Roamer: Sound of the drums echoes across Ulster

Portrush Sons of Ulster in their new uniform
Portrush Sons of Ulster in their new uniform

Several new uniforms were unveiled during a weekend of large processions

Despite poor weather the band season goes on, with processions over the weekend taking place in no less than four Ulster counties.

In the Orchard County the town of Markethill hosted the annual event for the Mullabrack Accordion, with a highly impressive 30 bands participating.

A largely rural Armagh and Down affair, visitors also came from much further afield in the form of the Lisbellaw Accordion, who received a warm reception from spectators.

In Dromore Kinallen Flute were organisers, with another very large turnout.

A tightly fought competition in no less than 20 categories saw Mourne Young Defenders and Skeogh excel in melody flute, Pride of the Hill Rathfriland and Robert Graham Memorial in blood and thunder, and Corbet and Aughlisnafin in accordion.

Over 70 miles to the north-west, the Pride of the Bann Flute drew 40 bands to the streets of Coleraine for their well-established parade.

Standards were high, with the flute bands of Articlave, Edenmore, Glenghugh, Ballinteer and Stranocum each standing out; as did the men and women of the Portrush Sons of Ulster Flute who proudly unveiled their new uniforms on the night.

There was a further venue on Friday night in yet another corner of the province, this time in south-west Fermanagh in the hamlet of Florencecourt.

There 13 bands braved the cold for Florencecourt Flute, with pipe, accordion, silver, part flute and blood and thunder all represented.

Letterbreen Silver, Derryclavin Pipe, Ballindarragh and Teemore Accordion bands each contributed to what was a short but musically diverse and highly entertaining procession.

Saturday night saw the unveiling of yet another new uniform, this time for the Blackskull Orange and Blue Flute in Donacloney.

The smart new outfits where dedicated at the town’s war memorial, with a host of local politicians present, before the band held their annual band parade.

Donacloney had 40 bands traverse its main street, with stand-out bands Dunamoney Flute Magherafelt and the Regimental Band East Belfast.

Incredibly a further 40 bands were concurrently processing through the south Londonderry village of Garvagh on the night for the Moneydig Young Conquerors.

The hosts played well-received short sets of tunes at the town’s two care homes prior to the main event, before the unique Whiterock Flute West Belfast got the procession underway.

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