The Twelfth: Your essential guide to this year’s parades

An estimated 50,000 lodge brethren and band members will take part in this year's demonstrations
An estimated 50,000 lodge brethren and band members will take part in this year's demonstrations

The Twelfth will be celebrated by Orangemen and women at 19 venues in Northern Ireland on Tuesday, with a demonstration at Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal on Saturday.

An estimated 50,000 lodge brethren and band members from 800 bands will provide a highly colourful spectacle for the many thousands of spectators who will flock to the various venues. A large Orange contingent from Scotland and England will join in the celebrations , with 30 Scottish bands heading lodges.


Fifty lodges from Donegal, Cavan, Leitrim and Monaghan, as well as visiting Northern Ireland brethren, will join in tomorrow’s coastal resort parade which begins near St John’s Church at 12.30pm. The Donegal procession is renowned for its laid-back family atmosphere and low-key security presence. A religious service will follow the parade at 3pm, with the main address given by Canon Mark Watson, Co Fermanagh Grand Chaplain. Main speaker will be Lewis Singleton, Assistant Grand Master, and proceedings will be chaired by Donegal Grand Master, David Mahon. The Donegal Twelfth has been held at Rossnowlagh since the 1900s and taken place there every year since 1978. There are 44 Orange halls in Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan and Leitrim and the Order has members in nine Republic counties.


The largest Twelfth demonstration takes place in Co Armagh, in what is famously labelled the Orange ‘citadel’ of Portadown. Eleven districts, with 154 private lodges and 5,000 brethren, will step out with Orangewomen and juniors, headed by 80 bands. Co Armagh is the birthplace of Orangeism – the Order was formed in 1795 after the Battle of the Diamond. Upwards of 20,000 spectators are annually drawn to the Armagh Twelfth and four Scottish bands and several lodges from Scotland will join the ranks in the 10,000-strong parade. Portadown District LOL No 1 is the largest in Co Armagh, with 28 lodges and close on 1,000 members. These lodges will hold a service at the town’s war memorial for those who died in two World Wars and other conflicts. The main parade, led by Edgarstown Accordion Band and Portadown Ex-Servicemen’s LOL 608, begins at 10.15am, moving through the town centre to the Armagh Road. Other districts on parade will be Richhill, Killylea, Loughgall, Lurgan, Newtownhamilton, Markethill, Armagh, Bessbrook, Tandragee and Keady. Platform proceedings will be led by the County Grand Master Denis Watson. The return parade begins at 3pm.


One thousand Mourne Orangemen – the largest district in the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland – will turn out. The parade is family-orientated, with 14 of the 15 lodges taking part with their own band. Among those stepping out will be brethren of the biggest private Orange lodge in the world, Ballyvea LOL 343a, with 154 members. The lodge has a new banner. Town lodges will leave Kilkeel Orange hall at 9.30am and walk several miles to the outskirts. There, they will meet brethren and accompanying bands from Annalong and Ballymartin, before the district parades through the town to Manse Road. The return parade gets under way at 4pm. The Twelfth marks the end of a memorable year for Mourne District after the opening of the impressive new Kilkeel Orange hall.


This year’s parade begins at Belfast Orange Hall at Carlisle Circus at 10am. Colour party of Belfast County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast with the Millar Memorial flute band will take the lead, making its way along Clifton Street, Donegal Street, Royal Avenue, Castle Junction, Donegall Place to the City Hall. There, a wreath-laying ceremony takes place at the Cenotaph to remember the sacrifice of those who served in two World Wars and in the line of duty in the Troubles. At 10.40am, the parade will proceed via Donegal Square West, Bedford Street, Dublin Road, Shaftsbury Square, Bradbury Place, Lisburn Road, Balmoral Avenue and Malone Road to Barnetts Demesne. Orangemen and women from nine districts – accompanied by 60 bands – will walk the six-mile route, traditionally the longest of all parades.

Most notable will be the large Scottish contingent who travel to Belfast to participate in lodges and bands and spectate. Among those attending will be the Grand Master of Scotland Henry Dunbar, who will deliver a main address. Platform proceedings commence at 2.45pm and chairman will be Belfast County Grand Master, George Chittick. The religious service will be conducted by the County Chaplain the Rev Mervyn Gibson. Lodges leave the field at 4.15pm for the city centre.


The Fermanagh Twelfth is renowned for its relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere, with lodges playing host to visiting lodges from counties Donegal, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan. The Southern brethren will join with 90 Fermanagh lodges, members of the Association of Loyal Orangewomen and 70 bands. Three newly formed Junior lodges will also be on parade at their first Twelfth.

This year, to mark the Somme centenary, the parade will be headed by First World War ‘soldiers’ dressed in period costume. They will walk behind the memorial bannerette, bearing names of 31 members in Co Fermanagh murdered by IRA terrorists. The Fermanagh districts are: Enniskillen, Kinawley, Glenawley, Ballinamallard, Lisnarick, Pettigo, Magheraboy, Churchill, Maguiresbridge, Garrison, Tempo, Newtownbutler, Lisbellaw, Brookeborough, Lisnaskea and Maguiresbridge. Lodges and bands move off at 12.30pm from Killyshambley at Tempo Road before proceeding through the village to Lisnaskea Road.

Platform proceedings commence at 2.30pm, chaired by Fermanagh County Master Stuart Brooker. Guest speaker will be Abraham Storey, Co Cavan Chaplain. Fermanagh Grand Lodge has a reputation for hosting various groups at the Twelfth. This year, cross-party Westminster MPs and support staff from the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster will be in attendance, joining Ulster Unionist MP and local Orangeman Tom Elliott.


Grand Master of Ireland, Edward Stevenson will be among those taking part in the largest Co Londonderry parade, with 3,000 Orangemen from 60 lodges headed by 50 bands. Limavady District will be joined by Coleraine, Macosquin, City of Londonderry and Raphoe (Co Donegal) districts. with Scottish bands and brethren also expected.

The parade starts at noon from Church Street and will move through the town centre to Limavady Orange field. Platform proceedings will commence at 2pm under the chairmanship of Samuel Calvin, Londonderry Deputy County Grand Master. The service will be conducted by the Rev Joe Andrews, County Grand Chaplain. The return parade leaves at 3.45pm.


Castledawson village is the venue for the South Londonderry demonstration with eight districts on parade – Castledawson, Moneymore, Kilrea, Magherafelt, Garvagh, Ballyronan, Tamlaght O’Crilly and Tobermore. Fifty bands will join with 60 lodges, moving off at noon from Hill Road, proceeding across the River Moyola, through the village to the field at Magherafelt Road. Platform proceedings start at 2pm and the service will be led by local chaplain the Rev Nigel Kane. Guest speaker will be Londonderry County Grand Master Hugh Stewart.


The village will play host to Tyrone’s largest Twelfth parade, with 70 lodges, from seven districts, and accompanied by 50 bands and Lambeg drums. Joining Coagh brethren will be Orangemen and women from Stewartstown, Cookstown, Castlecaulfield, Pomeroy, Benburb and Killyman districts. Organisers anticipate as many as 10,000 spectators will line the route, The main parade sets off at 12.30pm from Ruskey Road through the village to Drumconvis Road. Co Tyrone Grand Master Jim Emery and the Rev William Anderson, an Armagh Chaplain, will be the main speakers.


Six districts will be on parade in the West Tyrone village. The 4,000 lodge and band members come from 60 lodges and 40 bands from Omagh, Killen, Newtownstewart, Sixmilecross, Fintona, and Strabane districts. West Tyrone has a strong piping tradition and pipe bands will provide most of the music, complemented by flute and accordion bands. The parade moves off at 12.30pm from Strabane Road proceeding through the village to the demonstration field at Miller’s Holm. Main speaker will be the Rev David Reid, a Grand Lodge chaplain.


Twenty-five lodges and a dozen bands from Annahoe and Fivemiletown take part in the Clogher Valley parade and, in a long-held tradition, lodges from Co Monaghan will also be present. Lodges and bands assemble at Caledon Road with the main parade moving off at 12.30pm, proceeding through the village to the demonstration field near Aughnacloy College. On parade will be Murley Silver Band, who recently attained fourth place at the European Brass Band Championships in France. Guest speaker will be Canon Mark Watson, Co Fermanagh Chaplain.


Donaghadee is rich in Orange history. The Duke of Schomberg – King William’s second-in-command – and his army arrived in nearby Groomsport to pave the way for King William III to cross from England ahead of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. The North Down parade will be headed by Upper Ards district followed by Newtownards, Holywood and Bangor districts. Hosting this year’s parade are members of local Henry Ferguson Memorial lodge. The parade moves off at noon, from Warren Road to the field at the Commons. Fifty lodges and 40 bands will parade and Orangemen from England and Scotland are expected. To mark the Somme centenary, the parade will be led by re-enactors dressed in period World War One uniforms. Guest speaker is David Scott, from the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.


Seventy lodges and 40 bands will join the mid-Down parade of five districts – Comber, Saintfield, Lecale, Castlewellan and Ballynahinch. To mark the Somme centenary, Comber Square will be decorated with 12 specially commissioned bannerettes marking the sacrifice of local Orangemen who died. During the parade, lodge Worshipful Masters will symbolically place poppy crosses at the Cenotaph’s garden of remembrance. The parade starts at 12.30pm from Park Way playing fields and proceeds through the town. Guest speaker will be the Rev Stanley Gamble, a Grand Orange Lodge chaplain.


One hundred lodges, 70 bands and dozens of Lambeg drums will provide a colourful South Down parade. Organisers anticipate 20,000 people will be in attendance. Eight districts are involved – Orangemen and women from Bann Valley, Rathfriland, Banbridge, Lower Iveagh West, Loughbrickland, Gilford, Newry and Lower Iveagh. The 8,000-strong parade leaves Ballymacormick Road at noon parading through the town centre to the demonstration field at Lurgan Road. Co Down Grand Master Sam Walker will give the main address. Dromore is a town with deep Orange roots and is mentioned in the popular Orange party piece The Sash. Some of the South Down lodges have a strong Lambeg drumming tradition and drums will feature prominently in the parade.


Orangemen will follow in the footsteps of heroes at this year’s East Antrim Twelfth. Lodges and bands will symbolically proceed to Dunmore Park, which was used as a military training camp in the First World War. As well as the venue for a religious service after the main parade, part of the Shane’s Castle estate will also feature a World War One exhibition. Staffordstown District LOL No 15 will welcome eight other districts comprising 70 private lodges and 50 bands, from Larne, Sixmilewater, Antrim, Killead, Carrickfergus, Randalstown, Cloughfern and Carnmoney. The parade leaves Shane Street at 11am and proceeds to Dunmore Park. The service will be conducted by the Rev Robert Campbell, joined by Jim McHarg, Deputy Grand Master of Scotland.


Lisburn hosts the South Antrim Twelfth for the first time in seven years. Seven districts – totalling more than 70 individual lodges and 50 bands – will be led by the Lisburn brethren, followed by Magheragall, Ballinderry, Derriaghy, Hillsborough, Aghalee and Glenavy districts. Lagan Valley has special significance on the Twelfth, given King William visited Lisburn Castle and inspected troops at Blaris Moor, before stopping at Hillsborough, en route to the Boyne in 1690. The parade gets under way at 11.30am, proceeding from Wallace Park to Ballymacross playing fields. The return parade leaves at 4.15pm.


Thirty lodges and 15 bands and Lambeg drummers take part in the only single town Twelfth in Northern Ireland. The parade assembles at Wakehurst Road at 12.30pm and proceeds to the People’s Park on Doury Road. This year the host lodge will be St Patrick’s Church Temperance LOL 1123. There is always a strong Scottish presence at the Ballymena Twelfth and, this year, a Past Grand Master of Scotland, Magnus Bain, is a guest speaker. Others speakers will be Co Antrim Grand Master Robin Matthews and the Rev Ian McClean, a Grand Chaplain.


The picturesque village will play host to this year’s Braid Twelfth, Eleven lodges – 400 Orangemen – will be headed by eight bands and a number of Lambeg drums. Host lodge, Carnalbana True Blues LOL 595, will lead. The noon parade proceeds through the village from Coast Road to the field at Straitkeilly Road. Guest speaker will be North Antrim TUV MLA Jim Allister. The religious address will be provided by Raymond Adams.


The distinctive sound of the Lambeg drum will be very apparent at the ‘Triangle’ Combine parade in Ahoghill. Sixteen lodges, led by nine bands, will take part in the demonstration, held on other years in Cullybackey and Portglenone. The parade starts at Galgorm Road proceeding through the village to the playing fields on Cullybackey Road. Guest speaker will be the Rev Sherrard McKay, chaplain of Cullybackey district.


Grand Master of England, Ron Bather, will be guest speaker in the coastal town. Forty five lodges from five North Antrim districts – Bushmills, Ballycastle, Cloughmills, Rasharkin and Ballymoney – will be led by 30 bands. Orangemen and bands will assemble at Ramoan Playing Fields, moving off at 1pm to Quay Road playing fields for the religious service.


The north Antrim village is venue for the Independent Orange Order parade, where 20 lodges and a dozen bands will parade. North Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey is a speaker and lodges will be welcomed by Co Antrim Grand Master David Johnston. Resolutions of loyalty to the Crown and affirmation of Reformed tenets will be passed.