En:George Dunlop, Grand Master of Ireland

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Most Wor Bro George Dunlop, Grand Master of Ireland

Source: Irish Freemasonry http://www.irishfreemasonry.com/index.php?p=1_134


It is with great pleasure that having given you all the opportunity to listen to the public face of our Most Wor Grand Master, We now present a more informal conversation that he recently granted to Right Wor Brother Robert Bashford. In this piece, our Most Wor Grand Master discusses a number of aspects of his experiences of Freemasonry in his earlier days in the Order. We hope that you will all enjoy the comments, and indeed take this opportunity to consider how you, yourself would respond to similar questions.

We are most grateful to our Most Wor Grand Master for finding time in his busy schedule to speak with us, and share some of his thinking on the pleasure and companionship that his active membership has brought him over the last fifty years.

To set the scene for some of you, we will now give you some background history on our Most Wor Grand Master. Our souce for this extensive background is the recently published work “The Grand Master’s of The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland ( 1725-2011 ). This excellent work is one of a number of recent publications from The Irish Lodge of Research No CC, on the run-up to their forthcoming centenary celebrations in 2014.

Moville Hall

M.W. Bro George Dunlop

Installed Grand Master 2006

M.W. Bro George Dunlop was one of twin boys born in Londonderry, Northern Ireland on 20th July, 1937. He attended Clooney Public Elementary School and progressed to Foyle College in 1949 for his secondary education. He secured employment in the City Accountant’s Office of the Londonderry Corporation and studied accountancy for five years. He later joined the clothing & textile industry, where he held a number of senior management positions in Ireland and Scotland before becoming Regional Executive of the Clothing Industry Training Board in Northern Ireland.

As a mature student, he attended the University of Ulster, where he gained a post-graduate Diploma in Management Studies and studied for an MBA in later years. In the early 1970’s he was appointed Technical Manager of the Garment & Textiles Technology Association at the University following which he formed his own company.

His Masonic career started in 1968 when he received an invitation, by post, to attend a communication of St Columb’s Masonic Lodge No 297, meeting in Moville, Co Donegal. This came as a complete surprise as he had no prior knowledge, nor had he intimated any desire to join. He received the Entered Apprentice Degree that evening and was eventually raised to the Master Mason’s Degree twelve months later. By the time he succeeded to the Master’s Chair in 1977, he was skilled in conferring all the Craft degrees.

In 1978 he became Lodge Secretary, which was followed in 1984 by his appointment as Provincial Grand Secretary of the Province of Londonderry & Donegal. This was followed by his promotion to Provincial Deputy Grand Master in 1991 and subsequently to Provincial Grand Master in February 1998. Following the sad death of his wife in November 1998, he retired from work and was most grateful for his association with Freemasonry as it filled the empty space left by his painful loss. His elevation to Deputy Grand Master followed in 2001.

He was nominated and elected Grand Master in 2006 with his Installation Ceremony taking place on the 23rd November, 2006. The day of the Installation for the Grand Master commenced at 11 o’clock am with a full rehearsal of the ceremony being conducted by the Grand Director of Ceremonies, R.W. Bro Dyer, who along with his assistant, put the Brethren through their paces to ensure the smooth running of the intricate ritual that was to be performed later that day.

At two-thirty o’clock pm precisely, the Grand Secretary read the Convening Notice, announcing that an Especial Communication of the Grand Lodge would be held at Freemasons’ Hall, Dublin on Thursday the 23rd day of November 2006, to install R.W. Brother George Dunlop as M. W. Grand Master, and announced that R.W. Bro Dunlop was without Grand Lodge, awaiting the Grand Master’s pleasure. The Grand Master directed the Grand Director of Ceremonies to form a procession and retire in order to introduce the Grand Master Elect. The procession consisted of the Grand Director of Ceremonies, the Grand Deacons, the Grand Master’s Standard Bearer, the Senior Grand Chaplin bearing the Volume of the Sacred Law, the Grand Secretary bearing the Laws & Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, the Grand Sword Bearer, the Grand Master’s sponsors, R.W. Bro Robert G Quigley, Provincial Grand Master of Londonderry & Donegal and R.W. Bro Michael W Walker, Past Grand Secretary and the Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. W Bro Noel McLaughlin, son-in-law of the Grand Master Elect acted as Chain Bearer.

On the re-entry of the procession, the Grand Master Elect was perambulated three times before being presented to the Grand Master, Eric N Waller. He was then placed in the proper position and the obligation was administered by the Grand Master in a most dignified manner. R.W. Bro Dunlop was conducted to the dais, where the Grand Master proceeded to invest and install him on the Throne, where he was subsequently saluted and acclaimed by the Brethren as M.W. Grand Master.

The Grand Master then invested and installed as his Deputy Grand Master, R.W. Bro Douglas T. Grey and as his Assistant Grand Master, R.W. Bro Leslie V Johnston. Sadly Rt Wor Bro Leslie V. Johnston, our Rt Wor Assistant Grand Master was called to The Grand Lodge above on the 25th August 2011. RT Wor Bro Rodney L. McCurley took over this role in 2012.

The Grand Master’s Installation was attended by some 13 foreign delegations, headed by the Marquess of Northampton, Pro Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England and Sir Archibald Orr-Ewing, Grand Master Mason of the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

Later that evening the Grand Master attended a Gala Banquet where he stated in reply to the toast to ‘The M.W. Grand Master’ that:-

“I am deeply honoured and genuinely humbled that you have unanimously elected me to be Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons of Ireland and I thank you sincerely for conferring such a unique distinction.”

This remark sums up the great pride and humility of the Grand Master in achieving the most elevated position in Irish Freemasonry.

The highlight of the Grand Master’s tenure to date has been the remarkable success of his Grand Master’s Festival of Charity, which commenced in 2008 and at its conclusion in 2009, the Freemasons of Ireland had raised some €660,000. (The proceeds of the Festival were divided equally between three non-masonic charities, namely the Samaritans, the Laura Lyn Children’s Hospice Foundation and Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.) This amount was all the more remarkable bearing in mind the current economic woes. The Grand Master was subsequently nominated as ‘Fundraiser of the Year’ in 2009 in the National Fundraising Awards, something I know he was proud of in that it highlighted in a very positive and public manner the commitment of Irish Freemasonry to non-Masonic charities.

The Grand Master’s festival and his subsequent nomination as ‘Fundraiser of the Year’ were a vindication of the statement made by the Grand Master during his first Grand Master’s Address at the St John’s Day Communication of Grand Lodge on the 27th December 2006 when he stated;-

“The most important image is the one we personally portray in public. We must be proud to be Freemasons and should never deny our membership. As Freemasons, we must not only convince ourselves that we are a force for good but we must be seen to be so. This can be successfully achieved without compromising the Order’s historic principles and integrity or jeopardising its ancient mysteries.”

In the style of his predecessor, M.W. Bro Eric Waller, he is very proactive in his responsible office and greatly values the close contact he enjoys with the Brethren.

Brethren, I hope you will all take on board the thoughts of our Most Wor Grand Master, and that you will all take pride in your membership of our great Order. We are all a part of one of the oldest and most respected organisations in the World, with members worldwide, and it is up to us all, to be Ambassadors of this excellent organisation. The easiest way to serve our Order is to strive and live our daily life as public representitives of Freemasonry and let other see our tenets, as we live them on a day to day basis.


Brethren, we are delighted to bring you exclusively, a copy of the recording made when our Most Wor Grand Master, George Dunlop, was interviewed recently on BBC Radio Foyle by Sarah Brett.

Our Most Wor Grand Master takes the opportunity of this radio interview to present an overview on Irish Freemasonry, setting us in our historical and social context and presents the Order in a sympathetic, supportive and positive light.

We are indebted to our Most Wor Grand Master for providing this material in order to give you all the opportunity to enjoy at your convenience!

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