Orange invasion in Ballymoney and Portrush

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Thousands of Orangemen and bandsmen from across North Antrim will attend two local demonstrations in Ballymoney and Portrush on Saturday to mark the 324th anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.

The combined districts of Cloughmills, Ballycastle, Bushmills and Rasharkin – commonly known as the Old Orders - will visit the host district in Ballymoney to celebrate King William’s triumph at the Boyle in 1690.

Brethren from across the world will be taking part with a strong English and Scottish contingent joining the hundreds of local musicians to parade in front of thousands of spectators along the route.

The Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, Henry Dunbar, who will be the guest speaker, will make the journey across the North Channel to be in attendance.

He will join with over 40 lodges and 30 bands representing the five districts taking part in the annual demonstration, which was last held in the north Antrim town five years ago.

The main parade will assemble at the town’s Showgrounds and set off at 1pm on the approximate three-mile route through the town centre via Charlotte Street, Main Street, Meeting House Street, Newal Road, Trinity Drive, John Street, Victoria Street, Linen Hall Street, High Street and North Road before returning to the Showgrounds for a religious service.

Ballymoney is regarded as the most popular venue for the Twelfth. The town offers a more relaxed atmosphere and although it is a highly sensitive issue and one not widely discussed, many in the Order would prefer to parade in Ballymoney and Bushmills on a more regular basis.

In Stranocum the local lodge will proudly parade from their new hall (The Huey Memorial) for the first time after it was officially opened several weeks ago. The man who funded the project, James Huey, has flown in from America with his wife to be present for the occasion.

The Independent Orange Order will meet in Portrush and although one of the smallest parades in the province, the event still attracts a large following.

The platform proceedings will begin at 2.15 p.m. with Bro James Anderson acting as chairman.

North Antrim MLA Mervyn Storey is also on the platform along with his DUP colleague, Alan McLean, the Imperial Grand Master.

A total of 17 demonstrations are planned across the Province with Limavady one of three venues to host the Flagship Twelfth during which are aimed at drawing a tourist audience by showcasing a diverse programme.