Behind Closed Doors

Masonic HallToday was a really interesting and exciting day for me. Open Door SligoConnecting People, Place & Heritage in Sligo. They arrange for members of the public to see behind some of the most interesting buildings in Sligo. Today was the Masonic Lodge.

DSCF7219Now I must confess that I’ve always wondered about this building and what goes on behind the doors. In fact it always reminded me a bit like ‘Bate’s Motel’ in Psycho. So I absolutely jumped at the chance to go inside.

DSCF7189It is a fantastic building, I could honestly have spent the day in there. Not only did we get a tour of the building we also got a talk about the Freemasons given by Morgan McCreadie, who I have to say was both eloquent and amusing. I really had no idea about the Freemasons so it was brilliant to get an insight into the people involved.

I laughed when we were told one of their rules was only one jug of whiskey per meeting. They got over this problem by having 5 gallon jugs! The meetings run on rituals, if you are a member you have to turn up at each meeting. If you are late you have to knock three times and see if you are allowed in. They don’t allow women to become Freemasons but this dates back hundreds of years, I suppose the same with priests being men.

Their ethos is to be kind to people and do what you can for people, also to be tolerant and keep on the straight and narrow. There is the ‘all seeing eye’ and in the end you will have to answer for your actions and deeds. Little tools symbolise different things; their symbols is a builders square with a compass which arose from the loose organisation of medieval masons. The Freemasons also do a lot of fundraising for various charities, not only looking after their own members but charities outside the organisation. You can find out more about the Irish Freemasons here.


DSCF7206The views from the building are amazing too.

IMG_0555DSCF7213IMG_0569Thank you so much to the Freemasons for letting us in to see this wonderful building and to find out more about them and also to Open Door Sligo and Sligo Heritage Office. 


The next Sligo building to be open is Sligo Gaol which is on May 25th, sadly I’m away but will hopefully get to see it one day. The rest of my photos are here.

23 thoughts on “Behind Closed Doors

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  1. Read Ted Barton Smyth’s recent article and looked forward to going.
    Alas, not this time, but there’ll be another.
    Simply wonderful photographs of a beautiful building.
    Thank you for ‘opening the door’!

  2. My husband’s family were people who looked after the Masonic Lodge from it’s opening until 1951. The Dodd family. I have really appreciated at long last seeing inside the place as have only ever seen his great grandmother peeking out from the huge doors. Doubt it would have been the done thing in those days to take a photograph inside. The photographs are wonderful. Thank you.

  3. What memories !!! My grand parents were the custodians of this property for many years. My father, Lionel Dodd, moved to England c1935, met my mother and made his home in Norfolk. He volunteered to join the RAF during the Second World War and was posted to Burma. After the War he took my mother and me back to Sligo and his home – The Mall.
    I used to sleep in the room at the top of the tower, but was never allowed to look into the Freemason’s rooms, but of course this did not stop a small boy ! I remember it was quite frightening seeing all these strange objects. There was a ‘Ballroom’, large enough for me to cycle around and of course I remember the elaborate toilets. On one side of the house was a school, which my parents made me attend, but as the lessons were mostly in the Irish language, I did not pay much attention. A doctor lived on the other side of the house and I became friendly with his son Purdon McCready, who later also became a doctor and I met twenty years ago when last visiting the area. Some of my family still live in the area and it is certainly my wish to visit again – hopefully next year, when the Bracken family – my grand mother’s maiden name, are trying to arrange a get together. I have so many happy memories of Lough Gill, Hazelwood, Rosses Point etc., that I will make every effort to return.

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment Martin, wow that was a very small room you had. It was fascinating to see inside the house.
      I do hope you get to come back to Sligo

  4. A return trip to Sligo has been arranged !!! My wife and I will arrive Thursday 17 September 2015dv, together with over 40 descendants of the Bracken family. We are all staying at Sligo Park Hotel for four nights, when a reunion will take place. Hopefully I will be able to meet my old friend Purdon once again.

  5. My name is Brendan Gill and I now live in Doonard (formally Mcreadys house on the Mall in Sligo) I read your post with interest. Purdon Mcready died some years ago, maybe 8 yrs or so. I know this as the police came to the house to to try and trace the whereabouts of any relations. I was able to tell them where Hazel mcready was living.

    1. I will pass your message on to my husband. Thank you very much for letting us know. Very sad
      Kind regards Pauline Dodd

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