Another Great Knighting Ceremony

Another Great Knighting Ceremony

"Wonderful memories to last a lifetime". "Loved every minute of it". "We've done and seen so much, but I'll be counting the days til I come back for even more".

That's just a sample of the enthusiastic comments from the brethren (and wives) who travelled to the Emerald Isle for the latest Knighting Ceremony.

Once again, the ceremony was in two parts, in two very different churches. We do not broadcast the solemn vow-taking and knighting itself, since this is a very special and private affair, but the picture above gives a glimpse of several of our newest full Sir Knights hearing about the history of the War Memorial that has pride of place on the south wall of our own St. Mary Magdalene Chapel.

As for touring and sight-seeing, this group of visitors benefitted from the experience our planning team gained from the much-enjoyed June Knighting trip. With some careful rearranging of schedules, we have now added in a visit to a most remarkable memorial park to the Celtic Saints, which includes a very informative and deeply moving display on the tragedy of the Irish Famine. 

We were especially privileged to be able to meet the incredibly skilled creator of the stunning wooden sculptures, an engaging but very humble Latvian man, who very kindly gave every guest a little piece of Baltic amber as a memento of our meeting. What a special place this island is!

Also new on the agenda this time was our visit to one of Ireland's most beautifully sited ancient castles. Dundrum Castle was built by one of the most powerful Anglo-Norman barons, John de Courcy. Having built the fortress without the permission of King Richard, local tradition has it that de Courcy gave it to the Templars in order to try to placate the furious monarch.

Since Richard was a great friend to our Order, and given that de Courcy - for all his ambition - was a very devout man who endowed various religious orders, this is very likely to be true. The gesture, however, failed to heal the rift with King Richard. De Courcy was forced into exile and, after a failed attempt to recapture his own castle in the time of King John, he was stripped of his remaining possessions and went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Brethren due to attend the October ceremony will be pleased to hear that these new additions to the itinerary are on top of the visits to the Ulster-American Folk Park, the traditional Irish pub and other firm favourites. This really is a very special trip, a unique combination of initiation, pilgrimage, sight-seeing trip and comradeship.

Once again, we thank not only the organisers and helpers, but also the attendees, whose friendship and good humoured co-operation with the busy schedule are all much appreciated. We look forward to doing it all again next month!