Lodge Life: King William set for Carrick Royal Landing

Pictured at the Royal Landing launch event at Carrickfergus Castle are (from left) 'King William',  Deputy Grand Master, Harold Henning; Mid and East Antrim Mayor, Audrey Wales; and Darren McAllister
Pictured at the Royal Landing launch event at Carrickfergus Castle are (from left) 'King William', Deputy Grand Master, Harold Henning; Mid and East Antrim Mayor, Audrey Wales; and Darren McAllister

Carrickfergus is preparing for a Royal Landing this summer.

History will come alive when King William returns to the Co Antrim town in June for the rebranded and improved annual pageant.

The re-enactment – the highlight of an enhanced four-day festival - is expected to be one of the most colourful of the parading calendar, attracting thousands of spectators and tourists.

To mark the 327th anniversary of the occasion, King William will be rowed into the town’s harbour where he will be met by soldiers and dragoons dressed in period costume, before leading a parade on horseback through the town.

The large crowds enjoying the spectacle will be able to avail of market stalls, street theatre, a funfair and live entertainment.

Plans for the inaugural Royal Landing were unveiled at a launch event at Carrickfergus Castle, attended by the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Audrey Wales, and other dignitaries.

Darren McAllister, chairman of the Carrickfergus Historical Re-Enactment Group, said: “We are excited about the rebranding of the annual Carrickfergus Pageant to the Royal Landing and we hope the change will assist the ever-growing appeal of the event. It’s our aim to make the historical significance seem as lifelike as possible as we have visitors from across the UK, Ireland and further afield who travel to witness this event year on year.

“The expansion of the Royal Landing to a four-day celebration event will be the result which we hope all of our visitors will thoroughly enjoy.”

Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Harold Henning, congratulated organisers on their ingenuity and commitment, ensuring one of the seminal events in Orange heritage is celebrated.

He said: “Carrickfergus is rich in Orange history, with its magnificent castle overlooking the harbour where King William landed in 1690 on his way to victory at the Battle of the Boyne.

“The Royal Landing is sure to bring our glorious past back to life in a unique way as it further establishes itself as one of the flagship events in the lead up to the Twelfth of July.”

Councillor Wales said: “I commend the Carrickfergus Historical Re-enactment Group that organises this event as part of the overall annual Carrickfergus Pageant.

“I welcome their decision to rebrand and relaunch the event and I am very pleased to be able to offer my support.”

The Royal Landing will take place from Thursday to Sunday June 8-11. The main Carrickfergus parade will be held on Saturday June 10, commencing at noon.