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Smaller parade as Apprentice Boys return to Derry’s streets

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Lundy’s effigy is burnt at the weekend during Apprentice Boys of Derry’s 333rd commemoration of shutting of the city gates, an event that heralded the start of the Siege of Derry. Credit: Martin McKeown

Lundy’s effigy is burnt at the weekend during Apprentice Boys of Derry’s 333rd commemoration of shutting of the city gates, an event that heralded the start of the Siege of Derry. Credit: Martin McKeown

Lundy’s effigy is burnt at the weekend during Apprentice Boys of Derry’s 333rd commemoration of shutting of the city gates, an event that heralded the start of the Siege of Derry. Credit: Martin McKeown

The Apprentice Boys of Derry took to the streets for their first full parade in two years – to commemorate the city’s previous historic lockdown.

Thousands took part in the traditional Lundy’s Day parade to remember the beginning of the 1688 Siege of Derry.

The procession saw 18 bands accompanied by Apprentice Boys march around the city before attending an outdoor religious service.

Normally, there would be nearly 30 bands and the service would be held in St Columb’s Cathedral.

The event culminated in the burning of the effigy of Lt Col Robert Lundy on Bishop Street.

Officially known as the Shutting of the Gates, it’s the most important day for the organisation because it commemorates the 13 apprentices who barred the gates of the city during the Williamite War.

Lundy, the governor of Derry, offered to surrender to the Jacobites, but the apprentices locked the gates in the city’s walls, marking the start of the 105-day battle.

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Lundy would flee the city but was eventually arrested and later cleared of a charge of treason, although his name has been associated with treachery and betrayal ever since.

The governor of the Apprentice Boys Graeme Stenhouse appealed for those taking part to adhere to the coronavirus restrictions ahead of the event.

“It’s been two years since we’ve had a full procession,” he said.

"This is the most important day in the Apprentice Boys calendar when we commemorate and remember the closing of the gates in 1688.

“Notifications have gone out to all our members that we are still in the middle of a pandemic and requesting that they be sensible, wear masks and conduct themselves in a proper manner.”

Last year, only 16 people took part in a parade, although smaller parades were held in different communities.

The beginning of the siege is also marked on Easter Monday, and the Apprentice Boys also commemorate the Relief of Londonderry in August. However, this August, the loyal order cancelled its usual invitation to branch clubs and bands to attend the celebrations.


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