The embers from the bonfires have died down, now for the main event itself.
Thousands of people across Northern Ireland will take to the streets today to celebrate the biggest day in the Orange Order’s calendar.
This, of course, is the ‘annual’ celebration which didn’t happen last year due to the pandemic.
And, although some restrictions remain in place, being able to celebrate this Twelfth will at least allow for festivities to take place across the country.
The big difference this year is that there’s no ‘field’ where brethren, band members and others can refresh and relax before and after parades.
Although the 500 or less rule for gatherings was recently lifted, the Order has replaced the 18 main demonstrations with over 100 localised ones due to the coronavirus restrictions.
It believes the smaller parades will accommodate more people so that more may attend in order to celebrate the 331st anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne in Northern Ireland’s centenary year.
The Grand Lodge of Ireland has issued a statement to the public requesting them to respect the Covid-19 guidelines while they are at the demonstrations.
Spectators have been advised to choose only one parade to attend, to avoid standing in crowds or walking alongside the parade, and to wear face coverings when appropriate.
Grand Master Edward Stevenson said they want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable Twelfth of July adding that “the best way to do that is to look after yourself and others by respecting health advice”.
“We have endured a difficult 18 months, having cancelled our meetings and parades, for the good of all in the community,” he said.
“Last year it was the ‘Twelfth at Home’ but thankfully this year, with the restrictions suitably eased, we are in a position to have District parades right across Northern Ireland.
“These smaller demonstrations will help reduce crowds, remove the need for travelling long distances to see a parade and ensure that we as an Institution continue to put the safety of everyone to the fore.”
Mr Stevenson added: “This is for one year only and we are focused on having our traditional Twelfth of July celebrations in 2022.”
The County Grand Orange Lodge of Belfast will oversee six parades across the city.
These will be staged at Carlisle Circus — Barnett’s Demesne (starting at 10am), North Belfast (11am), Ballynafeigh (11am), South Belfast (11.30am), Shankill (11.30am) and East Belfast (11.50am). Details of the routes can be found online.
A police spokesperson said: “If you are planning on taking part on cultural celebrations over the weekend, please enjoy yourself safely and be respectful of others.”
Weather-wise, the Met Office is forecasting a bit of a mixed bag for Monday. It’s expected to start off cloudy but there should be sunny intervals by late morning.
Sunshine and scattered thundery showers are also likely, with showers mainly inland.
There’s 40% chance of rain in Belfast, with a maximum temperature of 20°C forecast.
Meanwhile, Translink has announced a number of timetable changes. To check please visit https://www.translink.co.uk/timetables