History comes alive in Carrick with King Billy pageant

King William returns to the Co Antrim town for the annual pageant
King William returns to the Co Antrim town for the annual pageant

History came alive for thousands of people in Carrickfergus on Saturday when King William returned to the Co Antrim town for the annual pageant.

The event is one of the most colourful of the Northern Ireland parading calendar.

The pageant marked the 324th anniversary of King William arriving in the Co Antrim town - even held on the calendar date he arrived June 14 - “marking one of the most poignant days in Orangeism”.

DUP councillor Jim McClurg said: “It was a great day, the weather was fantastic and the crowds really enjoyed themselves.

“There were lot of people enjoying themselves and a great family atmosphere.”

Councillor McClurg, a past District Master of the Orange Order in Carrick, No 19 District, said he felt “very proud to be on parade”.

“I was walking with my own lodge,” he said. “It is a very proud day for every Orangeman in Carrickergus. The best thing was that yesterday marked the actual date that King William landed which made it particularly poignant. This does not happen all that often.”

He said around 10 bands took part in the pageant.

“There were visiting lodges from Scotland and Liverpool

“There was a great turnout, but I would like to see even more coming to the town in the future to enjoy the day and spend money in Carrickfergus. It is a great day for the town.”

Fellow DUP Councillor for the town, Billy Ashe, said: “I was there and it was a glorious day. The sun shone making it a fantastic day for families who were out and about enjoying themselves. There was a lot going on with the pageant and the fair. It was a really good family day for everyone there.”

On Saturday, the parade, consisting of lodges and bands left Woodburn Playing Fields at 12.15pm and proceeded to the harbour ahead of King William’s landing at 1pm.