Royal Black Set For ‘Last Saturday’ Parades

Upwards of 17,000 members of the Royal Black Institution will be on parade at six locations across Northern Ireland, for the traditional ‘Last Saturday’ demonstrations, held this year on August 31.

Approximately 350 preceptories, most accompanied by bands, will take part in separate processions in Ballygowan, Ballymoney, Dungannon, Holywood, Garvagh and Seskinore.

Sovereign Grand Master, Rev William Anderson, who will attend the Ballymoney parade, said the Institution was looking forward to “another fantastic day of spectacle and pageantry”.

He said: “Our traditional ‘Last Saturday’ demonstrations are rightly regarded a flagship day in the annual parading season.

The Sovereign Grand Master, Rev William Anderson.

“We are expecting thousands of spectators to line the parade routes at the six different venues across Northern Ireland.

“Beautiful banners depicting Biblical scenes, talented musicians in the various bands, and of course our Sir Knights, bedecked in their Royal Black regalia – it all makes for a glorious display of culture on the streets of our beloved Province.”

Rev Anderson added: “I was mightily impressed by the huge crowds at this year’s Sham Fight in Scarva, and the number of spectators at the recent County Fermanagh demonstration in Brookeborough was also a great source of encouragement to me as Sovereign Grand Master.

“It’s clear from the wonderful level of support we receive at our parades, that the Royal Black Institution plays an important and cherished role in the lives of a great many people in Northern Ireland. 

“I pray that each of our ‘Last Saturday’ parades will be enjoyable and memorable occasions for all involved, as we witness for the Reformed Christian Faith.

“I wish all Sir Knights and our supporters a peaceful day as we come together in Christian fellowship to celebrate our cultural heritage.”


The village of Ballygowan in Co Down will host a Last Saturday demonstration for the first time in almost 40 years.

The last time the Co Down Grand Black Chapter descended on the village for its flagship event was 1980.

A total of 107 preceptories from 13 districts, accompanied by around 100 bands, will take to the streets of the Co Down village for this year’s parade, organised under the auspices of Saintfield Royal Black District Chapter No 12.

The districts represented will be Lower Iveagh, Lecale, Castlewellan, Newry, Banbridge, Rathfriland, Mourne, Largymore, Ballynahinch, Newtownards, Saintfield, Bangor and Comber.

The parade will number around 5,000 people in total.

Among the many preceptories stepping out will be the largest in the Institution, Elijah’s Chosen Few RBP 208 from Mourne District, with more than 250 members.

Around 11.15am, County Officers will leave Ballygowan Orange Hall to lay a wreath at the War Memorial on their way to the Assembly Field.

The main parade will commence at noon, leaving the Assembly field on the Ravara Road, joining the Saintfield Road, going through the village, and then making its way along the Belfast Road to the Demonstration Field.

Platform proceedings will get under way at 3pm, chaired by Colin Cunningham, County Grand Master.  A service of worship will be conducted by Raymond Adams, Imperial/County Grand Chaplain. The preacher will be Robin Fairbairn, Saintfield District Chaplain.

The return parade will move off at 4pm.


The City of Belfast Grand Black Chapter’s demonstration will be held this year in Holywood.

It is tradition for members of the Institution in the capital city to parade in various provincial towns and cities.

Approximately 50 preceptories, representing seven districts, will step out in Holywood, accompanied by as many as 30 bands.

A service of worship gets under way at 11am in Spafield Playing Fields, conducted by Alan McIntosh, City Grand Chaplain, under the chairmanship of the City Grand Master William Elliott.

The main parade will then move off at 11.45am from Spafield Playing Fields, taking in Belfast Road, High Street, Sullivan Place, Redburn Square, Hibernia Street, High Street, Church Road, Demesne Road, Downshire Road, High Street, Belfast Road, returning to Spafield Playing Fields.

The return parade moves off from Spafield Playing Fields at 4.15pm via Belfast Road, High Street, Bangor Road to the buses.

The City of Belfast Grand Black Chapter last held its Last Saturday demonstration in Holywood in 2002.



The Royal Black Institution, in its Mission Statement declares, that “we exist to study the Holy Scripture in order to understand the Christian Faith and its relevance for today’s society”. We therefore call upon our members to read the Bible on a regular basis and apply its message to our daily lives for as John Chapter 20 vs. 31 states “these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name”.


As Royal Black Knights, “we hereby reaffirm our loyalty to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Given the ever-changing world in which we live today, we are thankful that Her Majesty continues to encourage all her citizens to rebuild their lives within the teachings of the Christian Faith. Her example and clear sense of duty have stood the test of time and have been the bedrock of our Commonwealth and Nation in the past, and we pray for many years to come “


“We call all upon Her Majesty’s Government, members of the Houses of Parliament and all local Assembly members to set about the task of re-building our nation and peoples into one single United Kingdom, thereby making our Nation “truly united” once again. We call upon our local politicians to re-build trust and stability by focusing our people on the benefits of being in a strong United Kingdom.”