Orangemen ready for ‘Twelfth’ celebrations

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The Independent Online

Thousands of Orangemen are proudly putting on their bowler hats and sashes today to take part in dozens of Twelfth celebrations across Northern Ireland.

Members of the Loyal Orange Orders, bands and thousands of supporters were converging on towns and villages in all six counties in honour of the 319th anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.

Among the locations set to disappear under a sea of bowler hats are Belfast, Armagh, Bangor, Banbridge, Londonderry, Portglenone, Ballymoney, Ballymena, Lisburn, Lisbellaw, Larne, Kilrea, Killleagh, Glenarm, Fivemiletown, Dromore, Coagh, Annalong and Rasharkin.

The Orange Order is hoping a carnival atmosphere and open shops for the Twelfth celebrations will attract more people into Belfast city centre today.

As part of Belfast Orangefest, the Battle of the Boyne annual parade in the city centre will be complemented by street entertainment.

The procession will pass through the city centre between 10am and 12pm, with the city centre shops opening for the first time at 12.30pm and 4.30pm and drivers have been warned to expect disruption.

Lampposts will be adorned with banners and an information leaflet has been produced jointly by Belfast Orangefest and Belfast City Centre Management.

Street performance shows will also take place throughout the city centre. Among the international acts to entertain the public are The Von Trolley Quartet from Australia, Mario: Queen of the Circus from the US, and The Strangelings, who will present The Gaiety Engine.

Translink will also be running a reduced bus and train service.

Around 70 bands are expected to take part in Belfast this year. A service of thanksgiving will be conducted by Dr Victor Ryan, Imperial Grand Chaplain and the guest speaker will be Dawson Baillie, Belfast County Grand Master.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Orange Order marchers and their families will be enjoying similar demonstrations at the other main demonstrations and feeder parades.

From The Belfast Telegraph