From the foundation of the Orange Institution in 1795 to the early part of the twentieth century Dublin City and County was an important Protestant and Orange centre in Ireland. Dublin was the political capital of Ireland until the Act of Union in 1801, which closed the Irish Parliament and united it with Westminster. However Dublin remained the administrative capital of Ireland until partition in 1921.
The first Grand Lodge of Ireland meeting was held in Dublin. The first Minute Book of the Grand Lodge reads as follows:- “That it is advisable that this first meeting of the Grand Lodge of Ireland should be on Monday the 9th Day of April at the House of Thomas Verner of Dawson Street Esq. Grand Master of the Counties of Londonderry, Tyrone and Fermanagh.” The Dawson Street home was the town house of James Verner M.P. (A Member of the Irish Parliament), and father of Thomas Verner J.P. A Plaque in the footpath, erected by Dublin Corporation, now marks the place where the Verner house once stood. Dublin was therefore, as the administrative Capital of the Island, the natural headquarters for the Orange Institution and remained such until the Headquarters Buildings, the Fowler Memorial Hall in Rutland Square, was severely damaged in the Civil War. The Headquarters, situated in what is now Parnell Square, at the top of O’Connell Street, had been seized by the IRA, and in conjunction with the Rotunda, used as their headquarters.
Following its evacuation by the IRA all the books and documents which had survived the siege were removed to Belfast where they were safely stored. The last public parade in Dublin was in 1936, when the Brethren were attacked as they walked from the Fowler Hall to Amiens St Station to travel by train to Belfast, for the annual 12th of July celebrations. From the beginning of the Institution Dublin was an important centre. Prior to becoming the first Grand Master, Thomas Verner (1774-1853), founded the first Orange Lodge in the City of Dublin (LOL 176) on 4th June 1797. Early meetings of the Lodge were held in Harrington’s Hotel in Grafton Street. The membership of LOL 176, which totalled over three hundred, included some of the most distinguished men in Ireland at that time. Throughout the nineteenth century Dublin City and Dublin County hosted a large number of Lodges. These Lodges were to be found in areas such a Rathmines, South Circular Road, North Strand and Kingstown, (now Dn Laoghaire). After the First World War the Orange Order in Dublin started its decline. This was mainly due to losses in the Great War, emigration and the political system which existed at that time. Pride of place in the Orange Hall in Dublin is a roll of Honour of all the Dublin Lodges which existed then and a list of names of all who served and who were lost in that Great War. The decline continued and the last remaining Lodge serving all Orange brethren in Dublin is King William III Prince of Orange LOL 1313 (founded in 1949) in the District of Dublin and Wicklow.
In recent years the lodge has been stabilised and new younger members are coming forward for membership. LOL 1313 is now an active and vibrant lodge well adapted for the changing society here in Dublin as we progress into the twenty-first century. The Lodge has members not only drawn from Dublin but from Wicklow, Cork and Limerick as well as affiliate members from Northern Ireland who wish to support the Orange cause in Dublin and Southern Ireland. Due to the ever improving rail and road network in the State membership of the Institution is no longer restricted to people who happen to live near an Orange Hall.
With modern technology, communication between the lodge and its members has never been better. King William LOL 1313 is always looking for new members. Members who are active in their respective Churches, communities and who are proud of their Protestant religion, culture and heritage. If you think you have something to offer we would be glad to hear from you.