Twelfth of July: Why people march across Northern Ireland to mark celebrations

-Credit: (Image: Justin Kernoghan)
-Credit: (Image: Justin Kernoghan)


Crowds in their thousands will come out across Northern Ireland on July 12th to march and hold celebrations every year.

But what is the history of the Twelfth of July commemorations and why do we hold parades?

The Twelfth marks the victory of King William of Orange over King James II at the Battle of the Boyne, which took place outside Drogheda in 1690.

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The Orange Order, which was founded in 1795, celebrates William's legacy each year by parading through Northern Irish streets with a marching band.

The parades of the Orange Order are the largest public Protestant witness of their kind anywhere in the world.

The first Orange parades were held on July 12, 1796 at Portadown, Lurgan and Waringstown.

By 1798, large parades were held at Belfast, Lisburn and Lurgan where the General Officer commanding in Ulster, Lieutenant-General Lake, inspected the parade.

The Orange parades became highly contentious during the “Troubles” of 1968-1998.

Widespread rioting and violence has erupted on traditional parade routes in the past but celebrations in recent years have been mostly peaceful with parades commission outlining restrictions on routes which some parades take.

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