Knighting Ceremonies - Past and Future

Knighting Ceremonies - Past and Future

Another wonderful Knighting Ceremony visit! Indeed, the third and final such event of 2023 was perhaps the best yet. It took place near the end of October, with a maximum attendance testing the organisational experience our team gained on the two earlier in the year. We’re pleased to report that all involved passed the test with flying colours!

The tour and events within it followed closely the itinerary and schedule of the first two ceremonies. Once again, the main Thursday pick up in Dublin was followed by the journey north for an early night for those suffering a bit of jetlag.

The Friday saw us heading west across the province of Ulster through some typically wet Irish weather. Fortunately, yet again, the rain held off as we did the tour of the Ulster-America Folk Park. By popular request, we stopped to watch a full presentation by the blacksmith, giving all concerned the chance to hear a broad Ulster country accent as well as learn more about life for so many future Americans before they left the ‘Old Country’.

After the usual huge country restaurant lunch, we moved on to the private traditionalist chapel we use for the first part of the Knighting Ceremony. The instruction in the Rules and Precepts of the Order were accompanied by some stirring hymn-singing and concluded with a powerful and deeply moving Latin song by Acting Prior Brother Peter.

The long drive homeward was rewarded by a fantastic evening of traditional Irish music and singing, with everyone joining as the Guinness, whiskey and other beverages added to the relaxed fun. This evening has consistently been judged the high point of the whole journey, with the exception of course of the Knighting Ceremony itself.

That, once again, took place on Saturday afternoon, following our now customary visit to St .Patrick’s grave, the original St. Donard’s Priory and the Templar-linked castle on the spectacular east Ulster coast.

Two full compliments of brethren, including our first Dame of the Year, went through the ceremony in the atmospheric St. Mary Magdalen Chapel. The brethren then learned about our man Eli and were congratulated and toasted on their achievement.

After this very emotional and powerful highlight, we adjourned to a new venue for the Made-Men’s Banquet. The meal served here was of stunning high quality and we certainly plan to go back.

Sunday saw an extra treat. With the entire party ready for a slightly early start from the hotel, we had time to celebrate the lovely sunny morning with a quick drive up Scrabo Hill near the town of Newtownards. Some stayed with the minibus to enjoy the view from the car park, but those who undertook the brisk hike to the summit were rewarded with spectacular views over the Irish Sea to Scotland and England.

From there it was on to the country Covenanting chapel and a full Sunday service, complete with another fine sermon by Pastor Jim (available as are all his others, on the Templar Report channel on

Travelling on to the ruins of Nendum, we were again blessed with fabulous weather, as well as by Brothers Peter and Zoltan singing the Apostles’ Creed in Latin in the middle of this historic and spectacular site. How many hundreds of years since such a thing happened here?

The autumn day was coming to its close as the party were shown around the main Priory house. They heard with interest and enthusiasm the plan to turn it into a hybrid between a bijou private members’ hotel, a training centre and emergency accommodation for whatever crises for Christians and patriots may emerge in the increasingly troubled future.

A discussion about future plans and events was rounded off with the now customary and always much appreciated toast in a very special poteen, as the Irish equivalent of moonshine is known. Then it was time to hit the road and head south, with the journey enlivened by our briefly leaving one of our number behind in a remote country fuel station. “You are your brother’s keeper”, indeed!

Once again, the relaxing evening in a very friendly Irish hotel meant that we didn’t need too early a start to get everyone back to Dublin Airport in good time for the first mid-morning flights out.

Once again, several of our most adventurous guests had booked a long stay on the island of Ireland. To get even better value for their long flights they delayed their final journey home.

A few did this on each of this year’s Ceremony trips, with some hiring cars and others basing themselves in Dublin and using public transport or commercial tour excursions. Visits to the amazing 5,000-year-old Neolithic tomb complex at Newgrange, the majestic Shannon river, whiskey distilleries and the vibrant heart of Dublin are just a few of the extra sights seen and enjoyed by these intrepid travellers. Highly recommended to consider if you’re planning to join us nest year.

The dates for that, by the way, are already set. The Spring Knighting Ceremony conclave will be held from Wednesday 24th April through to Monday 29th April, 2023. The extra day has been added by popular demand and will be used to give our guests plenty of time to rechange their batteries on the day after arrival, ready for our packed and inspirational schedule for the rest of the visit.

The extra day will give those who need it a really long lie-in, while those who feel a bit more energetic can explore our lovely little seaside town base at your own leisure in the morning. We will pick everyone up after lunch for a relaxing and informative private visit to an award-winning and very famous whiskey distillery (which also makes gin, which may suit some of the ladies better!)

As far as we can tell at present, everything else will stay the same. After all, having perfected this wonderful visit over three very successful trips this year, why would we change anything for 2023? We hope to welcome you for your own version of this wonderful experience!