Retro: Orangemen march as the sun shines on a fine and glorious July day (1993)

It was off with the bowler hats and on with the sunglasses for many of those taking part in the Twelfth’s Belfast parade in July 1993.

The fine, dry weather, which gave way to glorious sunshine on occasions, guaranteed a huge turnout of both walkers and spectators in Belfast.

The city parade, as always, was the biggest in the province, with 260 lodges taking part. There were also representatives from Canada, America, Australia and New Zealand.

The Scots, with more than 20 bands, also made their presence felt, most holding nothing back when it came to beating the drums and belting out the traditional marches.

Throughout the province around 100,000 people – 1,500 lodges and more than 1,000 bands – turned out at the 19 demonstrations.

A carnival atmosphere prevailed among the spectators, many of whom appeared to have come equipped with enough food and liquid refreshments to last through several parades.

The Orange parade along the Ormeau Road passed off peacefully.

About 25 protestors from the lower end of the road stood by the roadside with banners and posters as the marchers went past just before 10am.

Annalong

Seven Orangemen with a total of 416 years of membership of Brunswick Orange Lodge were among those on parade in the Annalong demonstration. Tommy Clarke, who has been in the institution 69 years, joined his brother Herbert, a member for 64 years, Tommy McCormick, 60 years, Cecil Newell, 59 years, John Burden, 58 years, Cuthbert Gordon, 56 years, and the “youngster” Hayden Chambers, who has been a member for 50 years. Hundreds of men and women lined the streets of the fishing village as 2,000 Orangemen from the Mourne District paraded to the field.

Among the visitors was Mr John Agnew, Grand Master of the Orange Order in New York State, who has relatives in the Mourne area.

The main speaker, Jim Martin, the District Master, said the defeat of terrorism should be given top priority by the governments.

“But what can we expect from a government which has let us down so often,” he said.

Ballinderry

Ballinderry was the venue for 4,000 Orangemen from seven districts — Aghalee, Ballinderry, Glenavy, Lisburn Magheragall, Derriaghy, and Hillsborough.

This was by far the biggest turn-out of the seven districts for more than a decade and with 68 bands and 20 Lambeg drummers also on parade the very large crowds enroute and at the field had plenty to cheer.

Imperial Grand Master Jim Molyneaux was given one of the biggest cheers of the day when he promised there was be no joint sovereignty. This was also repeated by the Grand Master of Antrim, Kenneth Watson.

Among those present were the Deputy Grand Master of Victoria, Australia, George Meaxlim.

Ballymena

At the 29-lodge Ballymena demonstration, two veterans of the Orange Order notched up a total of over 120 Twelfth marches between them.

Past District Master Mr John Burch has worn a sash for the past 61 years at least, and Mr Bob McAuley, a member of the same lodge – Ballykeel LoL 472 – has paraded to the field on 60 occasions.

Ballykeel brethren were walking behind a new banner which was unfurled only the previous week by the Grand Master of Ireland, the Reverend Martin Smyth.

For several lodges, their base for the day was the newly refurbished Protestant Hall – reinstated at a cost of £200,000 having been almost demolished in an IRA bomb attack on the nearby police station in 1990. The procession took nearly an hour to pass a given point as brethren paraded to the field at Bailee led by Ferniskey LOL 115.

The traditional religious service was conducted by Newtowncrommelin Presbyterian minister the Reverend Dr Robert Dickinson and the main speaker was deputy County Grand Master Mr Robert McIlroy, Unionist councillor from Ballycastle.

Ballymoney

Members of the Independent Orange Institution from across the Province and Scotland descended on Ballymoney for the Order's 90th anniversary demonstration.

Historically, Ballymoney has a very strong link with the Independent Institution. In 1903, Ballymoney minister the Reverend D D Boyle was expelled from the Orange Institution, thus marking the birth of the Independent Loyal Orange Institution in Ballymoney.

And 90 years on that special relationship was marked yesterday by a special morning service at St James’s Church.

Following the parade, 25 lodges and accompanying bands paraded to Ballymoney Showgrounds.

Banbridge

A hoax bomb on the Sunday in Banbridge did not deter the thousands who turned out to support the Twelfth celebrations in the town.

About 5,000 marchers took to the streets at mid-day for a two hour parade to the demonstration field at Huntly Road.

Nearly 70 bands and 100 lodges represented the districts of Banbridge, Lower Iveagh, Lower Iveagh West, Carlingford Lough, Rathfriland, Newry, Loughbrickland and Gilford.

The religious service was conducted by the Reverend Alastair Smyth, district chaplain of Rathfriland, while Mr Archie McCallister, of No 7 Banbridge, was chairman of the platform proceedings. The return parade took marchers back along the same route ending at Church Square.

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