7,000 Orange Order members march in Rossnowlagh

Lodge grand master ‘extremely pleased’ that traditional Donegal parade has become part of the Gathering tourism initiative

Orange Order   parade in Rossnowlagh, Co  Donegal on Saturday. Photograph: Trevor McBride

Orange Order parade in Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal on Saturday. Photograph: Trevor McBride

 


The Republic’s only annual Orange march officially formed part of the Gathering this year as some 7,000 members of the Orange Order paraded through the seaside resort of Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal, on Saturday.

The march was highlighted as a tourist attraction for the first time as it received the official backing of the Government’s tourism initiative aimed at attracting the Irish diaspora to the country during 2013.

One visitor, Irene Huey, unveiled the new Doorin Lodge banner from near Donegal town to honour her late father Jim Duncan, who was a member of the lodge for 60 years.

Ms Huey (69) is ladies supreme grand mistress of the Orange Order in the US. She lives in Collegeville, near Philadelphia, having emigrated from Donegal at the age of 17.

‘Extremely pleasing’
The grand master of the Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson, told the crowd it was “extremely pleasing” the authorities in the Republic had incorporated the Rossnowlagh event into the Gathering.

“We trust those in the corridors of power in Dublin will continue to recognise and value the contribution of the minority Protestant community to the wider society in the Republic of Ireland,” he said.

Union jacks fluttered and more than 30 bands were in the 2km parade of 50 lodges from southern Border counties as well as from across Northern Ireland.

Stalls and caravan shops selling Orange Order souvenirs lined the final 200m to a prayer gathering at a field beside sand dunes. In the distance surfers crested the waves. Gardaí reported no trouble during the march.

Orangemen have paraded in Co Donegal since the early 1900s and since 1978 they have held an annual march in Rossnowlagh on the Saturday before July 12th.