County Down Gets Ready For The Twelfth

Parade details for the Twelfth in County Down

Parade details for the Twelfth in County Down

Northern Ireland’s newest city, Bangor, is among the locations which will host Twelfth of July parades this year.

Check out the details of where the parades will be taking place in County Down on the Twelfth.

Bangor will join the likes of Belfast, Ballymena, Ballinamallard, Magherafelt and Kilkeel among the 18 venues in Northern Ireland which will be playing host to processions to mark the 333rd anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.

Preparations are at an advanced stage for the biggest day in the parading calendar, with upwards of an estimated half-a-million people expected to participate or spectate in what is widely regarded as one of the largest annual festivals in Europe.

Thousands of Orangemen, women and juniors – accompanied by in the region of 600 marching bands – will step out at the various locations across Northern Ireland with much pageantry, colour and heritage on display. 

The County Armagh demonstration – which will be held in Lurgan this year – is firmly established as the largest Orange gathering in the world. 

This year the GB News cameras will be focusing on Belfast, as the city hosts the longest Twelfth parade on the day, with participants walking over six miles to the field. A large contingent of Scottish visitors travel to take part in the Belfast parade.

Belfast and Ballymena are the only venues where Twelfth demonstrations occur annually, where other towns rotate.

Other sizeable parades will take place in Ballinamallard (Fermanagh), Dungannon (Tyrone), Coleraine (Londonderry) and Loughbrickland (Down).

“I know that tens of thousands of people eagerly look forward to participating in our parades each year – and I am one of them,” the Grand Master Most Wor. Bro. Edward Stevenson said.

The Grand Master highlighted that the significance of Orange traditions will be underlined by the scale of the parades.

He added: “I do not believe there is any other event on these islands that can bring such vast numbers of people onto the streets as our processions, either by taking part or simply to watch them go by. 

“It is a custom which has been maintained for over 200 years, passed through generations, and will continue to be upheld for many years to come.”

Wor. Bro. Stevenson will be in attendance at the Loughbrickland demonstration.

He added: “We continue to welcome an increasing number of international visitors to our celebrations who are keen to experience first-hand the spectacle of the biggest day in the parading calendar.

“To assist them we have a ‘Digital Twelfth Special’ which can be downloaded from the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland website giving details of all the venues, articles on the history, heritage and culture associated with the Twelfth.

“The high calibre of music provided by some of the finest marching bands in the country will certainly add to the festival atmosphere. We are really looking forward to another glorious Twelfth.”

The 18 demonstrations on Wednesday, 12 July 2023, will be held in: Ballinamallard, Ballycastle, Ballymena, Bangor, Belfast, Broughshane, Clogher, Coleraine, Comber, Dromore, Dungannon, Kilkeel, Loughbrickland, Lurgan, Magherafelt, Portglenone, Randalstown, Upper Ballinderry.

The Twelfth demonstrations will follow the traditional Rossnowlagh parade held in the Republic of Ireland on the preceding weekend. This year the annual Donegal procession takes place on Saturday, 8th July.



More than 1,000 Orangemen from Mourne District LOL No. 6 will partake in one of the most scenic Twelfth parades in Northern Ireland.

The magnificent backdrop of the Mourne Mountains and the Irish Sea provide the perfect setting for the procession.

The 15 lodges on parade will be accompanied by their own bands, adding to the special family atmosphere on the day in the Co. Down coastal town of Kilkeel.

It is anticipated that more than 1,700 Orangemen, women, juniors and bandsmen and women will take part in this year’s parade, cheered on by a crowd in excess of 3,000 people.

This year, it is the turn of Annalong Single Star LOL 1330 to lead the District Parade. They will be joined at the head of the parade by members of the largest Junior Lodge – Mourne District.

The Kilkeel Lodges leave Kilkeel Orange Hall at 11am to parade the 1.5 miles to the Leestone Road on the outskirts of the town. There, they join with the remainder of the District and return to Kilkeel finishing at Queen Elizabeth II Park on the Manse Road. 

Friends and family join the Brethren in the field for a picnic. 

Following the refreshments, the Platform Proceedings begin at 2.15pm.

The guest speaker at Kilkeel will be Bro. John McKee. Also on the platform will be Mourne District Officers, Worshipful District Master, Bro. William Baillie; Deputy District Master, Bro. James Morris; District Chaplain, Bro. Eric Niblock; District Secretary, Bro. Stephen Nicholson; and District Treasurer Bro. William Burns.

The District will leave to commence the homeward parade at 4pm.

Mourne District LOL No. 6 rotates the Twelfth on a four-year cycle, with Kilkeel the venue every other year. 

The last Twelfth in Kilkeel was a socially distanced version of the parade in 2021 due to the Covid Pandemic.

The Twelfth Demonstration is a family event with 14 of the Lodges parading with their own bands. The Lodges span the Kingdom of Mourne from the Silent Valley LOL 263 at foot of the Mournes to Cranfield LOL 907 overlooking the mouth of Carlingford Lough to Annalong LOL 342, LOL 1330 and LOL 1702.

Some of the lodges are celebrating significant milestones this year with Derryogue Defenders LOL 424 and Brunswick LOL 1702 celebrating 200 years from their foundation. Ballymartin Guiding Star of Freedom LOL 1456 and Glenloughan Loyal Sons of Ulster LOL 1914 celebrating 150 years. These lodges will be having their own celebratory events throughout the year. 


The village of Loughbrickland – where King William and his troops stopped on their way to the Boyne – will play host to the Twelfth celebrations in South West Down.

It is anticipated that there will be around 10,000 attendees and over 60 Lodges and bands on the day. 

The parade will begin at noon and will be led by the host District, Loughbrickland No.10. 

The assembly field is on the Scarva Road and the route of the main parade will include Scarva Street, Main Street, under the A1 underpass, Grovehill Road, arriving at the Demonstration Field. The parade is approximately 1.2 miles long. 

The Crimson Arrow Pipe Band marching in the Twelfth parade. in Dundrum in 2020.

Platform proceedings begin at 2.30pm with a formal welcome by Wor. Bro. Keith Murdoch, District Secretary. The religious service will be led by Rev. Bro. Rodney Magennis and the guest speaker will be the Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Most Wor. Bro. Edward Stevenson. 

The proceedings will conclude at approximately 3.30pm when the South West Down Area Conference Standard will be passed to the Standard Bearer of Gilford District LOL No.13. 

A representative of the Conference will present prizes for ‘Best Turned Out Combination of Lodge and Band’, ‘Best Turned Out Combination of Lodge and Lambeg Drum’ and ‘Best Turned Out Junior Lodge’. 

The return parade will start at 4pm.

Two of the Lodges, Gideon’s Chosen Few LOL 21 and Creevy Defenders LOL 120, are celebrating their 200th anniversary this year. 

Emdale True Blues LOL 407 will have unfurled their new banner in the weeks preceding the Twelfth, as will have Glascar Temperance LOL 1966 and Loughbrickland District Junior Orange Lodge, who unfurled a new bannerette. 

District No.10 are very proud of their District Hall, the Sir Henry Wilson Memorial District Orange Hall and the recently formed Junior District Orange Lodge which is going from strength to strength. 


Bangor will play host to the Twelfth of July celebrations for the first time since it was awarded city status in December 2022.

The seaside venue on the North Down coast will welcome Brethren from Newtownards, Upper Ards, Holywood districts as well as the hosts, Bangor District LOL No. 18.

More than 40 lodges and 30 bands will be on parade, with a selection of flute, accordion and pipe bands taking part.

They will be joined by lodges from the Ladies Association and Juniors,  including the recently formed Bangor District JLOL 18 who are taking part in their first Twelfth.

North Irish Dragoons will be leading the parade this year. In addition to this they will also have a campfire set up within the field at Ward Park and perform a live firing of historical weapons.

In a change to previous years, the platform proceedings will take place before the main parade.

Bangor District will form up at Bangor Orange Hall on Hamilton Road and make their way to the field at Ward Park from 10.45am.

They will enter the field where the Platform Proceedings will get underway at 11.15am. The Religious Service will be led by Rev. Mark Durell, with Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Wor. Bro. Rev. Mervyn Gibson, the guest speaker.

Lodge and band members along with their supporters and spectators relax in The Field in Dundum after the Twelfth.

The main parade will commence at noon and follow a route around the town before returning to Ward Park where there will be a range of activities and entertainment including music by Donaghadee Fifes and Drums, a performance from the Demi Walker School of Dance and singing from Clara Wilson.

The full route is: Ward Park, Gransha Road, Castle Park Road, Castle Park Avenue, Abbey Street, Newtownards Road, Church Street, Oakwood Avenue, Belfast Road, Abbey Street, Main Street , High Street, Hamilton Road, Castle Street, Gransha Road and returning to Ward Park

The return parade will commence at approximately 3.45pm.

A number of lodge’s will be welcoming visiting Brethren this year.

Conlig Village Star LOL 695 will be joined by approximately 40 Canadian Brethren from Birchcliff Bible and Crown LOL 2856.

Sons of Ulster LOL 1027 will be joined by a number of Brethren from Sons of Glasgow LOL 50.

The designated charity of the day will be Bangor Foodbank.


The historic town of Comber will play host to the Mid-Down Twelfth as they celebrate the 333rd Anniversary of the Williamite victory at The Battle of The Boyne. 

The Brethren of Comber District will be welcoming their peers from Saintfield, Lecale, Ballynahinch and Castlewellan districts. 

In total, 61 lodges from the five participating districts will be on parade accompanied by around 48 bands. Representatives from the Association of Loyal Orangewomen of Ireland and the Junior Grand Lodge will also be taking part.

The Comber Old Standard LOL 567.

A feature of the Comber demonstration is the centralised ‘Field’ at Park Way Playing Fields and a compact parade route which weaves it’s way around the town centre.

The parade will get underway at 12noon, led by the North Down Dragoons, comprising cavalry and foot soldiers in military costume of the Williamite period.

It will travel along Killinchy Street, High Street, Ballygowan Road, Railway Street, Orange Hall Lane, Brownlow Street, Glen Road, Mill Street, Castle Street, Bridge Street Link, Bridge Street, Comber Square, Killinchy Street and back to Park Way.  

On return to the field, the Platform Proceedings will get underway at 2pm. A Religious service will be led by Grand Chaplain, Wor. Bro. Rev. Stanley Gamble, while the guest speaker will be Comber resident, Deputy County Grand Master, Wor. Bro. Kyle McIlwrath.  

Brethren on parade in Comber will be joined by Wor. Bro. Michael Thomas, Provincial Grand Secretary of Ontario West from Canada.

Comber District will dedicate a new District Orange Arch ahead of this year’s Twelfth parade.  Having not had an arch erected in the town for nearly 20 years, the host District is excited to re-establish this important Orange tradition in Comber. 

A new District bannerette commissioned for the Twelfth will be carried ahead of the District Officers and visitors.

A great variety of pipe, brass, accordion and flute bands, as well as traditional Lambeg drums add to what is a family friendly, traditional Twelfth of July celebration where everyone will be made very welcome.


The Brethren in Fintona District LOL No. 8 will welcome their counterparts from Strabane, Sixmilecross, Omagh, Newtownstewart and Killen districts for a very family orientated Twelfth of July in Dromore, Co. Tyrone.

The 50 lodges will be joined on parade by two local lodges from the Association of Loyal Orangewomen of Ireland and junior lodges. They will be accompanied by approximately 40 bands, including a range of pipe, accordion and flute.

The parade, which is approximately two miles, will move off from the Assembly Field on the Omagh Road at 12.30pm led by Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and Distinguished Officers, County Officers, Ladies LOL No. 2 District County Tyrone, Omagh District LOL No. 11, Newtownstewart District LOL No. 9, Sixmilecross District LOL No. 7, Killen District LOL No. 12, Strabane District LOL No 14 and Fintona District LOL No. 8.

It will follow a route along Omagh Road, Main Street, Galbally Road to Demonstration Field at Trillick/Fintona Road junction.

The platform proceedings in the field will get underway at 2pm.

Special guests will include Worshipful Bro. Robert Abernethy, County Tyrone Grand Master, who will be the main speaker; Worshipful Bro. Norman Henry, County Donegal, Deputy Grand Lecturer, who will give the address, and Grand Lodge, County and District Officers.

The reading of the Resolutions will follow immediately after the service.

There will be plenty of food, refreshments and entertainment in the demonstration field, including a Drum Major Display and music. A bouncy castle and children’s entertainment will also be available.

The return parade will leave the field at 4pm.


The parade to mark the 333rd anniversary King William III’s victory at the Battle of the Boyne in Northern Ireland’s capital city will leave Belfast Orange Hall, at Carlisle Circus, at 10am.

As is tradition, the Millar Memorial Flute band will lead the parade as it makes its way along Clifton Street, Donegall Street, Royal Avenue and Donegall Place to Belfast City Hall.

A wreath laying ceremony will take place at the Cenotaph in the grounds of the City Hall shortly before 10.30am and the parade will then proceed via Donegall Square West, Bedford Street, Dublin Road, Shaftsbury Square, Bradbury Place, Lisburn Road, Balmoral Avenue and Malone Road to the field at Barnett’s Demesne. 

Orangemen and women representing a total of nine districts – accompanied by approximately 60 bands – will walk the six-mile route, traditionally the longest of all the Twelfth demonstrations. 

As usual, thousands of spectators – including many visitors from other countries – are expected to line much of the route through the city.

Most notable will be the large Scottish contingent who travel to Belfast annually to both participate in and spectate at the procession.

The platform proceedings at Barnett’s Demesne will begin at 2.30pm and the chairman for the afternoon will be the County Grand Master, Wor. Bro. Spencer Beattie. 

The Chaplain’s address will be given by Wor. Bro. Rev. Ron Johnstone.

Guest speaker will be Wor. Bro. William Humphrey MBE.

The return parade is due to leave the field and proceed towards the city centre at 3.30pm.