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Co. Armagh Orange lodge opens new hall nine years after arson attack gutted homeplace

The Ballytyrone lodge has been fundraising for a replacement hall since the fire in 2015

The new Ballytyrone Orange Hall opened at the weekend

A Co Armagh Orange lodge has opened a brand-new hall almost nine years after their previous one was destroyed in an arson attack.

Ballytyrone Orange Hall, located just outside Loughgall, was destroyed in the blaze, after it was targeted in a late-night arson attack on July 2, 2015.

The hall was originally built in the late 1800s.

Since then, the Ballytyrone lodge and the wider community in the area have been fundraising to build back bigger and better.

And now – almost nine years on – that dream has become a reality.

The new hall, which is situated on the Creenagh Road, is situated about 50 metres away from where the original hall stood, on a patch of farm land.

It was officially opened on the afternoon of Saturday, June 22, with the occasion marked by a parade and service.

The rural hall is the homeplace of Ballytyrone LOL 104, which is part of Loughgall District LOL No 3, and Ballytyrone Accordion Band, who led the procession at the weekend.

At the outset of the service, an opening ceremony took place, followed by a prayer of dedication from the Rev William Anderson.

William Irwin MLA outside the Ballytyrone Orange Hall

William Irwin MLA outside the old Ballytyrone Orange Hall after it was gutted in 2015

A plaque was then unveiled by DUP MLA William Irwin, the Worshipful Master of the lodge and Leslie McNeil, dedicated to members who had given 50 years of service.

Also attending the re-opening service was DUP Councillor and member of Ballytyrone lodge, Lavelle McIlwrath, who posted on Facebook: “It was a privilege to take part and welcome so many from all over the country.

“The first hymn that was chosen by the lodge today spoke volumes, ‘To God be the Glory’ and dovetailed with the message preached by the Rev Cairin Salt where he related how despite great opposition… Nehemiah rebuilt the walls at Jerusalem.”

Councillor Gareth Wilson added: “What a privilege to be able to attend the official opening today. I am delighted for WM William Irwin MLA and all the hard-working and dedicated brethren associated with Ballytyrone as they have put in a massive effort to get to this point. I wish them every success for the future in this fantastic building!”

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