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Fifty lodges march out for traditional Orange Order parade at Rossnowlagh

By Claire McNeilly

Published 11/07/2016

Marchers take part in the annual Rossnowlagh Orange Parade in Donegal
Marchers take part in the annual Rossnowlagh Orange Parade in Donegal
Marchers take part in the annual Rossnowlagh Orange Parade in Donegal
Marchers take part in the annual Rossnowlagh Orange Parade in Donegal
Marchers take part in the annual Rossnowlagh Orange Parade in Donegal
Marchers take part in the annual Rossnowlagh Orange Parade in Donegal

Hundreds of marchers have stepped out for the annual Rossnowlagh Orange Order parade.

Fifty lodges from Donegal, Cavan, Leitrim and Monaghan, as well as visiting Orangemen from Northern Ireland and Scotland, took part in Saturday's procession.

The traditional parade took participants from St John's Parish Church along a one-mile route into the village and on to the demonstration field, on the edge of the shoreline.

The Co Donegal event - which traditionally takes place the Sunday before the main Twelfth of July celebrations - was accompanied by several bands.

Scores of tourists and holidaymakers staying in local caravan parks were among the crowds of spectators lining the route.

A religious service, set against the backdrop of the Donegal hills and the rolling breakers of the Atlantic, was held at 3pm.

The sermon was delivered by Canon Mark Watson, Co Fermanagh Grand Chaplain, and the main speaker was Lewis Singleton, Assistant Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.

"The two pillars of the Orange Institution are faith and fraternity," said Mr Singleton.

"Our members are pledged to adhere to and uphold the Protestant faith.

"This should be manifest throughout our daily lives but also through our regular attendance and active involvement in church activities.

"The religious component of Orangeism is well known - however, what is not as well publicised is the vital fraternal aspect of our organisation.

"This is not only within our own membership, but also involving the wider community.

"This is apparent through a number of well-established bursary schemes. These have been of most benefit to the widows and children of our members directly affected by the Troubles, but also of great assistance from an educational perspective for our young people."

Mr Singleton said the importance of training young men in the Orange Order for leadership roles later in life can't be overestimated. He added that the organisation's halls must be available for the wider community and the Orange Order must be proactive in local communities by becoming involved in local issues.

"Parades alone are not enough," he said.

"We are a parading institution but if we are solely about a few processions, particularly at this time of the year, then we are failing our community."

The Twelfth in Donegal has been held in Rossnowlagh since the 1900s.

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