Dunmanway's link with orange order
BY TIM RYAN
CLOSE ties between Dunmanway and Northern Ireland will be recalled next week in the Seanad when the Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Drew Nelson, addresses the Upper House.
One of Mr Nelson’s ancestors, John Beamish, was a member of the RIC who left West Cork and moved to the North in 1921.
He later worked as the gamekeeper on the Shaftesbury Estate and lived in the gate lodge of Belfast Castle.
Mr Nelson told The Southern Star that the Beamish family came to West Cork around the time of the Munster Plantation and the name is still very common in the area.
He said he often visited the area, including St Mary's Church of Ireland churchyard in Dunmanway where his relatives are buried close to Sam Maguire in whose honour the All-Ireland senior football trophy is named.
In 1992, Drew Nelson was selected by the South Down constituency of the Ulster Unionist Party to succeed Enoch Powell as parliamentary candidate. However, he lost out to the SDLP’s Eddie McGrady by 6,000 votes.
In 1989, he topped the poll and was elected to Banbridge District Council. In 2004 he left the UUP and in 2005 became Grand Secretary of the Orange Institution.
Founded in 1796 near the village of Loughgall in County Armagh, the Orange Lodge of Ireland name is a tribute to the Dutch-born Protestant King of England, Ireland and Scotland, William of Orange, who defeated the army of Catholic ames II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
Although based in Northern Ireland, the Institution also has a significant presence in Scotland and lodges throughout the Commonwealth and United States.
Mr Nelson was invited to address the Seanad in his role as Grand Secretary of the Lodge. It will take place at 12 noon next Tuesday, July 3rd.
In his remarks he will attempt to address two issues, firstly to seek recognition for the role of the many lodges in the Republic of Ireland, which currently number ten.
While the Order is mainly known in the Republic for its annual parade in Rossnowlagh, there are also strong lodges in counties Cavan, Monaghan and Leitrim, as well as Donegal.
‘I would like to see a day when we can have parades in many parts of the country including Baileboro and Ballyjamesduff, as well as Rossnowlagh,’ he said.
Secondly, Mr Nelson said he would like to build on the goodwill which emanated from the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Ireland.
‘This event was a game change between our communities and I would very much like to build on that,’ he added.