HUNDREDS of Orangemen from the Carnmoney, Cloughfern and Sixmilewater Districts will make the short trip to Carrickfergus today (July 12) for the annual East Antrim Combine Twelfth demonstration.
Men from more than 20 local lodges will join brethren from Larne, Randalstown, Staffordstown, Killead, Antrim and Carrickfergus for the annual commemoration of the Battle of the Boyne.
This year’s celebration in Carrickfergus, where King William landed in June 1690, has been chosen by the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland as a ‘Flagship Twelfth’ - one of the main demonstrations - and is expected to attract tens of thousands of people to the town.
Around 8,000 Orange Order members from more than 70 lodges, accompanied by 60 marching bands from across the UK, will take part in the annual parade. Members of the Junior Orange Order, Ladies Orange lodges and members from England and Scotland will also be present.
Aaron Weir, Sixmilewater District Master, said that more than 400 Orangemen from 10 local lodges will be heading to Carrick for the Twelfth celebrations following their own feeder parades across the District.
“Carrick’s got Flagship Twelfth status so there should be plenty going on along the route and in the field. Hopefully the crowds will be out and weather permitting it should be a good day, as it usually is,” he commented.
Albert Steele, Carnmoney District Master, said that five lodges from the local District, accompanied by five bands, will be taking part in this year’s East Antrim demonstration, with a feeder parade taking place from Prince Charles Way to Farmley car park at 9.30am.
“The weather’s not looking too good at the minute,” he told the Times on Monday. “But hopefully it will get its act together and we’ll have a good day.”
Mr Steele confirmed that preparations are already under way for next year’s East Antrim Combine Twelfth of July celebrations, which will be hosted by Carnmoney District in Glengormley.
More than 120 Orangemen from the seven lodges of the Cloughfern District will leave Cloughfern Orange Hall at 9.30am for their feeder parade to Whiteabbey village, before making the short journey along the Shore Road by bus to join the main celebration. On their return from Carrick, the Cloughfern lodges will march from The Diamond in Rathcoole back to Cloughfern.
“Hopefully the weather will hold,” said Cloughfern District Master, John Stringer. “But no matter what happens we’ll have a great day, as we always do.”
Led by the host District, the main parade in Carrick will move off from Drumhoy Drive and Salia Avenue at 11am, led by King William, accompanied by a troop of pikemen in period costume with music by Sir Henry Inglesby’s Fife and Drum Corps.
Read the full story in this week’s Times...