‘Majestic’ Orange hall opens doors

Kilkeel Orange Hall, which was Officially Opened by Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Most Worshipful Grand Master, Bro. Edward Stevenson on Saturday Afternoon.
Kilkeel Orange Hall, which was Officially Opened by Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Most Worshipful Grand Master, Bro. Edward Stevenson on Saturday Afternoon.

A majestic new Orange hall featuring distinctive Corinthian pillars has opened in the Mournes.

The impressive building was officially opened in Kilkeel at the weekend.

Most Worshipful Grand Master, Grand Lodge Orange of Ireland, Bro. Edward Stevenson, unveils a plaque at the Official Opening of Kilkeel Orange Hall, as Bro. David Hanna, Chairman of the Hall Committee looks on.

Most Worshipful Grand Master, Grand Lodge Orange of Ireland, Bro. Edward Stevenson, unveils a plaque at the Official Opening of Kilkeel Orange Hall, as Bro. David Hanna, Chairman of the Hall Committee looks on.

The contemporary facility, on Greencastle Street, opened its doors for the first time following a dedication service and parade on Saturday afternoon.

Set to be among the premier Orange halls in the Province, the two-storey building includes a large function room, lodge and band practice rooms, a kitchen and credit union facilities.

The stunning facade of the hall contains distinctive Corinthian style pillars, which set off the modern structure.

Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland Edward Stevenson formally opened the facility, hailing the new hall as a “tremendous boost” for Orangeism in south Down.

The dedication service was led by the Rev William Bingham.

Mr Stevenson said: “The Mournes area is already renowned for having the largest number of Orangemen in any district within the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.

“It also has the biggest individual lodge. It can now undoubtedly lay claim to having one of the most majestic Orange halls anywhere in the world, with the opening of this fabulous new community facility in Kilkeel.

“This stunning building will provide a wonderful social amenity and meeting place, not only for the Loyal Orders and bands fraternity of Kilkeel but also to a range of other users and groups situated in the Mournes and the surrounding area.

“It is a magnificent architectural addition to the local landscape and I congratulate all those involved in the development process.

“They should be immensely proud of their achievements.”

David Hanna, chairman of the Kilkeel Orange Hall Committee, said the opening of the hall is “a momentous accomplishment for all those associated with this substantial rebuild project”.

“The building has become something of a talking point in recent months as people watched it grow, and the sense of excitement has been palpable,” he added.

“Fitted with the most up-to-date equipment, the new hall is twice the size of its predecessor and can accommodate up to three events running at the same time.

“Already, there have been numerous requests to hire the venue for concerts and major events within the community, and there are plans to host many more functions.

“We are confident the hall will be a wonderful asset for Kilkeel for generations to come.”

The building – which will be used regularly by four lodges, other Loyal Orders, local bands and various community groups – has been three years in the making, following plans to demolish the former hall.

It was a landmark in the town for nearly a century, having been opened by Lady Craig in the 1920s.

Construction work for the new Orange hall started in 
February.

On Saturday, following the dedication service, guests and members of the public enjoyed an exhibition of memorabilia.