Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Making Orange culture a Public History

There are two types of historian, the analytical historian who’s narrative is kept within professional circle; and the lecture room. Then there is public history, which works towards making history accessible to everyone and through every from of media. The challenge that’s facing not just the Orange Order, but the whole orange family i.e. Apprentice Boys of Londonderry, Ulster Scots. Is to make their history, relative, engaging, public, and most important; part of Irish Identity through the tourism industry. This will be no easy task making orange history a public one. With 7.5 million visitors through Dublin this year alone, there is not one tour office or coach-tour provider in the City, that has the Battle of the Boyne heritage site nor Ulster American Folk park on their daily itinerary. This is one reason why www.DublinLoyalTours.ie was established, to challenge, engage and above all make orange and British heritage on the Island of Ireland a public history; through our Dublin historical walking tours and our website. Many of our politicians have taken a lead in debating the issues around Irish identity. At the MacGill Summer School (2010) the former P.D leader and Minster for justice, Mr Michael MacDowell, said.“That if we were genuine republicans and if the orange panel in the flag meant anything, then we had to consider building an inclusive society (…) the civil and political liberties which were at the forefront of their mind at that time are values that we hold” Is it desirable then, for the members of the Orange Order in the Republic to hold a 12th of July parade in their capital City? If so, what orange heritage is there in the Dublin?

The philanthropist Dr Barnardo was a prominent Dublin Orangeman. The old halls are still there, Upp Rathmines Rd, York Road, Golden Ball Co. Dublin, Graystones, Bray, Ballsbridge and Fairview Strand. I could fill this column with locations. The social history behind these buildings is not a forgotten one, but a silent one tied up in families and parish communities. The last ladies lodge to meet in the City, suspended its meeting in 1978, many of the women lived in East Wall area and worked for B&I ferries. 1912 there was just under 2000 orange members in Dublin city and county, Grand Lodge was situated in Fowler Hall (10 Pernell Sq.)

By 1983 all remaining lodges were amalgamated into (Dublin & Wicklow lol 1313) 2013 will see the re-issuing of Trinity College’s old warrant (Trinity lol 1592) which closed in 1965, its members used a pub in Pearse Street to hold their meeting in. However the most important orange legacy is to be found outside the Orange Institution. The Oireachtas law reform commission report 2007 highlighted the importance of the 1688 Bill of rights, “as the corner-stone of our legal system“. Our Georgian architecture and old parliament buildings are a direct result of a stable constitution that came with William III; imperfect as it was, many of its democratic principle we use today.

In 2011 the state played host to Africa Day, Gay Pride Festival along with the festival of Would Cultures, All of these events where supported by a healthy commercial mix of private enterprise, and public bodies. A twelfth parade in the Capital City should not be a sweetener or the means to the end, of some political end game. It should be a tourist driven event, organised by orange men and women whom the Irish Republic is their home. If its to be a success, then they will have to bring the business community on board, by attracting sponsorship, in addition to receiving support from state bodies. Only then would an Orange parade be attainable for the capital City of the Irish Republic.

This article was crafted by historian and Dublin Loyal Tour guide Chris Thackaberry and was published in the Dublin Informer newspaper Outside the Glow: Protestants and Irishness in Independent Ireland " category="books">Time Line of history For informative tourist information on Orange, British heritage on the Island of Ireland visit our website www.dublinloyaltours.ie