Aughnacloy Twelfth: Traditions maintained at border Twelfth

Tommy Irwin transports some senior orange men to the field in Aughnacloy.
Tommy Irwin transports some senior orange men to the field in Aughnacloy.

One of the most traditional Twelfth parades and demonstration field events took place in the Clogher Valley.

Twenty-one lodges and 12 bands from Annahoe and Fivemiletown, along with lodges from Co Monaghan, converged on the border town of Aughnacloy for the annual celebrations.

Julie Robinson, Rebecca Clarke, Stewart Erskine, Jayne McClements and Diane McClements.

Julie Robinson, Rebecca Clarke, Stewart Erskine, Jayne McClements and Diane McClements.

Clogher Valley has retained all the charm of the Twelfths from days gone by and has stuck with the honoured traditions that remain popular to this day.

The quality of the music was of a particularly high standard with Murley Silver and the impressive Roughan Silver on parade.

Murley recently attained fourth place at the European Brass Band Championships in France, and Roughan were well received as they led the platform proceedings.

Rev Knox Jones, chaplain of Annahoe District, led the religious service at the demonstration field near Aughnacloy College.

Lisgenny helpers playing an important part for their band.

Lisgenny helpers playing an important part for their band.

Guest speaker was Canon Mark Watson, the Co Fermanagh chaplain.

Ulster Unionist councillor Robert Mulligan enjoyed the festivities and said he was more than happy that Clogher Valley remained an old-fashioned Twelfth.

“It’s the kind of Twelfth you would think about from your childhood. It never changes, maybe it has in some other areas, but with us it has remained as I remember it all my life.

“The numbers attending Clogher Valley have been fairly static for a number of years. They’re down on what they would have been maybe 20 or 25 years ago but they’re fairly steady, and we always have a very harmonious event.

“It’s in Aughnacloy this time and it’s organised under the auspices of the Annahoe District.”

Cllr Mulligan said it was fitting that yesterday’s proceedings were influenced by the Somme centenary commemorations.

“Today we had a special contribution in terms of the Somme. We had comment about the Somme situation, and we had the silence and the Last Post, so it was a very poignant service for the centenary. It went off very smoothly and very nicely.”

Cllr Mulligan said the fact that there are no politics involved in the Clogher Valley event helps make it particularly family-friendly.

Brethern from LOL 1031 on parade.

Brethern from LOL 1031 on parade.

“It was a normal religious service as we don’t have politics on our platform. The platform parties in this part of the world haven’t had for years.”

The Ulster Unionist representative said the musical contribution in Aughnacloy was very impressive.

“After [the service] we had some of the local pipe bands massed together and we had a musical concert. We followed that with another concert when a selection of bands combined, which again is a regular thing at our celebrations here.

“It all passed off very peacefully and the weather has been quite good. We’ve had a few light showers but nothing of any significance.”

In his sermon, Canon Watson said Jesus spoke out “against injustice and mans inhumanity to man”.

He said: “Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. God’s truth results in a life worth living. Jesus is the way into that truth. He stands at the door of our hearts and knocks.”

Young man in training at Aughnacloy.

Young man in training at Aughnacloy.