Several hundred Orangemen from Newry and Bessbrook districts paraded on Saturday afternoon to an anti-Home Rule commemorative rally.
The event marked a loyalist rally at Mullaglass two miles from Newry in July 1913 that pledged total resistance by south Down and south Armagh unionists to Home Rule for Ireland. The then unionist leader Lord Edward Carson was invited to attend the 1913 rally at Mullaglass, but he sent a letter of apology and pledged good wishes to those present.
Saturday’s rally was organised by Newry District LOL No 9 (Co Down) and Bessbrook District LOL No 11 (Co Armagh) and attended by more than 500 people, Orangemen and supporters.
The Newry contingent was headed by Donaghmore accordion band and the Bessbrook lodge members by Bessbrook True Blues flute band, who were dressed in 1913 period costume and carried the bass drum of the now defunct Bessbrook Victoria flute band from that era.
The Bessbrook brethren paraded two miles from their Orange hall and were met by the Newry members on the main Newry to Armagh road. A commemorative service was held in the grounds of Mullaglass Free Presbyterian Church, conducted by the Rev David McLaughlin, chaplain of Tandragee District LOL No 4 and minister of Carryduff Free Presbyterian Church.
Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, and Colin Whiteside, Assistant Grand Master of the Royal Black Institution, were among those present.