Mayor enjoys beating the retreat

Preparing to enjoy the occasion in the august setting of The Royal School are, from left, Captain Rob Graham of 2 Royal Irish Regiment; Alderman Victor Robinson, Mayor of Newtownabbey, Vicky Robinson, Mayoress of Newtownabbey, and Lieutenant Michael Baker. INNT 40-551-CON
Preparing to enjoy the occasion in the august setting of The Royal School are, from left, Captain Rob Graham of 2 Royal Irish Regiment; Alderman Victor Robinson, Mayor of Newtownabbey, Vicky Robinson, Mayoress of Newtownabbey, and Lieutenant Michael Baker. INNT 40-551-CON

The Mayor and Mayoress of Newtownabbey travelled to The Royal School Armagh recently for a particularly colourful history lesson.

They joined guests and pupils, past and present, to watch the 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment Beating Retreat, a military ceremony dating back to the 16th century when it was used to recall patrolling units to the castle they were defending.

Originally the ceremony was known as ‘Watch Setting’ and the original call was beaten by drummers alone, with fifes, bugles, pipes and other instruments being added later.

Today it is played out in ceremonial form only and is a showcase for the military musicians and soldiers who take part.

The spectacle was conducted by 2 Royal Irish Regiment, Northern Ireland’s only Territorial Army infantry battalion, with a total strength of 450 personnel.

They are based at Ballymena, Belfast, Newtownabbey, Portadown and Armagh.