Freemasons’ Hall in Dublin houses the Grand Lodge of Ireland, the second most senior grand lodge in the world, and the oldest in continuous existence, built between 1866 and 1869. Inside, it’s filled with many meeting rooms boasting fantastic architectural features and styles, making a walk through the building feel like a trip around the globe.
The rooms are all stuffed with hidden details that hint at the mysterious group the building serves.
The Grand Chapter Room is Egyptian-style and even contains two sphinx. The Knight Templar Preceptory room takes the style of a Templar Chapel with stained glass windows. The Prince Masons’ Room has a gorgeous Gothic Tudor-style look with a design inspired partially by St. Patrick’s Cathedral, particularly the Choir Stalls of the Knights of The Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick.
During the Irish Civil War, the building was seized by the “irregulars” (anti-treaty IRA) for six weeks but thankfully remained unscathed. Colonel Claude Cane, the Deputy Grand Secretary, commented at the time that no damage had been caused and paid tribute to the Provisional Government for their negotiations for the return of the building.
Freemasonry is no longer referred to as a “secret society” but rather a society with secrets. If you book a tour of the lodge, a guide will be happy to answer all questions … except when he can’t! If you’re lucky enough, you may be shown something in the Grand Chapter Room that won’t be apparent at first sight.
Know Before You Go
Freemason's Hall is across from Buswells Hotel and near the main entrance to Dail Eireann, the Irish Parliament. The museum is open to the public and tours of the building are held at 2.30 p.m. each weekday during June, July, and August. The cost per head is €2 and no booking is necessary, just turn up. Outside of those months private and group tours can be arranged by contacting staff at the Hall.