COUNTY Down will be buzzing again on the Twelfth as Orangemen and women don their sashes and march behind their lodge banners.
The south Down coastal venue of Dundrum will stage a picturesque Twelfth parade for the first time in over 10 years.
The village, which last hosted such a demonstration in 2002, is expected to attract large crowds in excess of 8,000 people, both participating and spectating. Almost 70 lodges and 40 bands will take part in the celebrations.[caption id="attachment_40271" align="alignleft" width="390"] The Ballygowan Pipe Band with LOL 1207 in Ballynahinch in 2012.[/caption]
A total of five districts will be represented – Comber, Saintfield, Lecale, Ballynahinch and Castlewellan.
The procession will move off from the assembly field at 12.15pm headed by the host district – Castlewellan District LOL No 12 – and County Officers, who will be followed by brethren and sisters from the other districts on parade.
The parade incorporating a two-mile route will proceed through the village via Main Street, leading to the demonstration field at the Old Road (Newcastle side).
A religious service will be held at 2pm, where the guest speaker will be County Down Grand Master, Victor Harrison.
Ahead of the Twelfth demonstration, Castlewellan District will host a ‘Fun Night’ at Dundrum Orange Hall on Wednesday 10 July. The family orientated event, which commences at 7.30pm, will include an exhibition, food and music.
The stunning backdrop of the Mourne Mountains and the Irish Sea provide the perfect setting for this year’s Twelfth parade in Annalong.[caption id="attachment_40272" align="alignright" width="390"] Jack Orr of Ballykilbeg LOL 1040 with drummer boy William Edgar of the Johnston Memorial Flute Band in 2012.[/caption]
One thousand Orangemen from the Mournes, representing the largest district in the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, will step out in the County Down seaside village.
Despite being one of the smaller demonstrations, Mourne District can also lay claim to the biggest individual private lodge on parade, with Ballyvea LOL 343a boasting 148 members.
Fourteen of the 15 Lodges will be accompanied by their own bands, adding to the family atmosphere on the day.
Kilkeel Lodges will leave Kilkeel Orange Hall at 10.45am and walk the five-mile route to Annalong. They will meet their fellow brethren near Anthonys Road (outside Ballymartin) at 11.30am, before the entire District parades through Annalong to the demonstration field.
Following refreshments, the platform proceedings are due to commence at 2.15pm. The guest speaker will be Rev Bobbie Stevenson, a Presbyterian Minister and member of Mourne District.
Both Derryogue LOL 424 and Ballymageogh LOL 1036 will have new banners on display. Members of Cranfield LOL 907 will also be carrying their banner – marking the local area’s links to the Second World War – which received a runner-up award at the Orange Community Awards earlier this year.[caption id="attachment_40273" align="alignleft" width="390"] Ballynahinch LOL 620 marching on the Twelfth[/caption]
The District will leave to commence the homeward parade at 4pm. Annalong is hosting a Twelfth demonstration for the first time since 2009.
(A collection will be taken along the parade route and at the field in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care.)
The 2013 Twelfth celebrations in the capital city will have extra special significance as the County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast celebrates its 150th anniversary.
As is traditional, the parade will leave Belfast Orange Hall, at Carlisle Circus, at 10am.
The Millar Memorial Flute band will head the procession, leading County Grand Lodge officers and guests, as it makes its way along Clifton Street, Donegall Street, Royal Avenue, Castle Junction and Donegall Place to Belfast City Hall.
A wreath laying ceremony will take place at the Cenotaph in the grounds of the City Hall as members of the Orange fraternity remember the sacrifice of those who served in two World Wars and in the line of duty throughout the Troubles.
At approximately 10.40am and following the act of remembrance, Orangemen and women representing a total of nine districts, accompanied by approximately 70 bands, will then proceed via Donegall Square West, Bedford Street, Dublin Road, Shaftesbury Square, Bradbury Place, Lisburn Road, Balmoral Avenue and Malone Road to the demonstration field at Barnett Demesne.
Thousands of spectators are expected to line the six-mile route, including many visitors from overseas, experiencing in person the colour and pageantry of the Belfast Twelfth.
As part of this year’s Orangefest, an initiative of the County Grand Lodge of Belfast and Belfast City Centre Management, shops in the city centre will once again open at 12 noon when the parade has passed through the city. They will close at 5pm.[caption id="attachment_40275" align="alignright" width="390"] Barnamaghery LOL 11 from Saintfield marching up to the Square in Ballynahinch[/caption]
The large crowds in attendance can also enjoy on-street entertainment and avail of a mini market, featuring cookery demonstrations by some of the Province’s best food producers, on the lawns of the City Hall.
Platform proceedings are due to commence at 2.45pm and the chairman for the afternoon will be the Deputy County Grand Master, Spencer Beattie. Resolutions will be read by Belfast County Grand Master, George Chittick (enjoying his first Twelfth as the city’s most senior Orangeman) and Past Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Rev Martin Smyth.
The parade is due to leave the field and proceed towards the city centre at 4.15pm.
To mark its milestone year, Belfast County has produced an informative anniversary booklet recounting the history of the Loyal Institution in the city. In addition to hosting a formal dinner at Belfast City Hall, a commemorative plaque was also unveiled at Clifton Street Orange Hall in May.
In a new initiative, the City Hall will be illuminated Orange and Purple as dusk settles over Belfast, offering a suitable visual backdrop against the landmark building to end this year’s Twelfth celebrations.
Thousands of people are expected to attend the Twelfth in North Down, an area steeped in Orange history.
The Duke of Schomberg, King William’s second-in-command, along with his army arrived in nearby Groomsport to pave the way for King William III to cross the sea from England ahead of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
King William himself will be in attendance at the popular seaside resort as the North Irish Dragoon Society Equestrian re-enactors, dressed in period costume, bring history to life as part of the North Down Combine demonstration. William will do battle with his old adversary, King James, at the head of the parade providing a unique spectacle to the many onlookers.
Approximately 40 lodges, representing Newtownards, Holywood, Upper Ards and Bangor Districts – will be on parade accompanied by a similar number of marching bands.
Prior to the main procession, members of Bangor District will participate in a short parade through the town centre, leaving the Orange hall on Main Street at 10.30am. Brethren will then make their way to Ward Arras where they will meet with the other three districts for the main parade.
At noon, the procession led by Newtownards District will move off from the Gransha Road and parade the three-mile route via Castle Street, Hamilton Road, Savoy Corner, High Donaghadee Road, High Street, Abbey Street, Newtownards Road and Abbeyhill Drive to the Valentine playing fields.
The guest speaker at the demonstration field will be the Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Rev Alastair Smyth.
Among the participants on the day will also be Jim Todd, a past Grand Master of the Orange Institution in Australia.
A collection will be taken along the parade route and at the field in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Members of the Orange Institution will follow in the footsteps of King William when they parade to the demonstration field in Loughbrickland.
Over three centuries ago, the County Down venue was the rendezvous point for King William’s troops who had dispersed in winter quarters on their way to the Battle of the Boyne. A large stone marks the Army’s camp location on the outskirts of the village.
Upwards of 100 lodges and 80 bands are expected to take part in the demonstration, which is typically one of the larger parades in the Province.
Eight districts will be on parade – Lower Iveagh, Rathfriland, Banbridge, Lower Iveagh West, Bann Valley, Gilford, Newry and Loughbrickland.
Orangemen, joined by members of the Ladies Association and Juniors, will leave the assembly field on the Legananny Road at 12 noon and parade through the village via Scarva Street, Main Street and Dublin Road, under the A1 dual carriageway, to the demonstration field on the Grovehill Road.
Among the dignitaries on parade will be African Orangeman Foli Bruce, who is a former Grand Secretary of the Loyal Orange Lodge of Togo.
He will be joined on the platform by Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, and Samuel Walker, Deputy County Grand Master of County Down, and other senior district officers.
The many Orange banners adding much colour to the procession will include Loughbrickland’s new district bannerette. It is painted in memory of local Orangeman Graeme Kilpatrick, who died in a tragic farm accident last year
A special tribute by Drumlough Heroes LOL 153 (Rathfriland) marking the centenary last year of the sinking of the Titanic will also be on display. Their bannerette was painted in honour of a Past Master of the Lodge – Thomas Rowan Morrow – who was the only third class passenger from Ulster to perish onboard the famous vessel in 1912. The south Down Lodge won the Best New Banner Award at this year’s Orange Community Awards.
The parade marks the culmination of the Twelfth celebrations in the village following a week-long community festival.
The activities organised by the Loughbrickland and District Rural Development Association commence with a Grand Fete, including a fireworks display, in the demonstration field on July 6.
Other events include a treasure hunt, a historical re-enactment, a workshop looking at the influence of Scottish settlers in the area and an open air Songs of Praise.
The return parade, following the religious service, is due to leave the field at 4pm and will proceed via the Dublin Road and Main Street to the Banbridge Road prior to dispersal.
The Twelfth was last held in Loughbrickland in 2005.