More than five thousand Orange Order members gathered for their annual parade in the seaside village of Rossnowlagh.
Weather conditions in south Donegal were reasonable and the heavy rains that hit many parts of Donegal and the north west, were much lighter in the south of the county, making conditions for the only such march of its size and kind in the Republic a very enjoyable day for all who attended,
Gardai in Ballyshannon reported no incidents and traffic problems were kept to a minimum by a very large garda force on duty in the area.
“It’s been a great day, wet weather everywhere else it seems but the rain stayed mainly away down here today, and we had a lovely, friendly day, we love this march in Rossnowlagh, it has a very special air to it for everyone” one marcher who has been coming to the seaside village for over 20 years now, told the Donegal Democrat.
“For the past few days all the key spots around and near the main marching area have been booked out by everything from ice cream vans to chippers, so that in itself gives you an indication that this day is commercially valuable to many people also,” one local told the Democrat.
The march comes before the annual July 12 celebrations in Northern Ireland, marking the 1690 Battle of the Boyne.
Local Orangemen from all parts of Donegal were joined by lodges from Cavan, Leitrim, Monaghan as well as Northern Ireland along with visitors from throughout the UK and Canada.
The demonstration made its way along a one-mile route starting just outside the village, before a religious service at the field.
In the past year, €1 million has been spent refurbishing five Orange Halls. The majority of funding has come from the government.
A senior member of the Orange Order has told the Seanad earlier this week that members of the order from the Republic would like to have a parade in Dublin.
However, Drew Nelson, grand secretary of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, said the order “completely understands the challenges” such a parade would pose.
Mr Nelson’s address to the Seanad is unprecedented. He has been accompanied by other leading members of the order. Mr Nelson said the order had two main motivations for accepting the invitation to the Seanad in Dublin.
See Donegal on Sunday tomorrow and the Donegal Democrat and Donegal People’s Press on tuesday for pictorial coverage.