Saturday 18 November 2017

Orange Order on the march

Annual outing to the scene of King William's famous victory


A TOUCH of traditional Ulster descended on the green, grassy banks of the Boyne for what has become an annual outing for the Boyne Obelisk Orange Lodge.

Amidst tight security, upwards of 70 members of the Orange Order and two bands from Donegal and Portaferry arrived on the northern banks of the Boyne on a glorious Saturday to once again mark King William's victory in 1690.

It was stated during the dedication of a new banner, depicting the former nearby obelisk, that the purpose of the lodge is to build a new memorial on the site of the obelisk, blown up in 1923.

Grand Chaplain Rev Mervyn Gibson admitted that the lodge members were delighted to be walking the banks of the Boyne ' where the bones of our forefathers lie'.

While the original 130ft obelisk was destroyed by 'Free State troops', he was happy that times had changed and appreciated the work of the gardaí in helping with the event.

He also revealed that in 1913/14, when there was a threat that Dublin might take advantage of the outbreak of war and try to take over Ulster, members of the UVF decided they'd make a stand by the Boyne at Drogheda.

They went on undercover missions, planting dummy explosives on bridges around Drogheda, including the railway viaduct. They came out to the obelisk and raised a flag on it and wrote a note ' they will never tame the lionhearts of Ulster.'

He said it was their intention to put up another plaque, but this one done in the peace of today.

The Worshipful Master of the Lodge, Jack Leetch confirmed that the resurrection of the obelisk remained a long term goal, but it all depended on financing.

He once again lauded the location as a place for people to visit and celebrate culture.

He said the lodge has 94 members, from all parts of Ulster. Those attending Saturday's event included Lord John Laird.

The garda operation, which saw a ring of steel placed around the area from Friday, was headed by Supt. Gerry Smith and included armed officers in fields across from the Crossing Field and members of the sub aqua unit as well as the garda helicopter.

Local motorists were amazed at the spectacle as a short road closure was put into operation as the marchers walked across the obelisk bridge.

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