A FORMER Tullylish curate, who was an enthusiast of the Gaelic language, is featured in a new Orange Order calendar recording the lives of popular heroes from history.

The 2009 calendar complements the current exhibition taking place at the organisation's headquarters in Belfast.

The exhibition runs until early November but the calendar will be a more lasting reminder of the prominent figures who came from within the ranks of the Orange Institution.

Among the heroes featured is former Tullylish curate the Rev Dr. Richard Rutledge Kane (1841-1898) who was born in Omagh on 10 June 1841, and was brought up in County Cavan where his father was minister of the Primitive Methodist Church in Belturbet. Kane joined the Church of Ireland and became curate of Dundonald, then curate at Walditch in Dorset.

In 1871 he became the curate of Tullylish Parish Church near Gilford. He became rector of Tullylish Parish Church in 1872 where he remained until 1882 when he became the rector of Christ Church, one of the largest Church of Ireland churches, which served the Sandy Row area of Belfast.

At the end of 1884 he was elected the Grand Master of Belfast County Grand Orange Lodge, a position he occupied until his death. He was also a Vice-President of the Belfast Conservative Association and the Ulster Loyalist Union.

Kane was an enthusiast for the Gaelic language and in 1895 he became one of the patrons of the Belfast branch of the Gaelic League. He died on 20 November 1898 at the early age of 58. His funeral to the City cemetery was one of the largest Belfast had ever seen, with an estimated 60,000 people watching the funeral procession.

A number of Orange lodges were named in his memory including Kane Memorial LOL 890 in Sandy Row District, Kane's Volunteers LOL 1773 in Gilford District and Dr Kane's Crimson Star LOL 417 in Portadown District.

As well as local figures, the calender has an international flavour featuring those such as John A. Macdonald, first Prime Minister of Canada, Dr. Oronhyatekha, Mohawk chief and William F. Massey, Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Other notable figures include Dr. Thomas Barnardo, who founded the childrens' charity named after him and the Tyrone poet Rev. W.F. Marshall.

Dr. David Hume, Director of Services of the Orange Order, said the Heroes From History exhibition has brought many stories of famous Orangemen to a wider audience.

"Our calendar reflects not only some of the famous who have belonged to our Order, but also the pride which we as an Institution feel that they were members," he added.

"People like Dr. Barnardo did so much in their lives, as did Dr. Oronhayekta, the Mohawk leader, William F. Massey, New Zealand Premier and the others. And we believe that the Orange Order was at the heart of what motivated them.

“One of the important aspects of the Institution is that it is a great leveller in society, and we reflect this in our calendar, which features Lord Enniskillen and Lord Brookeborough, who were from the landed gentry at one end of the scale and Tommy Henderson, the working class hero from the other.

“This calendar is, we believe, the best produced to date by the Orange Institution and we hope it will appeal to a wide audience both in the British Isles and much further afield.”

The calendar can be obtained from the headquarters of the Orange Order at Schomberg House, 368 Cregagh Road, Belfast, priced 3.50.