Caption competition: “Laat drank brand uw vertsand”

Yesterday’s 12th parades provided the usual mixture of personalities. And encouragingly the overall character of the day was rather open and family orientated. But, forgetting the Ardoyne chaos, the customary hotspots hosted their annual drink charged revelry: with its participants scattering their detritus, philistinism and brash carry on for everyone else to see, put up with and later to pick up.

As my illustrated comment alludes to I want to home in on these more bibulous individuals of the day who carry the torch for a questionable heritage that has long been a feature of the 12th day celebrations. A topic I earlier touched on with this cartoon below:

I think that they call it culture, and I genuinely believe they think it is. But what is it they’re celebrating? If you ask them, the likely response would be that they’re marking with great enthusiasm the Williamite victory of July 12 1690 over the Jacobites at the Battle of the Boyne. Or am I being rather generous in that analysis? Quite possibly.

In the greatest of respect to these people I struggle to equate the spilling of foul language, alcohol and verbal carnage onto the streets of Belfast as celebrating the victory of King Billy. A Dutch man born in The Hague and imbued with an informed and open mind, tolerance, ambition and discipline: the most superior and commendable habits of character.

Yet those who celebrate him fail to emulate him. But rather in a warped exhibition of paying homage they conduct themselves in a manner opposite to all that William III stood for.

Instead of living for alcohol and revelry they could do worse than study, emulate and pass on the qualities of their fabled leader: break the cycle of poverty of mind and finances and embed outward looking habits of character that would help these people to contribute meaningfully to civic society and critically, the labour market.

But in the mean time, with hard hitting images singed onto my mind from July 12th of 2012 I had to put into illustrated form my conception of what King Billy should look like in order for him to equate with the behaviour of his champions.

The King Billy of July 12 1690 roused his troops by calling: “laat ambitie brand uw verstand (let ambition fire thy mind).” But it seems that across the centuries that that battle cry has been lost in translation with the call, “let drink fire thy mind,” appearing a lot more congruent with today’s behaviour…


  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    Of course you need to celebrate the booze – was in not King James’ troops that were so trolleyed they couldn’t fight lol!

  • Barnshee

    “James the shit” as he was called -nowhere to be seen on the battlefield unlike the boul William who was “out and about” during the battle.

  • “a lot more congruent with today’s behaviour…”

    I managed to capture some of last year’s behaviour in Ballycastle on camera – and was attacked by no-one, Brian, but the only drink-fuelled incident that I heard of was about some idiot who rushed out of a pub in Ann Street, harangued a band all the way up Market Street to the departure point and was lucky only to be decked there. A bomb scare briefly held up the start of the parade.

    Just look at that wonderful collection of place-names; Ballyoglagh might lead you to think of another organisation 🙂

  • redhugh78

    “James the shit” as he was called -nowhere to be seen on the battlefield unlike the boul William who was “out and about” during the battle. – probably checking out the talent if you get the drft.

  • lover not a fighter

    ” Sure if you can’t stand you can always get the Bus “

  • “In the greatest of respect” is a suspect device, Brian 😉

    Perhaps James’ defeat for his association with the Killing Time was viewed as more important than William’s win.

  • Mister_Joe

    From the BBC:

    Loyal order oppose gay marriage during Scarva speech.

    Does That include a homosexual man marrying a queen (no pun unless you prefer one).

  • “Loyal order oppose gay marriage”

    Perhaps they’ll receive support from the Pope – 1690 remembered 😉

  • The Battle of The Boyne was fought on the 31st June/1st of July. However, after the Gregorian Calendar came into effect, it was changed to the 11th/12th July.

    The ironic thing is that the Gregorian calendar was instigated through Papal law.

    This means that although King William won the battle on the 1st July, the Pope had decreed that it should be celebrated on the 12th.

    Where can I get the world’s largest #IRONY hash-tag?

  • between the bridges

    SB, before you get your irony hash tag, perhaps you should consider that the battle of Aughrim was fought on the 12 of july (22nd under gregorian) and this fact was a consideration in choosing a date that could be claimed for both battles, however the allure of the battle of the kings meant that for preceding generations the ‘boyne’ became the predominant piece of history.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Looking forward to your piece on Paddy’s Day ‘culture’ 😉

  • Comrade Stalin

    Stephen, I always loved that one. They’re marching on the 12th by decree of the Pope.

  • lamhdearg2

    sure did wills the 3th not have the popes blessing,

    however the drinking by some spectators** doe’s ruin the Belfast parade for me,
    ** I did not see a marcher, band or lodge, drink while on parade.

  • Fergie Pie


    Given the number of children, OAPs, families, Temperance lodges etc who take part in or watch the Twelfth festivities across Northern Ireland, it’s highly likely the vast majority of people on the day consume no alcohol at all.

    Out of those that do (myself included) 99.99% of them drink responsibly and cause no problems to themselves or others – also taking rubbish home with them and leaving their ‘spot’ exactly as it was when they arrived.

    Your cartoon seeks to make all 500,000 Twelfth participants and supporters look like violent, Buckfast-fueled alcoholics when that is clearly not the reality.

    Were you deliberately trying to offend/provoke?

  • Mister_Joe

    also taking rubbish home with them and leaving their ‘spot’ exactly as it was when they arrived.

    Alarm! Alarm! Call out the reality brigade.

  • sitarman

    I think the article does touch on some home truths. There is a large portion of people for who the 11th & 12th is just an excuse for a party…. but then do you think most people out celebrating (and leaving a huge mess) on St. Patrick’s day are really commemorating the arrival of Christianity in Ireland?