Donegal venue set to host annual Twelfth

Orangemen will be on parade in Rossnowlagh
Orangemen will be on parade in Rossnowlagh

The annual Twelfth parade in Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal, takes place this weekend ahead of the main demonstrations in Northern Ireland.

Fifty lodges from Donegal, Cavan, Leitrim and Monaghan, as well as visiting Orangemen, will participate in Saturday's procession which begins close to St. John's Parish Church at 12.30pm.

The parade then goes to the demonstration field, on the edge of the shoreline - regarded as one of the most beautiful locations for an Orange parade anywhere in the world.

The Donegal procession is renowned for its laid-back family atmosphere and low key security presence.

Lots of tourists and holidaymakers staying in the local caravan parks, joined by many newcomers, are expected to be among the large crowd of spectators lining the meandering parade route; witnessing the spectacle of this distinctive Orange event.

A religious service, set against the backdrop of the Donegal hills and the rolling breakers of the Atlantic, will be held at 3pm.

The sermon will be delivered by Canon Mark Watson, County Fermanagh Grand Chaplain. The main speaker will be Lewis Singleton, Assistant Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland. Proceedings will be chaired by the County Donegal Grand Master, David Mahon.

The Twelfth in Donegal has been held in Rossnowlagh since the 1900s and has taken place there every year since 1978.

Donegal recently formed its first junior lodge, Sir Albert Conyngham JLOL No 12, based in the south of the county.

There are 44 Orange halls in Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan and Leitrim and the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has members in nine counties in the Republic.

Rossnowlagh is the traditional prelude to the 18 Twelfth demonstrations being held across Northern Ireland, taking place next Tuesday.

This year, the largest and and one of the most scenic Twelfth demonstrations have been selected as tourist flagships for the biggest annual festival in Northern Ireland.

The parades in Portadown and Kilkeel will provide an enhanced cultural experience and a varied programme of events, as well as offering the colour and pageantry associated with the largest day in the parading calendar.

The demonstrations on July 12 will take place in: Portadown; Kilkeel; Belfast; Maguiresbridge; Limavady; Castledawson; Coagh; Newtownstewart; Aughnacloy; Donaghadee; Comber; Dromore; Randalstown; Lisburn; Ballymena; Ahoghill; Glenarm and Ballycastle.