Orange Order parade at Rossnowlagh
Thousands of people are expected to attend and spectate at the annual Orange parade in Rossnowlagh this Saturday, July 9, which returns after a two-year absence due to Covid.
It is expected that upwards of 40 lodges from Leitrim, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan, as well as visiting Orangemen from Northern Ireland and further afield, will take part in the parade.
The county lecturer of the Donegal Grand Orange Lodge, Norman Henry, said the tradition of marching and meeting with friends was badly missed in the past two years.
“It’s nice to get back to more normal times,” he said. “Hopefully the weather will be good. A lot of people have been asked if it is on.”
The annual gathering is renowned for its family-friendly atmosphere and minimal security presence.
The parade, which begins close to St. John’s Parish Church at 12.3 pm, and makes its way along the narrow country road - which will be thronged with onlookers - to the demonstration field, on the edge of the shoreline.
A religious service, only yards from the rolling breakers of the Atlantic, will be held at 3pm. The service will be conducted by Rev. Brian Russell, Rector of Drumholm Parish.
A collection will be held on the day in aid of Orange charities. The return parade will leave the demonstration field at 4.45pm.
Ballyshannon Gardai have advised, "The tide is expected to be in at 2.45pm that day and this will greatly reduce the parking space on the beach. There is also a risk that unattended cars will be flooded. Visitors are asked to attend early and use the designated car parks. All buses attending the event are requested to travel to Rossnowlagh via Ballyshannon. Please comply with the parking directions of Gardaí on duty."
According to the Grand Orange Lodge the rolling hills around Rossnowlagh and the magnificent coastline “provide the backdrop to what must surely be the most scenic setting for any Twelfth parade.”
Up until 1981, the Rossnowlagh parade took place on the Twelfth, just like the parades in Northern Ireland.
But, partly because July 12th is not a Bank Holiday in the Republic, it was decided to bring forward the parade to the Saturday beforehand.
The Republic’s only Orange parade has become a tourist attraction - and is indeed quite a spectacle for those tourists who unintentionally stumble upon it.
Meanwhile, the annual Twelfth of July celebrations - which this year will mark the 332nd anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne - will see 18 major parades in Northern Ireland next Tuesday.
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