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Formed in 1870 "Loughries True Blues" used to meet in the Greenwell Street area in a Bro. Graham's house. James George was its first warrant holder.

The Loughries Great War project

Loughries True Blues LOL 1948 were formed in 1869. In 2015 they embarked on a project to celebrate the history of the lodge and remember the brethren of LOL 1948 who served or died in the Great War of 1914-1918.

One aspect of the project was the publication of a book ‘The Great War and Its Legacy, A History of Loughries True Blues LOL 1948’. The book was launched at an event on Tuesday 10th May 2016 in Mary Street Orange Hall.

This book, along with details of the larger project are now available on the Loughries Great War mini-site.

Loughries unfurl new War Bannerette

In April 2016 Loughries True Blues LOL 1948 unfurled a new bannerette at the Somme Museum, Conlig. The bannerette is dedicated to the memory of Lodge members who served, fought and died during the Great War.

The Lodge members and invited guests began the evening with two complimentary tours of the Somme Museum, prior to the unfurling ceremony in the main hall. Wor. Bro. Mark Anderson welcomed everyone to the evening and gave a overview of the World War 1 project that Loughries had undertaken.

This was followed by the unfurling ceremony performed by Wor. Bro. David Cargo Snr. Hon. Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and Wor. Bro. Stephen Rodgers, Lodge Treasurer and the banner painter.

Mrs Carol Walker from the Somme Museum gave a 'twin towers' talk on the Ulster Tower and Helen's Tower.

Loughries start new year

Loughries True Blues LOL 1948 held their annual Installation of Officers on Saturday 3rd January 2015. This year we were delighted to welcome Grand Treasurer Bro. Brian Dorrian to our meeting. Loughries Officers were duly installed by the Newtownards No. 4 District Officers. The Lodge room was filled to capacity (with 7 apologies) for the meeting. Following the meeting the members retired to a local restaurant for the Installation meal.

A special presentation took place - Lodge Lecturer Bro. Brian Dickson received a Lecturer's Jewel in recognition of his hard work and dedication. Over recent years Brian has initiated many new members into our Lodge and has been a great ambassador for Loughries Lodge. Presenting the Jewel is Bro. Andrew McCullough 1st District Lecturer.

Five members of Loughries True Blues received their membership certificates at the meeting from our special guest Grand Treasurer Bro. Brian Dorrian - Bro. Brookes Thompson, Bro. Glenn Rawson, Bro. Johnny McCully, Bro. Johnny Thompson and Bro. Stephen Rodgers.

Four of the five have been initiated into Loughries recently and this special presentation was for their regular attendance and good conduct in our Lodge.

Brookes Thompson Glenn Rawson

Johnny Thompson Jonny McCully

Stephen Rodgers

Brian Dickson

Loughries Unveil New Banner

As we approach the 2012 marching season, one Newtownards lodge will be stepping out with a renewed sense of pride as they fall in line behind a brand new banner. 

Loughries True Blues LOL 1948 are the lodge who have invested heavily in a new banner, which was unfurled by Grand Lodge of Ireland Secretary Drew Nelson recently.

The new banner features a portrait of King William III at the Boyne on one side, while telling a historical story of Ulster on the reverse. The four main images featured on the banner depict the signing of the Ulster Covenant in 1912, members of the 36th (Ulster) Division at the Battle of the Somme, The Ulster Tower, and a view of Donaghadee Harbour depicting the infamous gun-running of 1914. These four images surround the statue of Lord Carson at Stormont, which stands as the centre-piece of the banner.

LOL 1948 were joined by brethren and sisters, both of Newtownards and further afield at the official unveiling and the banner was proudly carried aloft through the streets of the town following the ceremony.

Worshipful Master Bro. William Carroll and members of Loughries True Blues LOL 1948 are pictured in front of 2nd Newtownards Presbyterian Church on the Twelfth morning 2006, having unfurled its banner for the first time in many years. It was a particularly proud and poignant moment for Bro. Carroll who has overseen the Lodge's transformation in recent times. At one point the Lodge contemplated returning its warrant to the District Master, however new members arrived and as a consequence, the Lodge has undergone a comprehensive transformation into a vibrant, respected and assiduous Lodge.

25 Year Jewel Presentation

On the Twelfth morning 2006 Worshipful Master Bro. William Carroll presented a 25 Year Jewel to Bro. Hamilton Gregory, for his faithful & devoted service to the Loyal Orange Institution of Ireland.

Bro. Gregory is a local DUP elected politician, a serving Councillor and past Mayor of the Borough of Ards. Bro Gregory is valued and trusted member of Loughries True Blues LOL 1948.

Stormont Tour

In August 2007 members of Loughries True Blues LOL 1948 travelled to Stormont, Dundonald, for a tour of Parliament buildings, as invited guests of Councillor Simon Hamilton MLA.

The tour of this most magnificent building commenced in the Great Hall at 8pm, where we were welcomed by Simon Hamilton and tour guide Brendan. The evening consisted of an educational tour from the Great Hall, through to both meeting Chambers. The tour lasted approximately one hour and concluded with a finger buffet, tea and coffee in the Members dinning area. Lodge members took the opportunity to take a number of photographs, including a group photo on the famous Great Hall steps.

At the end of the evening Worshipful Master Bro. Billy Graham, on behalf of the Lodge, thanked Councillor Simon Hamilton MLA, for the evening which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. Bro. Graham also thanked our visitors for attending, including members of other Orange Lodges, Mill Street, Ballyrobert and the Bowtown.

by Mark Anderson

David Healy Football Fun Day

In June 2007, Loughries True Blues LOL 1948, in partnership with Boyne LOL 1054 took 45 children, aged between 5 – 15, to the Ulster Scots David Healy Football Fun Day, which was held at Regent House School grounds and Dairy Hall. The group consisted mostly of Lodge member's children with their friends and family.

It was an amazing day with over 2000 children from all over Northern Ireland and the Border Counties of the Irish Republic, gathering to enjoy a football coaching day with then Leeds United and Northern Ireland International footballer David Healy. David was assisted by over 75 local IFA coaches who helped the children enjoy a full range of football skills through out the day. Other aspects of the Ulster Scots Tradition were on display, including music, history, language and dance.

Every group had their photograph taken with David Healy before the football coaching commenced. At the end of the day each child received a signed David Healy football, boot bag, programme and the framed group photo.

Dan Winter's Cottage

In June 2007 Loughries True Blues LOL 1948, embarked on a further cultural trip across the Border into the Irish Republic. This time the Lodge and visitors travelled to Mullaghboy Orange Hall, which is situated 18 miles west of Monaghan Town, across the county border from Monaghan into Cavan.

The bus left Newtownards Orange Hall at 8:15am reaching our destination at 10:45am. On arrival at Mullaghboy Orange Hall, we were greeted by Bro. Charley McAdam, from Sister Irene Adams Memorial LOL 276, Co. Cavan. Charley is well known for his community work through the Border Minority Group, Newbliss, Co. Monaghan. Charley was assisted by his daughter and brother, Bro. John McAdam and his wife, who were visiting from England.

The hall is presently being renovated but was in reasonable condition for our visit. Charley provided tea, coffee and light snack on our arrival. Following the refreshments Charley gave a detailed historical talk, using PowerPoint to illustrate life as a Protestant in the Border Counties of Monaghan and Cavan. Charley also hosted a Question and Answer session where members of our group were able to explore topics such as Flags & Emblems, The Queen & Irish President, Sectarianism, Attacks on Protestant Halls, Community Relations and Football Teams. A display of local history was also on show for our group to explore. Following extensive work and restoration, the hall will officially reopen on Friday 22nd June 2007.

the morning tea-break was at Mullaboy Orange Hall

Pleasantries exchanged and photographs taken, our group boarded the bus at 12:45pm for the second part of our trip, a visit to Dan Winter’s Cottage. We travelled from Mullaghboy to Monaghan Town, then onwards to Armagh, through Loughgall to Dan Winter’s Cottage, arriving at 2:20pm.

On arrival at the cottage the group made their way to the meeting room where Loughries LOL 1948 held its monthly meeting. At the meeting the Lodge was joined by a number of visiting Brethren, Bro. David Boyd, Bro. Ron Redpath, Bro. Harry Cowan, Bro. Terry Cowey, Bro. Leslie McAuley, Bro. Harold McVea, Bro. Walter McKeown, Bro. Jack Greenald and Bro. Bert Carroll, who were all made very welcome by Lodge members. During the meeting Bro. Mark Anderson was presented with a 25 year Jewel, purchased by the Deputy County Grand Treasurer, the presentation was made by the Worshipful Master, Bro. Billy Graham who commented on Bro. Anderson's hard work, commitment and dedication to Loughries Lodge and the Orange Institution.

Bro Mark Anderson (left) receives his 25-year service
jewel from his W.M. Bro Billy Graham

Formalities concluded the group retired to the kitchen area of the cottage where we were entertained by Mrs Hilda Winter, who provided a most wonderful buffet meal. Suitably refreshed the group posed for a few souvenir photographs before the bus was back on the road again. We stopped briefly for light refreshment at Lawson’s before returning to Newtownards for dispersal.

LOL 1948 members and guest pictured outside
Dan Winter's Cottage, Co. Armagh

This trip was another successful venture for Loughries True Blues LOL 1948, once again camaraderie and fellowship was very evident throughout the day. Our thanks go to our hosts, Bro. Charley and John McAdam, Mrs Hilda Winter, all our friends and visiting Brethren, including our driver and tour guide for the day Bro. Ron Redpath and finally to Farset/ Innishowen Border Counties Initiative who sponsored the trip.

by Mark Anderson

Oliver Cromwell Evening

In Loughries meeting room in Newtownards Orange Hall, on Friday 2nd March 2007, the second in our series of historical talks took place. The subject this time around was "The Life and Times of Oliver Cromwell" by Mr Chris Richards. Chris is a member of the Protestant Alliance, and was in Northern Ireland presenting a series of talks and lectures on various subjects, so we were delighted to welcome him to Newtownards.

Using PowerPoint, Chris illustrated in a most professional manner, the rise of Oliver Cromwell, from his humble beginnings to become one of the most revered soldiers and respected political figures in England during the 17th Century.

Members of Loughries were joined by visitors from other local lodges, LOL 1054 and LOL 1908. Following the talk the evening concluded with some fellowship with tea / coffee and a light snack being provided by the Lodge.

Loughries would like to convey our sincerest thanks to Mr. Chris Richards for the lecture and to Mr Jack Greenald who organised the evening.

by Mark Anderson

Cultural Diversity Evening

Friday 30th March saw the Loughries True Blues LOL 1948 host a "Cultural Diversity" evening, this time at the Town Hall, Newtownards. Invited guests speakers included Bro. Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, who spoke about his visit to West Africa where he met Orangemen from Ghana and Togo. Also Bro. Billy Curry from the Rising Sons of William LOL 240 in Newtownards, who spoke on the Asha Kiran School in Bangalore, India. The evening included displays of African and Indian dance and music. Jim Murdoch, Good Relation Officer with Ards Borough Council interviewed Nisha Tandon about her experience of the Indian Community in Northern Ireland.

Also in attendance were the Mayor of Ards, Councillor Angus Carson, Councillor Hamilton Gregory and Pastor Roy Graham.

One of the organisers Bro. Jack Greenald, from Boyne Defenders LOL 1054 in Newtownards, explained why the event had been planned. "The Orange Order is an International Organisation with members in four Continents, which promotes civil and religious liberty for all. The Orange Order has always been open to anyone irrespective of their race or colour.

"In 1994 Emenyo Mawuke K. Aboki Essien, a black French speaking Togolese man, became the President of the Imperial Orange Council of the World, the highest office that anyone can hold in World Orangeism. This event followed on from the week that celebrated the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery from the British Empire, the cause that was championed by the Evangelical Protestant William Wilberforce."

Participants from the evening including Mayor Angus Carson, Drew
Nelson, Grand Lodge Secretary and Billy Currie from LOL 240

This event proved another great success for Loughries True Blues LOL 1948 in that we felt the evening promoted both the charitable and multicultural aspect of the Orange Institution. Loughries would like to thank our friends and colleagues of LOL 1054 and LOL 1908, the Mayor of Ards, Councillor Angus Carson, Bro. Drew Nelson, Bro. Billy Curry, Nisha Tandon with her performers and Ards Borough Council Good Relations Officer Jim Murdoch, who sponsored and helped organise the event.

by Mark Anderson

World War One Weekend

Loughries True Blues held a "World War I" event over the last weekend in January 2007. On the Friday evening members and friends gathering at our meeting room in Newtownards Orange Hall, for a sequence of historical talks. Mr David Orr was the keynote speaker, who covered the entire WWI conflict, in a one hour 20 min Power Point presentation. He was followed by Bangor Trench Line Lectures, who had exhibited a number of artifacts from the Great War and gave a brief presentation on their workings.

Following a short comfort break Mr Brian McClurg entertained the audience with a few well known tunes on his accordion, whistle and fife; this was followed by Mr Jack Greenald who gave a brief talk on local Orangemen who had fought in the Great War. A light supper concluded the evening.

David Orr speaks to the Lodge Trench Line Lectures

On the Saturday morning members and friends of Loughries met at the Somme Heritage Centre at Conlig for the historical lecture and tour. We were met by the curator Neill Downes who gave us a detailed guided tour of the displays and interactive presentations at the centre. The tour lasted around one and a half hours, which was followed by light refreshment.

Loughries at The Somme Centre
Trench display at the Somme Centre Joe Tate views the Wounded Soldier display

This World War I Weekend has proved to be another successful venture for Loughries True Blues, with in excess of 60 people attending both events. Again noticeable was the enjoyment of the members and friends, who had come along and was entertained by music and by a variety of distinguished and excellent speakers. Our sincerest thanks go to Mr David Orr, Trench Line Lectures, Mr Brian McClurg, Mr Jack Greenald, Mr Hamilton Gregory, staff at the Somme Heritage Centre and finally to Ards Borough Council Good Relations Officer, Mr Jim Murdoch who sponsored the event.

Ulster Scots Awareness Weekend 

Over the weekend of 13th and 14th October 2006, Loughries True Blues LOL 1948 organised an Ulster Scots Awareness Weekend in Newtownards Orange Hall.

Friday's event was held in Loughries' recently refurbished Lodge room. Some 40 people were in attendance, most were local folk however some visitors travelled from the peninsula to be there. One guest, the Reverend Andrew Burns had travelled from Dundee in Scotland to be with us. The evening commenced with a talk from Mr Mark Thompson, Chairman of the Ulster Scots Agency, on the 400th Anniversary of the settlement of "The Ards" by Hamilton & Montgomery in 1606. Second up was Mr George Holmes, a local musician. George entertained us with music, chat and song.

Finally the "Twa Wullies" Willie Cromie and Willie McAvoy entertained us with some poetry, storytelling and the odd yarn. It was a fascinating and entertaining evening with the room packed to capacity where everyone enjoyed the Ulster Scots history, music and language. A light supper followed the entertainment which gave each person an opportunity to mingle and enjoy some fellowship together.

Willie Crommie, Mark Thompson (Chairman, Ulster Scots Agency), Willie
McAvoy, George Holmes (Retired CEO, Ulster Scots Agency)

Saturday's event was held in the upstairs function room. Over 100 people attended the evening of music, song and dance. Albert Boal began the evening, followed by Portaferry Accordion Band who gave us some familiar and traditional accordion tunes. They were followed by Conlig Drumming Club, who gave us an exhibition of traditional Lambeg Drumming combined with some fabulous fifing music. Mr Glenn Couples, who is a piper from the World Champion Field Marshall Montgomery pipe band, gave us a fantastic display of the Bagpipes. Albert Boal rounded off the evening with some well known music and song. A light supper was provided by the members of Portaferry Band.

Over the course of the weekend in excess of 140 people attended these two events, which gave us great satisfaction. The aims and objectives of the Lodge were realised with two great evenings of fellowship, camaraderie and enjoyment, while we were entertained by some great artists and performers. We look forward to building on this success in the coming weeks and months ahead.

Our sincerest thanks are to be conveyed to the Ulster Scots Agency, who sponsored the "Awareness Weekend".

By Mark Anderson

Boyne Trip - September 2006

In September 2006, members from Loughries True Blues LOL 1948, together with a small number of members from visiting Lodges, embarked on a pilgrimage to the Boyne Valley to view the Boyne Battlefield. The members met at Newtownards Orange Hall at 8:00am, where soon after they departed on the much anticipated bus tour.

The first stop was Newry Orange Hall for a comfort break, once there we were greeted by a group of ladies who provided us with morning tea / coffee and a light snack.

Morning coffee in Newry Orange Hall for the intrepid band

Suitably refreshed the members continued on their travels from Newry across the border into the Republic of Ireland. We were soon on the outskirts of Drogheda where we were met by Mr John Roach, from the West Ferrand Community Group, who acted as tour guide for the visit. By this time it was raining very heavily, however undeterred we made our way to Drogheda Corporation Town Hall where our group was given a viewing of the sword and mace, which William presented to the town following his victory at the Battle of the Boyne.

the Williamite sword and mace on display in Drogheda

We were given a brief history of both artifacts by a local historian, during which members were able to ask questions and take photographs. Following this members were permitted an hour's leisure time, before our group planned to visit the battlefield site. Some members shopped or visited local cafes while others preferred to check out a small number of local hostelries in order to sample a few local brews.

Again suitably refreshed the tour of the Boyne Battlefield commenced. We drove down King William's Glen on the northern side of the Boyne River close to where the obelisk once stood. By this time the rain continued to fall heavily however it did not dampen our spirits. John Roach gave a detailed commentary of the events leading up to and including the battle itself as the bus crossed the Boyne to the Southern side of the river where we parked and were greeted by Mary O'Rourke, a local tour guide.

historical talk from the local tour guide

Mary took us to the Boyne Battle site where the Irish Government has recently provided historical artifacts such as cannons, cannon balls, muskets, swords, pikes etc. Mary gave a very detailed talk and demonstration on the weaponry and also showed us maps and old paintings from the battle scene.

Following the demonstration and talk we returned to the Northern Bank of the Boyne River, where we made our way to the viewing point overlooking the River and Battlefield. It was here the group adorned their Orange collarettes and posed for some photographs. A member produced a fife and played a couple of tunes, King Billy's March and The Boyne Water. The eerie shrill of the fife was heard echoing through the valley before the rain began to fall heavily again, so we made a hasty retreat back to the bus.

The tour complete we returned to the north side of Drogheda where we said goodbye to our host John Roach presenting him with a few gifts and a monetary donation towards his Community Group.

On arrival back at Newry Hall we were again entertained by the Newry Ladies who provided a fantastic 4-course meal. A few bottles of wine helped to wash down the delicious food.

Lodge members and guest pictured at the river

We returned to Newtownards at around 7pm. During the return bus journey members reflected on what was a special day for everyone. What appeared evident and most striking between members were the fellowship and camaraderie shown and a genuine belief that the Lodge had turned the corner. The lodge had grown in number and stature with strong friendships being forged. All in all it was a successful outing for the lodge and its visitors.

Loughries LOL 1948 would like to convey our thanks to Billy Browne for the transportation, Newry Orange Hall Ladies Committee for the fantastic food, John Roach for his friendship and for acting as guide and finally to Farset for sponsoring the trip.

by Mark Anderson
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