Former Irish rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll was among visitors to an Orange parade in Co Armagh.
He was in the village of Loughgall which hosted the flagship event for the Orange Order’s annual July 12 commemoration this year.
Orange Order member Aaron Willis from Loughgall said O’Driscoll got a very warm welcome, and that as a sports fan he was particularly excited to see him.
“We were just getting off the bus to line up for the parade when we saw him,” he told the Press Association.
“Then one of the guys asked him if he wanted to have a go on a lambeg drum. Everyone was so excited to see him and asking to get their picture taken with him, and he seemed to be enjoying himself which is the main thing.”
Co Armagh man Ivor Whitten snapped a selfie with the sporting star just before the main parade started.
Posting the photograph to his Instagram account, Mr Whitten commented: “Just bumping into @brianodriscoll in #Loughgall As you do. Absolute star and lovely guy.”
O’Driscoll tweeted on Thursday morning that he was in Northern Ireland to film a documentary about how rugby as a sport “unifies the country”, adding that he was “meeting some great people” and was looking forward to the documentary being aired in the autumn on BT Sport.
The Dubliner captained Ireland from 2003 to 2012 and also captained the Lions tour in 2005 in New Zealand.
He retired from the sport in 2014 and has since been working as a pundit for BT Sport.
Currently in Northern Ireland filming a documentary outlining how Rugby as a sport unifies the country. Meeting some great people and look forward to the finished product- airs late autumn on @btsport— Brian O'Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) July 12, 2018
O’Driscoll even tried his hand at playing a Lambeg drum during his visit to the parade.
He donned the huge historic instrument, with the straps over his shoulders, before taking up drumsticks and having a go.
A video of the moment has since been shared scores of times across social media.
The origins of the 17th century drum are not agreed upon, but it has become a key tradition in Orange parades, particularly in the Armagh area.
A spokesman for the Orange Order confirmed O’Driscoll was visiting the parade for a documentary he is making.
- Press Association