Tens of thousands to march and watch on ‘Last Saturday’

Preceptories on parade in Lisburn in 2016's Last Saturday
Preceptories on parade in Lisburn in 2016's Last Saturday

The last major loyal order parades of the summer tomorrow involve 30,000 marchers – from the 350 preceptories of the Royal Black Institution and members of 300 bands.

Preceptory and band members from the Irish Republic, Scotland and England will join the Northern Ireland contingents at six venues – Comber, Antrim, Aughnacloy, Lisburn, Castledawson and Omagh.

The ‘Last Saturday’ parades traditionally have Ulster’s best bands taking part and tens of thousands of spectators will be attracted to the various venues.


The largest parade of the day will involve the 107 Co Down preceptories headed by 100 bands.

Districts represented will be Lower Iveagh (Dromore), Lecale, Castlewellan, Newry, Banbridge, Rathfriland, Mourne, Largymore, Ballynahinch, Newtownards, Saintfield, Bangor and Comber.

Among the preceptories stepping out will be the largest in the Institution, Elijah’s Chosen Few RBP No 208 from Kilkeel in the Mourne District, with 280 members.

Up to 20,000 spectators are expected to watch the parade.

Preceptories move off at noon from Parkway via Killinchy Street, The Square, High Street, Braeside, Ballygowan Road, Railway Street, Glen Link and Belfast Road.

The religious service will be chaired by Brian Hunter, Co Down grand master with the Rev Stanley Gamble conducting the service of worship.


Eighty Co Antrim preceptories and 75 bands will feature in the in the demonstration in Antrim town.

The main parade assembles at Fountain Hill moving off through the town centre to the field at Randalstown Road.

Six districts will be represented – Antrim, Lisburn, Ballymena, Larne, Ballymoney and Ballyclare. More than 2,500 members of the Royal Black Institution will feature.

Co Antrim Grand Chaplain, Robert Campbell, will conduct the service of worship. Guest speaker will be the Rev William Anderson, imperial deputy grand master.


Eighty preceptories and bands will create a colourful spectacle in the South Tyrone border village. The parade starts at 11.45am.

Preceptories from counties Monaghan and Cavan and, from Co Fermanagh, will join preceptories from Primatial City (Armagh), Summerisland (Loughgall), Killyman (Dungannon), Aughnacloy and East Tyrone (Cookstown) districts.

The main parade commences at Aughnacloy College and proceeds through the village to the demonstration field at Caledon Road.

Co Tyrone Grand Master Richard Emerson is the principal speaker with the preacher at the religious service Robin Fairburn, chaplain of Saintfield District.


City of Belfast Grand Black Chapter’s demonstration will be in the south Antrim borough this year as part of a tradition for members of the institution in Belfast to parade in various provincial centres.

Fifty-four preceptories, from seven districts, will be on parade, headed by 33 bands, a number from Scotland.

The parade starts at noon from Wallace Park, proceeding through the city centre and returning to Wallace Park for a religious service.

Principal speaker will be Belfast City Grand Master William Elliott, with the service of worship conducted by Alan McIntosh, city grand chaplain.


The Institution’s Sovereign Grand Master Millar Farr will be the special guest at the Co Londonderry demonstration in Castledawson.

The village hosts a Last Saturday parade for the first time, with 35 preceptories and 30 bands from South Londonderry, City of Londonderry, Coleraine and Raphoe (Co Donegal) districts.

The parade begins at noon from Magherafelt Road proceeding through the village to the demonstration field at Hillhead Road.

The Rev John Noble, imperial deputy grand chaplain, will conduct the service at the field.


Twenty-four preceptories will gather for the West Tyrone parade.

Sir Knights from Omagh and neighbouring Castlederg and Strabane districts, will be headed by 24 bands, most of them pipe bands.

The event will be a special occasion for Omagh District and Omagh Olive Branch RBP 185, who both celebrate their 150th anniversaries.

The parade starts at 1pm, from Crevenagh Road through the town centre to Campsie Road.

The service will be conducted by Tyrone Grand Chaplain the Rev Alan Irwin, and the preacher is the Rev Nigel Reid, imperial grand chaplain. Guest speaker is Ivan Kelly, past assistant sovereign grand master.