The seaside village of Rossnowlagh in County Donegal saw a remarkable congregation of people as they flocked to witness the annual Orange Order parade. Drawing an extensive crowd, the event brought together around sixty lodges from Donegal and neighboring counties, including Cavan, Leitrim, and Monaghan. Joining the local participants were lodges from across Northern Ireland, who have made it a tradition to parade in Rossnowlagh before embarking on their Twelfth celebrations back home. Adding to the international flavor of the occasion, visitors from overseas eagerly joined in the festivities.
Ahead of the march, Donegal County Grand Master David Mahon shared his optimism, undeterred by concerns surrounding the weather. Despite the damp lead-up to Saturday, Mahon remained upbeat, remarking, “It’s just been a bit wet, but we expect between 35 and 50 bands and approximately 50 to 60 lodges. However, as usual, our plans are subject to the weather forecast.” The allure of a family-friendly day resonated with attendees from near and far, contributing to the buoyant atmosphere that encapsulated the event. Mahon emphasized the harmonious relationship between the Orange Order and the wider community, underpinned by mutual support and assistance.
Furthermore, Mahon shed light on the flourishing status of the Orange Order in County Donegal. “We boast several lodges, varying in size from 10 members to as many as 75 members,” he added. This year’s parade saw the debut of the Doorin Flute Band, a newly established ensemble from Killybegs. Holding a position of prominence near the parade’s starting point, the band was recognized for their inaugural participation.
Reflecting the excitement surrounding the event, Mandy Ellis, a member of the Doorin band, shared her enthusiasm, stating, “This is a momentous day for the band’s presence in the parade.” Ellis highlighted the exhilaration felt by band members who had never before played their instruments while marching, contributing to the vibrant ambiance. Additionally, Joe Cully, a resident of Canada who originally hails from Shankill Road, expressed his delight at returning home for the occasion. Having left in the 1970s and now residing outside Toronto, Cully made it a priority to journey back to Northern Ireland for the Twelfth, relishing the opportunity to visit Donegal once again.