At the Heart of Communities

Orange Halls

Join Us for a Virtual Visit

The Orange Hall

Halls at the heart of Our Order

The Orange Hall is a feature of many towns and villages across not just Northern Ireland but Canada and Scotland. They sprang up in the late 1800s to give lodges a home and communities a place to pray and play.

The Independent Orange Order acquired dozens of Halls across Ulster at the time of the split but after a series of legal cases which formed part of an orchestrated attempt to destroy the fledgling order they were evicted often from halls they had built. Undeterred the Independents determined to build their own halls, bigger and better than the ones they had lost. Often in acts of defiance these halls were built feet away from the original, and on the Blackstone Road to this day we see four lodges with four halls, two Independent and two ‘Old Order’. Thankfully the bitter acrimoiny of the past has subsided, but a friendly rivalry still remains.

 Our Orange Halls have a greater significance and value than what bricks and mortar can account for. They are a symbol of our identity and place in the community, as such we have always had a more open and welcoming attitude to community usage than other Loyal Orders. The range of activities once undertaken in many halls has declined however with a little modernisation and renovation we hope to revive many activities, and restore our halls to the position they once held.

All halls are associated with a lodge and the hall provides a sense of place and belonging, as safe familiar space they can call their own and is very much part of the culture and community. It is used for membership activities such as meetings, training, initiation, committee space.

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An Open Door

Often our critics misrepresent us, claiming we operate ‘behind closed doors’. Nothing could be further from the truth, but sadly those who seek to attack the Loyal Orders may use the name of truth but trade in lies and misinformation. The very fact that as an Order we operate in public, our events and all we do is in front of an audience and our halls open their doors to the public throughout the year explodes much of the fake news spread about Orangeism.

However we are aware that many people have never visited an Orange Hall, and believe all they read about what happens there. So in order to set the record straight and to show people how important our halls are not just to us but the entire community we have provided a Virtual Tour of some of our Halls.


Our halls are primarily places dedicated to God and used for worship and outreach. Orange Halls up and down our land are used for Gospel Missions and Christian events. From prayer meetings to praise and worship events we organise many faith based events and offer the halls free of charge to those who would use them to promote the Gospel. We welcome al Protestant denominations, and non-denominational mission organisations who value these venues which are right at the heart of local communities.


Our halls are both physically built at the heart of communities, but also have a heart for their local communities. We are part of society around us and are here to help, offering safe welcoming community space which can be used by families for events, clubs for meetings and statutory bodies to provide services. From credit unions, to crèches; dances to food delivery our buildings are helping to build better stronger communities often in rural isolated areas.


Orange halls are the hub of Orange culture and heritage, from band practices to talks and exhibitions. They are the new home of Ulster Scots work and have welcomed new forms of musics and culture, from model car racing to shooting competitions they host sports and entertainment. The humble hall has many different uses, from office and administration space to kitchen food distribution point for those in need. Many Organisations and Events have made the Hall their Home.

Getting to the Heart of our Orange Halls



From Gospel Missions to Prayer Meetings, the humble Orange Hall is the place where thousands and men and women across our country can testify that they came to meet God and accept his as their own and personal Saviour. This is why the halls has such an important place in the hearts of many people. It is an important place because like our order it has God at the heart of it.

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Our Halls are there to help the communities around them. Those communities are the Independent Orange Community, the wider Protestant Unionist and Loyalist Community and then the geographical community around the hall. Often in rural areas our hall is the only community space available, and offers a place to meet and run events.

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Our halls host bands and groups as they practice and play. These local venues are offered free or at cost price allowing small cultural groups or bands to survive. They are also ideal for small events and gigs, with many designed with this in mind. Over the years Orange halls, have been dance halls where many a romance has blossomed as well as makeshift museums offering the most versatile of community spaces.

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The History of Our Halls

The Independent Orange Institution was formed in 1903 as a result of a split in the Orange Order over a range of issues. It was formed as a result of and was shaped by distinctive religious, cultural, class and practical issues which were and are of great personal and institutional importance. These values and principles have shaped and maintained the ILOI and have a bearing on how it approaches all aspects of its work and witness. 

The fracture in Orangeism was deep and bitter and first literally fought out in court or at times on the streets over property. Many entire lodges, and districts left and joined the Independent Order, with some returning to the Grand Lodge of Ireland some years later. In the interim Orange Halls were used by Independent Lodges, however within 3-5 years as an orchestrated attempt to crush the fledgling order a raft of court cases were initiated and funded often personally litigated by senior and influential members of the Orange Order.  

In a string of decisions Independent lodges were found to have insufficient claim to the halls and were evicted, often with halls becoming the focus of faction fights and attacks by both sides. These were dark days and did much to shape the approach of the Independent Order to property. The positive defiant response by many lodges when they found themselves thrown out of the halls they had hand built and funded was to find land and build their own. 

The legacy is obvious in the land as often Independent and ‘Old Order’ Halls stand side by side in defiant glory built by men who meant them as a marker that they were here to stay. Often many of the men involved in the ILOI had been tenant farmers who had been turned off land by the very same landowners whom sponsored cases to deprive them of their Orange Halls. The feeling, and the emotional investment in each and every one of these halls which were either built from scratch out of their own pockets on land donated or repaired after attack is palpable. 

Therefore Independent Orange Halls have an even greater and deeper significance for the ILOI. They represent their very survival, each one a defiant landmark and a footnote in history laying down a marker for the future. As such they are in a very real sense of symbolic importance beyond the practical use they have undoubtedly had. These historical issues give the present work a greater significance and while presenting challenges they also ensure that individuals and the Institution values its estate and will work hard to develop it.

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A Tour of Our Halls

Join us as we take a tour of some of our halls and learn more bout them and their history.