Thousands of Orangemen march to mark Twelfth of July

Thousands of Orangemen march to mark Twelfth of July

Thousands of Orange Order members have taken to the streets of Northern Ireland to celebrate the main date in the Protestant loyal order parading season.

The “Twelfth of July” events mark the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, when Protestant King William defeated Catholic King James II in Co Meath.

Marching bands and loyal order lodges paraded through streets across the region before congregating at fields to hear speeches and prayers delivered by senior Orangemen.

An Orange Order member ahead of a parade in Belfast (Brian Lawless/PA)
An Orange Order member ahead of a parade in Belfast (Brian Lawless/PA)

The longest parade was in Belfast, where hundreds of Orange lodge members, accompanied by about 60 bands, made their way through the city towards the demonstration field on the southern outskirts.

Union flag-waving supporters lined sections of the route to cheer them on.

The vast majority of Twelfth events are peaceful.

Over the years there have been many volatile flashpoints involving Orange lodges and nationalist residents.

A member of the Orange Order poses beside a portrait of the Queen ahead of an Orange Order parade in Belfast (Brian Lawless/PA)
A member of the Orange Order poses beside a portrait of the Queen ahead of an Orange Order parade in Belfast (Brian Lawless/PA)

The best-known include the Garvaghy Road/Drumcree dispute in Portadown, the Ormeau Road in south Belfast and the Ardoyne/Woodvale interface in north Belfast.

While tensions around Drumcree and the Ormeau Road largely dissipated as the peace process developed, the Ardoyne stand-off remained an annual source of intense community discord until relatively recently.

A locally negotiated temporary deal brought a measure of resolution to that impasse in 2016, resulting in largely incident-free Twelfths over the last number of years.

Stormont leaders have previously agreed to eventually take on the responsibility for parading issues from the Government, potentially replacing the Parades Commission adjudication body with a new model.

Supporters attend an Orange Order parade in  Belfast (Brian Lawless/PA)
Supporters attend an Orange Order parade in Belfast (Brian Lawless/PA)

That plan was subsequently consumed by the wider political fallout at Stormont and is now well and truly on ice amid the ongoing absence of powersharing.

A Stormont-established working group set up to examine ways to deal with the thorny issues of flags, identity, culture and tradition has made little progress.

A lack of devolved government means there is little prospect of any emerging recommendations being implemented in the short term.

- Press Association

More on this topic

Safety fears prevent council contractors removing bonfire site graffitiSafety fears prevent council contractors removing bonfire site graffiti

Orange Order vows to ‘re-energise’ unionist politics in event of general electionOrange Order vows to ‘re-energise’ unionist politics in event of general election

Belfast bonfire contractor leak ‘highly unlikely’ to have come from policeBelfast bonfire contractor leak ‘highly unlikely’ to have come from police

Firefighters see 'significant decrease' in number of bonfire calls at start of Twelfth of July festivitiesFirefighters see 'significant decrease' in number of bonfire calls at start of Twelfth of July festivities

More in this Section

Micheál Martin calls for new Department of Higher Education and ResearchMicheál Martin calls for new Department of Higher Education and Research

Government set to oppose EU daylight saving time plansGovernment set to oppose EU daylight saving time plans

Court hears man threatened to kill garda and her husband and made 'offensive' phonecalls to four othersCourt hears man threatened to kill garda and her husband and made 'offensive' phonecalls to four others

More than 50% of Irish people admit to wasting waterMore than 50% of Irish people admit to wasting water


Lifestyle

Close to Lisbon but far less crowded, this pleasant town is the ideal base for rest and relaxation, says Liz Ryan.Cascais: The dreamy Portuguese seaside town you really need to know

Here are some ideas if you’re finding shows limited in terms of representation.5 shows that will offer your child a more diverse view of the world

Mix up your usual Friday night fish supper with this Japanese inspired number.How to make salmon teriyaki

Limestone, a river and Theodore Roosevelt. Luke Rix-Standing peels through the layers of one of nature’s mightiest sites.As the Grand Canyon turns 100 – a brief history of the world’s most famous rock formation

More From The Irish Examiner