Belfast Telegraph

Twelfth: Over 200,000 spectators to line roads for annual Orange Order commemorates

By Mark Bain

An estimated 30,000 Orangemen, women and juniors will step out at 17 Twelfth venues tomorrow with crowds across Northern Ireland expected to reach almost 250,000.

Some 8,000 will be taking part in the longest parade in Belfast alone.

A large Scottish contingent is expected in the city, with participants walking over six miles to the field.

Check out pictures from last year's marches: Belfast - Annalong - Beragh - Cloughmills - Ballymena - Cookstown - Lisbellaw- Hillsborough Bangor - Kilrea - Ballynahinch - Coleraine - Cullybackey - Clogher Richhill - Newtownabbey - Broughshane - Banbridge Ardoyne

A wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the City Hall cenotaph and the parade will then proceed along Bedford Street, Dublin Road, Shaftesbury Square, Bradbury Place, Lisburn Road, Balmoral Avenue and Malone Road to Barnett's Demesne in south Belfast.

Orangemen and women representing nine districts, accompanied by around 60 bands, will take part. Tens of thousands of spectators, including many overseas visitors, are expected to line much of the route to watch the parade.

The largest parade will be in the birthplace of Orangeism in Loughgall as the institution marks the 328th anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.

The parade will pass the Museum of Orange Heritage at Sloan's House, where the Orange Institution was founded in 1795 following the Battle of the Diamond, located on the outskirts of the village.

Other significant parades will take place in Londonderry, Brookeborough in Co Fermanagh, Ballyclare in Co Antrim, Donaghcloney in Co Down and Stewartstown in Tyrone.

Breaking with tradition, over 1,000 Orangemen from Mourne District will join their neighbouring brethren at the Newcastle demonstration.

More than 700 bands, including 40 from Scotland, will lead the 1,400 lodges at various locations across Northern Ireland on a day which Orange Grand Master Edward Stevenson describes as "an enhanced cultural experience".

"The Twelfth offers a unique opportunity for the Orange Institution and the bands to showcase our culture and heritage, and we welcome an increased number of visitors, tourists and families to all of our parades," he said.

"There are very few events on these islands that can bring such vast numbers of people on to the streets, either by taking part or simply to watch the music and pageantry."

The estimated number of participants - lodges, band members and spectators - is expected to reach a quarter of a million people.

The senior Orangeman added: "The Twelfth is truly a day like no other as we celebrate much that is important to the Reformed faith, our civil and religious liberties and our British heritage.

"Our proud cultural traditions will once again be on display throughout Northern Ireland."

Parades will be held in the following locations: Loughgall, Belfast, Brookeborough, Stewartstown, Castlederg, Ballygawley, Newtownards, Newcastle, Donaghcloney, Londonderry, Garvagh, Ballyclare, Aghalee, Broughshane, Ballymena, Portglenone and Rasharkin.

The Independent Orange Order's demonstration will take place in Portrush on what is expected to be a mainly dry day.

Belfast Telegraph

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