Frequently Asked Questions
The term ‘Lodge' has two meanings in Freemasonry. Firstly, it is used to describe the place where meetings are held. It refers to the temporary buildings erected by Masons alongside their construction projects. These were used by the craftsmen as places to rest eat, plan the project, receive their wages, and socialise. Training and education would also have taken place in the Lodges.
The second use of the term ‘Lodge' refers to individual groups of Freemasons and is more commonly today. A national structure evolved for the control of these Lodges and was called the ‘Grand Lodge'. Grand Lodges are lineal descendants of what are known as the ‘Mother Grand Lodges', the United Grand Lodge of England, the Grand Lodge of Ireland and the Grand Lodge of Scotland, all three of which were established in the early seventeen hundreds.
As in any organisation, the meeting is first called to order, and the ceremony of opening the Lodge is quite formal and draws on elements of the very foundations of Masonry. It serves to remind Freemasons of the virtues they seek to live by.
Once this is complete, minutes and correspondence are read, projects are planned, and other business taken care of, very much like any other organisation.
When new members are being received or are being advanced through the degrees of Craft Masonry, formal ceremonies are again used to teach Freemasons important moral lessons.
Following the formal closing of the Lodge, it is usual for some socialising to take place, often over supper.
All Freemasons are expected to have a religious belief, but Freemasonry does not seek to replace a Mason’s religion or provide a substitute for it. It deals in a man’s relationship with his fellow man not in a man’s relationship with his God.
It is one of the Fundamental Principles of Freemasonry, that neither in the Lodge, nor at any time in his capacity as a Freemason, is a member permitted to discuss or to advance his views on theological or political questions.
Yes – Freemasonry is open to people from all walks of life, regardless of their race, religion, or socio-economic position in society.
Freemasonry is open to men over the age of 21 who are of “good character” and who believe in a supreme being.
We are an organisation that is simply trying to make good men better”.
Freemasonry exists globally and the Grand Lodge of Ireland is one of the oldest in the world with Districts in many overseas countries. Our members are free to visit any of our Lodges abroad and will often find a warm welcome from fellow members who know the local country very well.
In addition to our Lodges, many other counties have sovereign grand lodges, which our members are free to visit and whose members visit us when travelling. That said, there is no international governing body for Freemasonry.
Worldwide, there are approximately six million Freemasons.
There are 20,000 Freemasons in Ireland, with approximately 4500 of those in Northern Ireland.
Basic Freemasonry consists of three degrees:
- Entered Apprentice
- Fellow Craft
- Master Mason
There is an initiation fee when you join and each lodge charges an annual subscription to cover its running costs.
Members are invited to donate to charity, but this should always be within your means, and it is entirely up to you how much you wish to contribute.
Costs can vary considerably from lodge to lodge, particularly for the dining, and your proposer and seconder should make them clear to you before you join.
Freemasons are expected to adhere to three principles:
- Brotherly Love
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 practise charity, and to care, not only for their own members, but for the community as a whole, by both charitable giving, and by voluntary effort.
Freemasonry strives for truth and requires high moral standards of its members.