Donaghadee Orange & Protestant Hall
Donaghadee Orange and Protestant Hall which had been built in 1912 was destroyed by fire in September 2006 and the work began to build a new Orange Hall in Moat Street, Donaghadee.
First of all investigations had to be carried out to discover the cause of the blaze and these revealed the fire had been started deliberately although no one was ever charged for the crime. So the work began to replace the Hall and ensure that LOL 781 would maintain their presence on Moat Street. The first year after the fire saw very little physical progress on the actual site although the Lodge were working tirelessly behind the scenes with insurance companies etc. The physical work began in November 2007 when the demolition work began, during which a time capsule was discovered which contained a copy of the local paper dated 13th July 1912 which featured an article about the opening of the hall and also a hand written minute (click here to view) from LOL 781. Then there were further delays while an archeological study was carried out and a report submitted to the planning authorities. A new set of plans had to be drawn up for the new hall and although smaller than the original this new hall better reflected the needs of the Lodge and the community, when the original hall was built it was one of a very few halls in Donaghadee and was used widely by church groups and the local community and was in fact probably Donaghadee's first community centre. Now though most churches in the town have there own halls the new community centre was opened in 2009, so there was no longer the need or the demand for a big hall in Donaghadee. The Lodge therefore decided to, in consultation with the Architect, design a hall better suited to reflect the modern needs of the Lodge and the wider community which meant the hall would be lot more environmentally friendly, with the latest insulation and low energy light fittings etc. ensuring the best possible carbon footprint. Also it meant the Lodge had acquired their own outside space in the form of a car park beside the hall which they felt could be put to good use during the summer months.So in April 2008 work finally began on the new hall with the foundations being dug in April, and the old name stone of the original hall placed above the main entrance of the new one in late May.
Most of the brick work was completed by June after which the roof timbers were fitted. The roof tiles were fitted in late June together with the PVC double glazed windows and the building was watertight August and September saw all the internal work and plastering completed.
Blue Banner Total Abstinence LOL 781 officially opened and dedicated their new Orange Hall and banner on Saturday 11th October 2008.
The parade began in the Marina Car Park where LOL 781 were joined by Lodges from within their own Upper Ards District LOL 11, together with Lodges and Brethren from Ards, Bangor and Holywood Districts. There were also Brethren from other parts of Northern Ireland including a substantial number who had made the trip from Newry. Brethren from the Rising Sons of David LOL 35 New Stevenston, Scotland with whom LOL 781 share a special and close friendship had also made the trip over to be with us on what was a historical day in our history. Three bands also took part, The Pride of Donaghadee Flute Band, Donaghadee led the parade, the Harbour Star Accordion Band led the Brethren of Upper Ards District LOL 11 from outside the town and the Pride of Whitehill Flute Band led the rest of the visiting Brethren.
The parade left the car park with LOL 781 carrying their new banner which was kept furled until the parade made its way through Donaghadee to the new Donaghadee Orange and Protestant Hall in Moat Street.
There the Worshipful Master Bro. Norman Leathem welcomed all the Brethren, Sisters, Bandsmen, Honoured Guests and supporters before the banner was dedicated by Bro. Alastair Smyth the Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and unfurled by Bro. Drew Nelson Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland who was assisted by Mrs. Laura Gorman who had been a great help to the Lodge over the last two difficult years. Bro Nelson then gave an address where he stressed the importance of Orange Halls within communities and hi lighted the difficulties Lodges faced with Orange Halls being attacked more and more.
He wished LOL 781 all the best for the future with their new hall and Bro Smyth then dedicated the new Orange Hall. A vote of thanks was proposed and seconded by Bro. Harold Weir and Bro. Robert McVeigh to thank Bro. Nelson and Bro. Rev. Smyth for their help in the proceedings as well as all those people who had supported the Lodge by there presence at the opening or by their help and support over the last two years.
The Brethren formed up again and paraded round the town to let the people see the new banner unfurled before returning to the Orange Hall. Bro Nelson then officially opened the new Donaghadee Orange & Protestant Hall, after which the Rev. Gordon of 1st Presbyterian Church, Donaghadee gave thanks for the food which had been provided in the new Hall, by the friends and relatives of LOL 781.
The women provided an excellent lunch which was enjoyed very much by all those present and everyone had a chance to look round the new Hall.
The Lodge also had a celebratory meal later that evening and were joined by their visiting friends, Brothers and Sisters from Scotland.
A memorable day was had not only by LOL 781 but by all those present and it was a day which saw the start of a new chapter in the Lodges history and LOL 781 look forward to that new chapter with optimism.
Since opening in 2008 the new hall has been used by a number of groups for a variety of events, it has been used by the local women's guild, Donaghadee Community Partnership, Beechfield Residents Association, Pride of Donaghadee Flute Band plus a number of local residents. There have been children's birthday parties, meetings, marshalling courses and living history events. The hall has full disabled access including a disabled toilet, it has a modern kitchen and gas central heating so it provides a comfortable warm venue built to the latest specifications suitable for a variety of uses. The hall is available to let if you require any further information you can contact us through our contact page or visit the gallery to see photos of the hall inside and out