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Huge crowds at Shutting of the Gates

The head of the 'Shutting of the Gates' parade on Saturday.

The head of the 'Shutting of the Gates' parade on Saturday.

More than 3,000 people attended the Shutting of the Gates in Londonderry on Saturday – one of the largest turnouts in the event’s 425-year history.

It is the Apprentice Boys of Derry’s most important date, and with thousands arriving during the year of the City of Culture in Londonderry, it proved particularly successful.

Billy Moore, General Secretary of the Apprentice Boys of Derry, said everything was very peaceful. “There was no trouble and it was an excellent day,” he told the News Letter.

“It was very successful because we had so many visitors from Scotland and England and that meant a lot of people spending money in local shops,” he said.

The Shutting of the Gates of the city is the most important date in the Apprentice Boys of Derry calendar.

It commemorates the shutting of the city gates against the army of King James II in December of 1688, the act which set the scene for the Siege of 
Derry.

Presbyterian Moderator Dr Rob Craig led a Service of Thanksgiving in a packed St Columb’s Cathedral.

And the Cathedral’s Dean, the Very Reverend William Morton, dedicated two flags for the Surrey Campsie Club and the City of Westminster Campsie Club.

The day culminated in the burning of an effigy of Colonel Robert Lundy­, a figure to this day reviled in the psyche of Ulster Protestantism because of his treachery in the events that led to the Siege of 1688-­89.

Mr Moore, said: “We are very pleased that everything passed off peacefully on this year of the City of Culture.”

 

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