The Excitment is Building!

Only two sleeps to go till the big parade, and I’m starting to get quite excited about it.  It has only been the last two weeks that it has dawned on me this is likely to be a special occasion, one to remember for the rest of my life.  I still remember the Tercentenary Celebrations in 1990, the Belfast parade that year was extremely impressive, I had a bit of a role in it that time too, however the highlight of that year was taking part in a large scale re-enactment of the Battle of the Boyne in a field outside Cookstown, I carried the standard for the “2nd Battalion of Huguenots” leading them across the river and mourning the loss of brave Duke Schomberg.  The Diamond celebration in 1995 were also memorable in the rolling hills and orchards of Armagh, but I’m starting to sense Saturday is going to be something equally special, grander and more poignant, with the characters we remember sharing our names and faces, addresses, churches and lodge numbers.

Normally the biggest parade of the year is the Relief of Derry Celebrations in August, with about 140 bands and clubs, most of those bands will have completed the five mile parade before my club & band has started, now try to picture up to 200 bands and lodges parading 3 or 4 deep,  a solid mass of people from Sandy Row to the steps of Stormont, then double it,  that I think will be quite a sight and sound, there will be a good selection of silver, pipes and accordions however of course it will still be mainly flutes, which many of us will still clearly hear 3 or 4 days later!

For me the novelty of parading in the city will be something that makes it more of an occasion, with the culture being slightly different, in the country we sometimes take the dignified observing of parades a little too seriously,  in the city you have a more responsive audience cheering and clapping and occasionally dancing along!  I expect Saturday to be just the right mix of town and country to ensure the best of both worlds on this ossacion.  Parading through built up urban areas also adds to the occasion, the colour, symbolism and structure of the parade often refects the history and architecture of the urban Landscape, even for a little while reclaiming the streets for the people from the car.  I have paraded in London and Toronto in the past, but I think Belfast can hold its own.

From our two local villages we are taking two bands, one silver and one accordion, and a total of 4 buses at present, the Silver Band has the immense privilege of leading the entire parade with the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, a great honour for them and the district.  We would hope to have over 100 members parading  behind the accordion band, unfortunately the alphabet seems to place Tyrone rather far back in the parade so we could be waiting quite a while to even start!

Most importantly I won’t forget the reason I am parading on this occasion, having already attended a parade and service on Sunday as part of the Covenant Commemorations, it really struck home what the original covenanters signed up to when I saw all the WWI memorial in the church, it was more than just a parade and form of protest to them.  They of course went on to sign a different roll and some including members of my own family didn’t come home, personally I believe what was achieved by their generation was one of the greatest displays of community activism and solidarity in the annals of history, it is worthy of remembering.

Forgiving Churchill his betrayal at that time and dreary steeples comment after, his later tribute to Northern Ireland after World War Two shows the true reward for all those who signed that day, the free world owes them a debt of thanks and I hope at least some will celebrate with us on Saturday.


  • Hopping The Border

    “maybe he was acting in his capacity as a member of the public, he did also comment that he had been drinking (or at least he was in) in a local pub, “Semantics” maybe yes, however the PCs bollacks gives room for such.” .

    (a) maybe he was acting in his capacity as a member of the public.

    Why would any member of the public put themselves right in the middle of a contentious parade flashpoint during a parade?

    And why would the PSNI let anyone who wasn’t claiming to be either a protester (within proscribed limits), marcher, steward or journalist (a category I forgot earlier) since to do so would allow a potential spark point.

    As such, highly unlikely.

    (b) he did also comment that he had been drinking (or at least he was in) in a local pub


    (c) “Semantics”

    I have, on countless occasions ignored your complete inability to use the words where and were in their correct context just as I would not normally point out your incorrect spelling of ” digress” above since pointing out a fellow poster’s grammatical inaccuracies smacks of desperation.

    As such I would ask you to extend to me the same courtesy when I occasionally use the wrong phrase, as you have correctly pointed out in this instance.

    One should not throw stones in a glass house.

    (d) however the PCs bollacks gives room for such

    I really don’t see how.

  • lamhdearg2

    you give me to much credence, or as sollozzo put it, “You think too much of me, kid. I am not that clever.”

    I never correct spelling, without something along the lines of yours above, ie glass houses.

  • lamhdearg2

    Good nights sleep last night, “The Excitment” of the day and the walk took its toll, It would be nice if this thread could now be given over to those who enjoyed their day.

  • HeinzGuderian

    So the parade passed off peacefully…… this why our nat/rep chums seem so upset ? 😉

  • An Ceide

    apart from hearing it mentioned in the news I would never have known there where any parades yesterday, its just funny to log in here to read how some people get so wound up and excited by this state’s little sideshows.

  • lamhdearg2

    An Ceide, your comment may be more relevent, if we knew where you were yesterday. if you were not on the route, then the fact that you did not know of the parade, is what would be expected.
    no harm done to you anyway, you where not offended in any way.

  • Submariner

    Coventer/Lodger I see it didnt take you long to re appear after Mick blackspotted you. What was it this time a quick change of IP address and a new hotmail account. I will give it a month before y
    ou are banned again you really cant help your self. lol

  • Covenanter

    “There was a mandate in 1918. As the majority of representatives wanted independence. It’s not the Irish people’s fault that the British operate a First Past the Post system. Unless you’re suggesting that Britain isn’t a democracy”

    I am pointing out that the majority of people in Ireland who voted did not vote for Sinn Fein. The majority opted for either the status quo within the UK, or home rule within the UK. Many more did not feel that the matter was of enough consequence for them to bother voting at all. The republican claim to have a mandate for an independent Ireland based on the 1918 election, which was not a referendum anyway, is simply nonsense.

    They also launched a murder campaign based on that election result despite the fact that they did not stand on a platform advocating violence. Indeed the British were not long out of the Free State before Irish republicans were being massacred by Free State troops.

  • Dont Drink Bleach

    So this is what I said on Friday afternoon:
    Dont Drink Bleach – 28 September 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Given that the residents have been shown to be unwilling to talk to the Loyal Orders to try and reach agreement, Sinn Fein will be out to try and find any tiny misdeed by Loyalists to take the spotlight off the Carrick Hillers.

    A band accidentally having to stop outside St Patricks (or St Matthews) because of a halt in the parade, a drummer drumming ‘too hard’, a supporter enjoying the day too much or someone walking in a circle/triangle/parallelogram could all lead to another feeding frenzy from Sinn Fein/Chris Donnelly/Irish News.

    No doubt the rest of our gullbile media will simply copy-and-paste the SF press release without questioning it (as they did with the Conway band on the 12th).

    I urge all participants and supporters to be on the lookout for Sinn Fein cameramen throughout the parade as they seek to turn an innocuous molehill into another sectarian mountain as they did on the 12th with St Patricks.

    Within an hour of the parade passing St Patricks church we had Nationalist resident Frank Dempsey (who doesn’t live on the parade route) saying:

    “With one band in particular, the bass drummer danced outside St Patrick’s and nobody can work out what type of hymn that was.”

    St Patricks’ priest Michael Sheehan also commented:

    “There was a lot of vigour used in some drums and yes that could be considered as a bit defiant maybe,”

    We had mutliple SF press releases on the day of the parade and a hypocritical, baiting, troll-like thread on Slugger from Sinn Fein mouthpiece Chris Donnelly within hours of the parade finishing.

    (Apparently we can now judge an organisation based on who turns up to watch their events in public places…)

    But I think this was my most accurate prediction:

    I urge all participants and supporters to be on the lookout for Sinn Fein cameramen throughout the parade as they seek to turn an innocuous molehill into another sectarian mountain as they did on the 12th with St Patricks.

    Andytown News columnist and photographer Squinter went undercover in Stormont seemingly with the sole intention of looking in every dark corner, nook and cranny in every tent throughout the grounds of Stormont in the hope of being offended…

    Think it just shows that no matter what concessions you give these people and no matter how far you extend your hand in a show of peace and reconciliation, it will never be enough.