Freemasonry in Ulster, 1733-1813: a social and political history of the masonic brotherhood in the north of Ireland

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Four Courts Press, 2007 - History - 303 pages
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This book explores the role of freemasonary in the Volunteer movement of the 1780s and in the struggles over Catholic emancipation, parliamentary reform, revolution and counter-revolution in the 1790s. Based on original research, the book addresses many common myths about the nature of early Irish freemasonary. It also explores the controversial relationship between masonry and Orangeism. The Masonic lodge had many other roles besides secret rituals, convivial gatherings, and occasional political involvement. Lodges provided a measure of social security for the members, helped emigrants integrate, enforced a code of respectable behaviour and arbitrated in disputes. Their public parades on St John's Day displayed Masonic ceremonial rituals to the wider community. By 1800, there may have been as many as 20,000 freemasons in Ulster alone, many of them Catholics.

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