Belfast Telegraph

15,000 on streets to remember Derry siege

By Donna Deeney

Londonderry was the destination for 15,000 people who came to see the Apprentice Boys parade to commemorate events of 1689 when Catholic King James II laid siege to the city.



Spectators, band members and Apprentice Boys Clubs from all over Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Canada watched or took part in the colourful march which brought the week-long Maiden City Festival to a close.

Talks, for a number of years, between local elected representatives, church leaders, Apprentice Boys, community leaders and traders have meant that this is one of the least troublesome parades in the country.

Unfortunately, rioting broke out in the Bogside later but the parade itself was unaffected.

Two protests by dissident republicans were held while the marchers passed through the city centre.

Before the first of the 140 bands left Duke Street in the Waterside to make its way across the Craigavon Bridge to the cityside, the crowds were entertained by the Crimson Players who re-enacted the last days of the siege.

The half-hour performance, complete with musket fire and cannon roar, captivated those watching, many of them seeing the dramatisation for the first time, and while there had been sporadic showers of rain all day, the sun shone for the duration of the play.

The Black Skull band from Glasgow led the way for the Apprentice Boys of Derry, among them the mayor Maurice Devenney, MLA William Hay and MP Gregory Campbell.

For almost two hours the parade made its way along the route through the city, up Carlisle Road, Ferryquay Street, across the Diamond, up Bishop’s Street and along the Fountain before going back to the Waterside, where there were huge numbers of spectators.

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