Orange Order gets ready for big day

Fifty thousand Orangemen and women will celebrate the Twelfth at 19 demonstrations across Northern Ireland on Saturday. Eighteen of the demonstrations are organised by the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, and the Independent Orange Order gathering is scheduled for North Antrim

A large influx of lodge members from Scotland and England will boost the numbers on parade, and contingents from Canada, Australia and the United States are expected.

A total of 1,400 lodges from districts across Northern Ireland and the Republic's border counties of Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal and Leitrim will be headed by an estimated 800 bands and up to 150 Lambeg drums.


The Belfast parade of 250 lodges and an estimated 130 bands will leave Belfast Orange Hall, at Carlisle Circus, at 10am.

Millar Memorial flute band will lead the parade along Donegall Street, Royal Avenue, Castle Junction, Donegall Place to Belfast City Hall.

A wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the City Hall and the parade will then proceed via Donegall Square West, Bedford Street, Dublin Road, Shaftesbury Square, Bradbury Place, Lisburn Road, Balmoral Avenue and Malone Road to Barnett Demense.

This year pride of place will be given to the lodges of Belfast District No 2 (Clifton Street)

A service of thanksgiving starts at 2.30pm, conducted by the Rev. William Hoey, Deputy Grand Chaplain. The guest speaker will be Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.

More than 20 bands from Scotland will head city lodges.

Belfast County Grand Master Dawson Bailie said that people this year were remembering the 90th anniversary of the Armistice, when the guns fell silent in the First World War.

"Sadly it came too late for tens of thousands of brave young men who had sacrificed their lives for the King and Empire. Many were Orangemen from around the globe," he said.


The Co Armagh Twelfth in Tandragee will have a sound all of its own with 50 Lambeg drums and 70 bands on show.

Orangeism was founded in Co Armagh after the Battle of the Diamond near Loughgall in September 1795 and the Order has a special resonance for loyalists in the county.

More than 5,000 Orangemen from 160 lodges in the 11 districts – Tandragee, Portadown, Richhill, Loughgall, Amagh, Lurgan, Killylea, Keady, Newtownhamilton, Markethill and Bessbrook – are expected, watched by an estimated 25,000 spectators.

Three Scottish bands will take part, including the Imperial Blues flute band from Bellshill in Lanarkshire, who will head the County Grand officers and the host Tandragee District LOL No 4.

On the morning, the Tandragee ring ceremony – a long-standing tradition – is scheduled in the Square at 9am. The 21 Tandragee District lodge banners, district officers, Worshipful Masters and brethren will form a ring in a ceremony which dates back 120 years.

The 11 districts will then proceed in the 10,000-strong to the demonstration field at Old Scarva Road, Tandragee.

Platform proceedings, conducted by the Armagh County Grand Master Denis Watson, begins at 1.30pm.

The four lodges of Bessbrook District LOL No 11 will hold a memorial service in Bessbrook village for the 10 Protestants murdered at Kingsmill on January 5, 1976 before leaving for the Tandragee demonstration.


The Co Fermanagh demonstration is one of the largest in Northern Ireland, with more than 100 lodges taking part,

The assembly field is on the Ederney Road and the parade will move off at 12.30pm via Ederney Road, Station Road, Main Street, Roscolban Avenue to the demonstration field at Mantlin Road.

Lodges from Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim and Monaghan will lead the parade as the 15 districts from throughout Fermanagh follow.

County Grand Master and UUP MLA Tom Elliott will chair proceedings at the field and the guest speaker will be Mervyn Lindsay, Deputy Grand Chaplain,City of Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge. The praise will be led by Kilskeery silver band.

The Fermanagh districts are Newtownbutler, Lisbellaw, Brookeborough, Lisnaskea, Enniskillen, Ballinamallard, Kinawley, Glenawley, Lisnarick, Pettigo, Magheraboy, Churchill, Maguiresbridge, Garrison, and Tempo.


Coleraine is the venue for the North Londonderry demonstration, hosted by the lodges of Macosquin No. 8 District.

The 70 lodges and bands will represent Coleraine, Limavady and Macosquin districts and the City of Londonderry Grand Lodge, which takes in Raphoe in Co Donegal.

The parade will be preceded by a carnival pageant featuring the Ulster-Scots float, King William on horseback and Williamite foot-soldiers.

There will also be a children’s fun day in the field in addition to the traditional proceedings.

The gala pageant starts at 11.15am and the Orange parade is at mid-day, making its way from Ballycastle Road to the demonstration field just off the Castlerock Road at Carthall Road.

Guest speaker at the demonstration field will be Dr David Hume, Director of Services for the Orange Order.


The South Down demonstration is located in the small village of Dromara, with Lower Iveagh District LOL No 1 the hosts.

The Grand Master of Ireland Robert Saulters will be the main speaker and 6,000 Orangemen and bandsmen will be on parade, assembling at Banbridge Road and moving off around mid-day.

The demonstration field is on the Rathfriland Road. Around 90 lodges from eight districts (Lower Iveagh, Rathfriland, Newry, Gilford, Lower Iveagh, Lower iveagh West, Banbridge and Loughbrickland) will be on parade.

King William will lead the parade on horseback, accompanied by soldiers in period costume, and among the many visitors will be Orangemen from London.


Sixmilewater District LOL No 10 will host the Twelfth demonstration in Ballyclare for the East Antrim Orange Combine group.

The main parade starts at 11am from the Foundry Lane playing fields and make its way through the town to the Sixmilewater River Park, located on the Mill Road.

There will be nine Orange Districts (Larne, Sixmilewater, Antrim, Staffordstown, Killead, Carrickfergus, Randalstown, Cloughfern and Carnmoney) with a total of 71 lodges on parade. They will be accompanied by 60 bands and teams of Lambeg drummers. Several Scottish bands will also take part.

The return parade will leave the field at 3.15pm.


One of the largest parades on the Twelfth will be at Derriaghy, only a short distance outside Belfast, where 70 lodges, from seven South Antrim districts will take part.

Districts represented are Aghalee, Magheragall, Lisburn, Glenavy, Hillsborough, Derriaghy and Ballinderry.

The parade will assemble close to Derriaghy cricket ground at 11.30am and proceed through Dunmurry Village to Fullerton Park, the demonstration field.

The demonstration will have a strong Tartan connection and members of the Scottish Women’s Orange Order will walk at the front of the parade. Guests will include Rhona Gibson, Deputy Grand Mistress of Scotland, Christine Calvert, Past Grand Mistress of Scotland and Helen Walker, Past Grand Mistress of Scotland.

The Rev David McCarthy, Assistant County Grand Chaplain of Antrim and District Chaplain of Derriaghy, will be the main speaker at the platform.


Twelfth celebrations in Omagh will have an added element this year with the addition of carnival floats depicting scenes from the Battle of the Boyne.

The idea is to create a more family-orientated event and add a fun element to the parade. The centre float will be a rotating drum with eight different panels each showing different scenes of the story of the Boyne.

The main parade will assembly in the Campsie Playing Fields, Irishtown Road, Omagh, at 11.30am. There will be 60 lodges and bands from six districts of West Tyrone taking part – Omagh, Newtownstewart, Killen, Strabane, Fintona and Sixmilecross.

Also taking part will be sisters and brethren from lodges in Larkhall and Airth in Scotland.

The main parade will move off at mid-day and will cover a two-mile route through the town to Campsie playing fields.

The Rev James Stewart, chaplain to Omagh District, will lead a religious service. Magnus Bain, Past Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland and Past Imperial President of the World Orange Council, will be the guest speaker.

The return parade starts at 4pm.


The special guests in Benburb will be 23 brethren from Benburb Purple Guards LOL No 313 in Glasgow.

They will join with Benburb LOL No. 4 at the head of the 5,000-strong parade when it gathers at the assembly point on the Augher Road at 12.30pm. The parade will then make its way through the town to the playing fields on the Dungannon Road.

The guest speaker in Benburb will be the Deputy Grand Master of Ireland Edward Stevenson.

Districts represented will be Killyman, Benburb, Cookstown, Stewartstown, Pomeroy, Castlecaulfield and Coagh.


Twenty one lodges and more than a dozen bands from two districts – Annahoe and Fivemiletown - will take part in the Clogher Valley Twelfth parade in Aughnacloy.

The parade will assemble on the Augher Road at 12.15pm and make its way to the demonstration field on the Dungannon Road. It will be a family day out with organised facilities for the children.


Many people will be looking out for a new lodge on parade at the Ballymena Twelfth.

The mid-Antrim borough was headquarters of the Royal Irish Regiment for many years before the disbanding of the home service battalion. The new lodge – Garryowen LOL – has been formed from former members of the Royal Irish Regiment, including the Ulster Defence Regiment, and they will be on parade for the first time.

The Ballymena District LOL No 8 parade of 30 lodges assembles at Waveney Road car park and goes through the town to the Ballee playing fields where the guest speaker will be the Rev. Victor Ryan, Grand Chaplain of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland. The Rev Ian McLean, another Orange chaplain, will conduct the service.

Twenty bands and teams of Lambeg drummers will take part.


Members of Braid District No. 18 will hold their Twelfth parade in the picturesque village of Broughshane.

Twelve lodges and bands, with at least three sets of Lambeg drums, will assemble at mid-day at Beechvale on the Ballymena to Broughshane Road.

They will parade to Rathkeel Road where the guest speaker will be David McNarry, Assistant Grand Master and Strangford Ulster Unionist MLA.


The fleet will be in for the Twelfth parade in the Co. Down fishing village.

The organisers expect a huge crowd to watch more than 60 lodges and bands from the North Down districts of Bangor, Holywood, Newtownards and Upper Ards, as they assemble at The Parks, on the Newtownards Road, at mid-day.

They will lead the lodges into the centre of Portavogie to the demonstration field. It is expected that the fishing fleet will be in the harbour and will be decorated with flags and bunting for the big day.

It will provide quite a spectacle for the thousands expected to attend. The numbers will be strengthened by holiday-makers spending the weekend on nearby caravan sites.

The guest speaker will be Victor Harrison, the County Grand Master of Co Down.


The Cullybackey demonstration will be a small family occasion with 17 lodges and a dozen bands taking part from Cullybackey, Portglenone and Ahoghill districts.

The parade assembles at 1pm at Ardna-maine and heads through the village to the football field at Cullybackey Community Centre.

The District Chaplain, Samuel McKay, will conduct the religious service.


Forty five lodges, accompanied by 35 bands and Lambeg drums, will assemble for the Twelfth parade in the North Antrim village of Rasharkin.

Five districts will be represented – Ballymoney, Rasharkin, Ballycastle, Cloughmills, and Bushmills.

The parade will assemble at Finvoy Road at 1pm and go through the village to the demonstration field at Duneaney Road.

The guest speaker will be the Antrim County Grand Master Joe Gaston.


The worldwide membership of the Orange Order will be underlined at the Maghera demonstration when Orangemen from the United States lead the parade.

The Orangemen are members of a lodge in Birmingham, Alabama and they will be given pride of place behind the Sons of William Band, Maghera.

In all 60 lodges from South Derry will take part, representing seven districts – Magherafelt, Castledawson, Garvagh, Ballyronan, Tamlaght O’Crilly, Moneymore and Tobermore,

They will gather at the Tobermore Road at noon and parade to the demonstration field at the Presbyterian Church at Mullagh Road.

Past Grand Master of Ireland the Rev Martin Smyth will be the guest speaker and an American visitor, the Rev Dr Paul Zahl, a leading Orangeman from the United States, will conduct the service.


The ‘Kingdom of Mourne’ parade in Kilkeel will be one of the smallest on the Twelfth, but it can boost one of the most beautiful settings, with the Mountains of Mourne as the magnificent backdrop.

Fifteen local lodges from Mourne District LOL No 6, all with bands, will take part in the parade which begins on the Leestone Road at mid-day and heads to the demonstration field at Manse Road.

One thousand Orangemen are expected to take part and there will be special collections throughout the day, in aid of the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.

A religious service at the field will be conducted by Rev Kenneth Hanna.


Seventy lodges and 50 bands from Castlewellan, Comber, Lecale, Ballynahinch and Comber districts will be on parade in Newcastle.

The parade starts and finishes in Donard Park, after passing along the main street.

The East Down Orangemen move off at around 12.30pm and they will then return to Donard Park for a religious service.

King William on horseback will head the lodges.


The several dozen lodges of the Independent Orange Order will assemble in the North Antrim village of Portglenone.

The lodges, from Co Antrim, Portadown, Lurgan, Tandragee, and Dungannon, will be headed by more than a dozen bands and several Lambeg drumming teams. The Independent demonstration is normally attended by former DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley.