In 2023-24 the Institution are celebrating one hundred and twenty years since its foundation. In a series of events which began in the Spring of 2023 the ILOI will reflect on their origins and the reason for the split with talks, exhibitions and other educational events billed as “Why the I ?”. The aim will be to help our own members and the wider Orange family and PUL community understand the origins and ongoing position of the Independent Orange Institution.

As the movement spread and the spirit of democracy and activism gripped North Antrim we see the focus of events move from Belfast in 1902/3 to North Antrim in 1903/4. Next year Portglenone District, the last of the North Antrim Districts to move over to the New Order, will lead our Commemorative events and celebrations.

The 2024 programme will culminate with the Eye to I Heritage Bus Tour which will retrace these steps from North Antrim back to its origins in Belfast. The tour will visit iconic sites associated with the foundation of the Order and will literally travel back in time step by step until the 1902 Twelfth at Castlereagh when Tom Sloan was invited onto the platform to voice grassroots feelings.

The tour will visit the Titanic quarter where he came to prominence as a lunchtime preacher, then Custom House Square where he became the voice of working class Protestant Belfast before travelling to the Sandy Row the heartland of his 1902 election victory. Long forgotten sites such as the Headquarters of the Institution on Great Victoria Street and the Plains were the ‘Monster meeting’ that formed the ILOI was held.

Travel back in time and learn about the ILOI and its origins on 23 September bus leaving Ballymoney at 8.30 stopping at Ballymena.

Then the culmination of the year will be our Anniversary Dinner on 18 November 7pm in The Lodge Hotel, Coleraine. A musical programme, comedian and compere will entertain and a great dinner is assured at the Lodge. Plan to come along and bring your friends and family as we mark this milestone.

Tickets for both these events are on sale from members and lodges or by emailing us directly. As we mark this amazing milestone let us learn and reflect on the past and celebrate all that we have achieved.