History of our Lodge
In the year of 1911, a group of Freemasons living in the locality of Greystones, together with friends who were members of Dublin Lodges, came together and decided to apply to Grand Lodge for permission to constitute a new Lodge in Greystones.
A petition was made to the Grand Master for a Warrant of Constitution. They also received permission to erect a new Hall, in order to be able to have regular meetings taking place.
It would appear that many of those Brethren involved in the petition were held in high esteem since the Warrant then issued was one which had originally been issued to Charleville Lodge No. 49, in the County of Cork, in 1736. The honour of obtaining what was one of the earliest Warrants must indeed have been a great inspiration to the Brethren of Emerald Lodge No. 49, in their early endeavours.
At the consecration of the Lodge, the number of original subscribing Members was twenty-five, plus six Candidates for Freemasonry. Please note that two very eminent Brethren were elected as Honorary Members in 1911. Also, Brethren who were Founder Members survived until the late 1950s and the last one was called Home in 1963.
Lodge meetings were originally held in a rented Hall situated near the harbour in Greystones. The property was under the control of the trustees of the local Orange Order, an organisation styled after the model of Freemasonry, but with no actual links to us.
Unfortunately, the Hall was burnt down during the political unrests of the early 1920s. Although the rooms were re-build, the building was then sold off.
The current location and more Lodges
The members of Emerald Lodge No. 49 decided that it was the right time to have their own premises.
Subsequently, a site was acquired from the La Touche estate and the present Hall was built at Hillside Road in 1924. Between the arson attack of the 1920s and the finishing of the new Hall building in 1925, we were welcomed by Dalkey Lodge 261.
In 1926 an offspring Lodge was formed, Heber Masonic Lodge 600. Many Brethren affiliated to this new Lodge and retired from Lodge 49.
By 1948 the membership of Emerald Lodge had 85 members. Again this required the formation of a new Lodge, as recently joined members would have had to wait for 20 to 25 years before being elected into Office. The third Lodge in Greystones was constituted in 1949 as Triumph Lodge 738.
A Bray Lodge moves to Greystones
In 1987 we were able to offer Bray Lodge 222, Prince of Wales, our hall for their meetings, as they had to vacate their previous rooms in Bray.
The other Bray Lodge, Alexandra Lodge XI, moved to the Masonic Hall in Dalkey, which was our host in the 1920s as well.
Over the years the membership in the Greystones Lodges was between 20 to 40 members, except for Emerald Lodge No. 49 who had up until the 1990s more than 70 members.
The building has been well maintained and has proved an excellent Masonic centre. A planned and approved extension sadly elapsed.
During summer 2009 the Lodge was refurbished by the Brethren to its present condition. This was required as our Masonic Centre was the target of an arson attack.
One of the most noteworthy of the founder members of Emerald Lodge No. 49 was Very Worshipful Brother Henry J. Sumner, who had forty-eight years unbroken attendance at Lodge meetings. He took it to such an extent, that he insisted that required operations were done during the summer recess so that he could recuperate during August and be back at the meeting after the summer break in September. And he did it not only once, but twice!
He became Provincial Grand Secretary and even Secretary of the Grand Lodge of instruction. He was possibly one of the most “accurate ritualists” of Irish Freemasonry.
He truly lived for Freemasonry and was finally called to the Grand Lodge above whilst attending a meeting of the Grand Lodge of Ireland at which he collapsed and died.
The first recorded entry in our oldest Register of Members book that is still in our possession was made on 27th September 1911.
There are 14 entries on each page of the said book and the 85th entry is one William Hilliard,
occupation Tailor. He joined in 1920 and it took him 6 years to gain his Master Mason's Certificate, and a further 10 years to become an officer, Junior Deacon in 1936 and Inner Guard in 1937.
He emigrated in 1938, first to Manchester and then on to Coventry in England where he died - in good Masonic standing - during the bombing raids of 1941.
Brother William Hilliard's Masonic apron and Certificates are in the possession of our valued Secretary, as this late Brother William Hilliard was his grandfather.
Emerald Lodge No. 49, Greystones is one of 9 Lodges in the Masonic Province of Wicklow and Wexford.