in one of the stalls, there were chairs around the room to listen to the music but it is the first time the seats at the back of the room filled up first!There was an excellent talk first by one of the masons on the history of masonry in Cork and the history of the building itself.
The Lodge Room with banners and candlelight and a bespoke carpet with the symbols of the Masons woven into it.They are a set square, level and plumb line, very ordinary objects which have attained a mystical quality thanks mainly to the Da Vinci code.The Lodge room is breathtaking in the 21st century.All black woodwork on the wall panelling and stalls are over 300 years old and came from the old St Finbarre's Cathedral. The banners which hang over each stall have the Coat of Arms of the prince masons, the ones high up are of deceased members and the one over the stall is of the present incumbent. The whole effect is very Harry Potter!
We left the masonic hall and continued over to the English market which was open late and food and wine were flowing (for a price)!Music was everywhere, here this gentleman is strumming a harp.
A swordfish on display on O'Connolls fish stall, anytime I am in town with one of the grandchildren we always pay a visit to see if there is any weird and wonderful creature after being caught.
This photo is out of sync! Back in the masonic hall one of the masons explained their system of balloting, each mason takes a black or white ball and drops it into the box. To say someone was ''blacked' was derived from this as one black ball meant a resounding 'no'!The balls are now a little discoloured as they are over a hundred years old and I think made of ceramic or marble.The masons were doing the talks and answered any queries which were put to them.
Another view of the English market, there was a lovely atmosphere as there were no crowds pushing ,everyone was strolling through, imbibing or nibbling at some of the food stalls.
So we became culture vultures for the evening and I must say it was most enjoyable and interesting!


OneStonedCrow said…
I found this post interesting because I have past links to Freemasonry Peggy ... do you know whether this is an English or Scottish Lodge? ... I don't see the chequer board floor as often found in English Lodges ...

There are a few Lodges in Namibia but their membership numbers seem to be dwindling.
Matron said…
I've been to the English Market in Cork!! which reminds me...I must post a blog about what to do with the carageen I bought there. Interesting stuff! xx
Ann said…
Very interesting Peggy, I love looking at these old buildings, lots of history inside this one.

I enjoyed your previous post about your trip to County Clare too. Ireland has some spectacular scenery doesn't it, and the festival sounds great.
Peggy said…
OneStonedCrow,it is completely Irish and the provincial and grand Lodge of Munster have met in this hall since the masons purchased it in 1844 having previously met in other locations arond the city.They have a website at
Ireland was historically divided into 4 provinces, Ulster in the North, Connaught to the west,Leinster in the east and Munster covers the south taking in 6 counties, Cork (the largest county in the country)Kerry, Tipperary, Waterford and Limerick and Clare.

Matron,you were there but there were no monster fish on the day if I remember? Keep us posted on the carrigeen.

Ann, that is why we opted for this particular venue for the evening, that and having read the Da Vinci code!
Clare is a beautifull country with spectacular scenery.
Catherine said…
Sounds fascinating Peggy - I read about it on the Times yesterday and would have loved to have gone but didn't get organised enough! It is a weird and wonderfully mystical place this whole freemasonry secrecy - I haven't read Da Vinci Code but read about the Freemasons in various other books - had heard of the BlackBalling! The English Market looked very quiet!
All the best, Catherine.
Bill A. said…
I enjoyed your post, but there is one thing i did notice. You noticed the 'medallion' and commented that the "the centre has the symbols which appear on the American dollar".
Well I did have a look at it and I would say that none of the symbols are part of the American Great Seal (obverse or reverse). The image contains the pillars (orders of architecture), Jacob's ladder and the sun and moon, the alter and a few other elements. None of which are on the Great Seal of the US.
Just thought I would mention that since too much bad information is passed on to non-members of the Masonic Fraternity this way.
Peggy said…
Hi Catherine,Heritage day and Culture night are gaining in popularity each year as people get to see quite a few places they would not normally go to.There were also free buses around the city to the various venues on the outskirts and musicians and poets entertained the passengers.

Bill A, thanks for taking the time to clarify that, I will update the post. I did find a Dollar I had and it shows the pyramid and all seeing eye, not the medallion as shown.
marufhosen said…
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Ming green marble Mosaic

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