The final countdown to the Twelfth of July celebrations 2024 is under way

Bowler hats have been dusted off, shoes polished and instruments fine tuned as the Orange Order makes final preparations for the biggest day of the year in the parading calendar – the annual Twelfth of July celebrations.

This year the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland (GOLI) will mark the 334th anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne at 18 venues across Northern Ireland.

Tens of thousands of lodge and band members will take part in the processions, with many thousands more lining the streets to enjoy the spectacle.

With upwards of 600 marching bands, including flute, accordion and silver, taking part, the event is one of the best attended community festivals in Europe.

The single largest Orange gathering in the world is the Twelfth in Co Armagh – the birthplace of the Orange Order – and this year the Armagh demonstration will take place in the village of Killylea.

Looking forward to this year’s celebrations, Grand Master Edward Stevenson said: “Our Twelfth of July celebrations are an event like no other.

“Across the 18 venues, we will have tens of thousands of men, women and young people taking part in an event which has been faithfully maintained for well over 200 years.

“Many thousands more will line the streets of host cities, towns and villages. There is simply no other event on these islands that can bring such vast numbers of people onto the streets as our processions, either by taking part or simply to watch them go by.”

Mr Stevenson added: “With the continuing growth of the Junior Orange movement we can say with confidence that this is a tradition that will continue to be upheld for many years to come.”

The senior Orangeman added: “Once again we anticipate a high number of international visitors to our celebrations, many who are keen to experience first-hand the spectacle of the biggest day in the parading calendar.

“Our parades are undoubtedly an impressive spectacle, with the high calibre of music provided by some of the finest marching bands in the country playing a big part in the festival atmosphere”.

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