BALLYCARRY man Dr David Hume, the Orange Order Director of Services, was among those present when the Queen visited the Islandbridge War Memorial last Wednesday.
He was one of 15 Orangemen invited to the event by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin, including the Order’s Grand Master Edward Stevenson and senior officers of the Institution. Also present was the Worshipful Master of the Dublin and Wicklow Orange lodge and senior officers of the Royal Black Institution.
For the local Orange official, who is a member of Magheramorne LOL 291, it was an early start at 5am for the journey south that day, but one well worth making.
“The events at Islandbridge, where the Queen and Irish President laid wreaths in honour of those who died in the First World War, were deeply historic and significant, and it was a great privilege to be there,” he said.
“While the Orange Institution lost many of its members, particularly in the 36th Ulster Division, we are always mindful of those from the southern part of Ireland at that time whose sacrifice was forgotten to all but their closest family because society stigmatized them afterwards.
“It is often said that history is written by the winners, and in this case these men were written out of history, something which in most recent years is thankfully being commendably addressed in the Republic of Ireland by President McAleese and many others,
“On a personal note, it was pleasing to be able to examine the roll of honour at Islandbridge and find the name of a relative, Private Thomas Craig of Ballyboley, born in Larne and killed at Ypres serving in the Scots Guards. There are so many individuals such as him whose sacrifice should be remembered. It was interesting to think that at the time he enlisted and served, Dublin was a British city,
“The memorial at Islandbridge is most impressive and has beautiful gardens and is very peaceful, away from the bustle of the city, I would recommend it to anyone who is visiting Dublin, particularly if they have a connection with or interest in the First World War,
“The presence of the Queen at the ceremony at Islandbridge was deeply symbolic and extremely significant, as was the entire visit to the Republic of Ireland. The visit has opened a door for more mature consideration of the events of the 20th century, an issue which the Orange Order has raised in the past with government officials in Dublin,
“As an organisation, we were pleased that senior members in the Republic and the Worshipful Master of the Dublin and Wicklow lodge were invited to be present at Islandbridge, and the reception which everyone received was a very warm and welcoming one.”
“On our way back from Islandbridge all traffic was halted and the road closed as the Queen was due to be taken to Croke Park. We were able to go along to the barrier and wait to see the cavalcade drive past and she waved out, which everyone was delighted about,
“The Dubliners who were gathered were surprised to see so many wearing poppies and got talking to us, being very welcoming when they found out who we were and where we had come from. The impression we got from talking to them was that they were delighted that the Queen was in Dublin, and looked forward to further Royal visits to the city,” said Dr Hume.