PLANS by the Orange Order to develop two major interpretive centres have been described as ‘transformational’ by a local man who is closely involved with the proposal.
Ballycarry man Dr David Hume was one of the team which drew up the successful application for £3.6 million funding for the proposals, based at the Order’s headquarters in Belfast and Loughgall, in the property where the first Orange warrants were issued to lodges.
The Peace III funding from the Special EU Programmes Body will result in an unprecedented level of outreach to the wider community, with the aim of explaining about Orange heritage and culture.
Former Larne Times journalist David, now Director of Services for the Orange Order, said the centres would be able to display an outstanding array of artefacts and documents going back to the 1690s.
“The Grand Orange Lodge and the County Armagh Grand Lodge are custodians of some unique and outstanding items of historical interest, including King William’s saddlecloth and riding gloves, Orange artefacts from around the world, and much more,” he said.
“We believe that it will break down barriers, that people will have a much better idea about the Orange Order and a lot of the perceptions they have will be addressed.
Work is expected to start in September, with hopes the centres will open by late 2014.