Sunshine greets North Antrim Orangemen in Cloughmills

PARTY GIRLS. The Colour Party from Causeway FB pictured in Cloughmills.
PARTY GIRLS. The Colour Party from Causeway FB pictured in Cloughmills.

BROLLIES were banished on Thursday as hundreds of Orangemen took to the streets of Cloughmills to celebrate the Twelfth.

After the wet weather of late, the warm sunshine gifted those taking part in the demonstration a perfect day and led to a more relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.

Following the traditional bonfires on the Eleventh night, it was down to the serious business of marching to mark the 322nd anniversary of The Battle of the Boyne.

The North Antrim combine, as it is known, involves the five districts of Cloughmills, Rasharkin, Ballymoney, Bushmills and Ballycastle.

It is one of the larger parades in the North Antrim area and regularly attracts thousands of spectators.

The good weather certainly brought people out in force on Thursday with all approach roads to Cloughmills choked with traffic.

Police actually closed thoroughfares when the build up stretched back for more than a mile on main routes.

Some suggest that this year’s parade wasn’t as big as normal with less participants marching.

Whatever substance there is in that would certainly provoke much debate, but it doesn’t take away from the colourful and smart presentation of bandsmen and Lodge members.

This year, Dervock flute band donned new uniforms costing thousands and Cloughmills lodge sported brand new ties for the occasion.

Visitors from across the world including Canada, America, England and Scotland joined with local brethren. One of the visitors was 81-year-old James Huey, a senior figure in the Orange Order in America, who links up with his home village, Stranocum, every year.

There were numerous presentations of certificates for landmark membership years around the various Lodges and after the parade it was back to the halls for a cup of tea and reflection on how the day went.