Belfast Telegraph

Orange Order steps out for its annual Rossnowlagh parade in Co Donegal

The annual Orange parade has taken place in the Donegal village of Rossnowlagh.

The event traditionally takes place the Sunday before the main Twelfth of July celebrations.

Fifty lodges from Donegal, Cavan, Leitrim and Monaghan, as well as visiting Orangemen from Northern Ireland and Scotland took part in Saturday's procession which began close to St. John's Parish Church at 12.30pm.

The parade then travelled to the demonstration field, on the edge of the shoreline - regarded as one of the most beautiful locations for an Orange parade anywhere in the world.

The Donegal procession is renowned for its laid-back family atmosphere and low key security presence.

Lots of tourists and holiday makers staying in the local caravan parks, joined by many newcomers, were among the crowds of spectators lining the meandering parade 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, County Fermanagh Grand Chaplain, and the main speaker was Lewis Singleton, Assistant Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.

The Twelfth in Donegal has been held in Rossnowlagh since the 1900s and has taken place there every year since 1978.

Donegal recently formed its first junior lodge, Sir Albert Conyngham JLOL No 12, based in the south of the county.

There are 44 Orange halls in Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan and Leitrim and the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has members in nine counties in the Republic.

Rossnowlagh is the traditional prelude to the 18 Twelfth demonstrations being held across Northern Ireland, taking place next Tuesday.

This year, the largest and one of the most scenic Twelfth demonstrations have been selected as tourist flagships for the biggest annual festival in Northern Ireland.

The parades in Portadown and Kilkeel will provide an enhanced cultural experience and a varied programme of events, as well as offering the colour and pageantry associated with the largest day in the parading calendar.

The demonstrations on July 12 will take place in: Portadown; Kilkeel; Belfast; Maguiresbridge; Limavady; Castledawson; Coagh; Newtownstewart; Aughnacloy; Donaghadee; Comber; Dromore; Randalstown; Lisburn; Ballymena; Ahoghill; Glenarm and Ballycastle.

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