Ballyclare to host first Twelfth in a decade

Sixmilewater will welcome eight other districts lodges for the parade in Ballyclare.
Sixmilewater will welcome eight other districts lodges for the parade in Ballyclare.

Thousands of people are expected in Ballyclare on Thursday as the town hosts its first East Antrim Combine Twelfth demonstration in a decade.

Members of around 70 private lodges will be joined by over 40 bands for the colourful spectacle, which will be enjoyed by family and friends lining the route.

Hosts Sixmilewater will welcome Larne, Randalstown, Staffordstown, Killead, Antrim, Carrickfergus, Cloughfern and Carnmoney districts for the parade.

One of the main Twelfth celebrations outside of Belfast will get underway at 11am from Sixmilewater Leisure Centre on the Ballynure Road.

Brethren and sisters will parade via Main Street, The Square, North End, Ballyeaston Road, Erskine Park, Rashee Road, George Avenue, Foundry Lane, Doagh Road, Ollardale Park, Hawthorn Way and Avondale Drive to the field at Sixmilewater Park.

To commemorate the ending of World War One, worshipful masters from the nine districts will lead the parade for a short distance to Ballyclare War Memorial Park where they will lay wreaths to mark the Armistice centenary. Participants are being encouraged to wear poppies and two vintage war vehicles will head the procession.

The Great War will be reflected in the resolutions: “It is estimated that 200,000 Orangemen from around the world served in that terrible conflict which waged death and destruction on communities throughout Europe and the British Empire. This Orange family paid a high price and we remember with gratitude the service and sacrifice made by so many of our brethren and sisters.”

Guest speaker at the religious service, which will start at 2pm, is Robert Campbell, a Deputy Grand Chaplain of County Antrim Grand Orange Lodge.

The order will also reaffirm its “opposition to the introduction of any form of legislation for the Irish language”.