Cross-community invite for tour of Orange hall

Carleton St Orange hall tour guides (from left) Cardwell McClure, project organiser, Billy McClean, and Bill Partridge
Carleton St Orange hall tour guides (from left) Cardwell McClure, project organiser, Billy McClean, and Bill Partridge

The nationalist community has been invited to take a comprehensive tour of the largest Orange hall in Portadown.

Tour guide Cardwell McClure made the invitation as part of the Orange Order’s inaugural heritage week, which is running until Thursday.

Carleton St Orange Hall tour guide, Bill Partridge, prepares to conduct tours of the hall during Orange Heritage Week. INPT38-216.

Carleton St Orange Hall tour guide, Bill Partridge, prepares to conduct tours of the hall during Orange Heritage Week. INPT38-216.

The programme aims to celebrate and inform audiences about the origins and traditions of the Loyal Order, its membership, and its influence on wider society.

“Visitors will be very welcome, we don’t mind what side of the house, we are holding out the hand of friendship,” Mr McClure said.

“We want nationalist people to see inside our hall and our artefacts and have a cup of tea and a scone.”

Anyone interested in taking the two-hour tour should arrive at Carleton Street Orange hall at 12.45pm tomorrow or 10.45am on Thursday. It is the third largest Orange hall in Ireland.

The first hall opened on the site in 1875, the current distinctive facade was added in 1882 and the final extension was made in 1908.

“Many lodges around the town were meeting in pubs, inns, hotels and people’ homes, so it was decided to build a hall here instead,” said Mr McClure.

He added: “We had a mixed group recently from Co Monaghan who took the tour and said they would be recommending it to others. Many of them had their photographs taken while they sat in the Worshipful Master’s chair.”

Tomorrow there will be a Battle of the Diamond presentation at Clifton St Orange hall, Belfast at 7pm. On Thursday there will be a Museum of Orange Heritage open day in Belfast, 10am-5pm; Clifton St Orange hall, Belfast guided tour, 10am–noon; Museum of Orange Heritage archives evening, 6.30pm–9pm; Open evening at Cuil Rathain Historical & Cultural Centre, Coleraine at 8pm and Moygashel Orange hall open evening, 7-9.30pm. See ‘Orange Heritage Week’ on Facebook.