Orangemen will recreate a little piece of history when they follow in the footsteps of King William of Orange at this year’s Twelfth celebration at Loughbrickland.
The demonstration field was the rendezvous point for his troops over three centuries ago who had dispersed in winter quarters on their way to the Battle of the Boyne. A large stone marks the Army’s camp location on the outskirts of the village.
This year’s demonstration is expected to be one of the largest in the country with upwards of 100 lodges and 80 bands are expected to take part.
Eight districts will be on parade – Lower Iveagh, Rathfriland, Banbridge, Lower Iveagh West, Bann Valley, Gilford, Newry and Loughbrickland.
The Twelfth was last held in Loughbrickland in 2005.
Those parading will leave the assembly field on the Legananny Road at 12 noon and march through the village via Scarva Street, Main Street and Dublin Road, under the A1 dual carriageway, to the demonstration field on the Grovehill Road.
Among the dignitaries on parade will be African Orangeman Foli Bruce, who is a former Grand Secretary of the Loyal Orange Lodge of Togo.
He will be joined on the platform by Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, and Samuel Walker, Deputy County Grand Master of County Down, and other senior district officers.
Also on the morning of the parade Loughbrickland district will be unfurling their new district bannerette. It is painted in memory of local Orangeman Graeme Kilpatrick, who died in a tragic farm accident last year.
A special tribute by Drumlough Heroes LOL 153 (Rathfriland) marking the centenary last year of the sinking of the Titanic will also be on display. Their bannerette was painted in honour of a Past Master of the Lodge – Thomas Rowan Morrow – who was the only third class passenger from Ulster to perish onboard the famous vessel in 1912. The south Down Lodge won the Best New Banner Award at this year’s Orange Community Awards.
The return parade, following the religious service, is due to leave the field at 4pm and will proceed via the Dublin Road and Main Street to the Banbridge Road prior to dispersal.
Among this year’s resolutions will be a call to support the display of the Union Flag on public buildings.
“We look forward to a shared future where the Union Flag will be respected by all and our culture will be respected and celebrated, free from prejudice, hatred and intolerance,” it reads.