The Independent Orange Institution was delighted to be join the Grand Lodge of Ireland on the Ulster Covenant Parade planned which took place in Belfast on Saturday 29th September 2012. For months lodges in Mainland Britain, had been raising funds in an effort to take a large contingent of members across to Ulster in order to support our Orange Brethren . The Imperial Grand Lodge officers of our Institution had been invited to join the Grand Lodge of Ireland Officers at the head of the procession along with the Imperial Grand Black Sovereign and the Governor of the Apprentice Boys of Derry Association.
The parade turned out to be the largest procession of Loyal Order Organisations within the past 100 years, and proved to be a memorable occasion. Period costume will be worn by many on the parade as was seen recently on the Balmoral review event.
The Main parade left Clifton Street Orange Hall at 10.00 am and it was 2.45pm before the last lodge left the mustering point, nearly 5 hours later. As members of the English, and Scottish contingent of the Independent Orange Institution, we were honoured to be able to take up the rear guard and were the last to leave. As the Last members on parade we were astonished by the patience of the many by standers who would not leave till the last lodge had passed by. The support was fantastic and helped us on the long road to Stormont. This procession was met along the route by feeder parades from all over the City.
At Stormont Buildings there was the chance to browse around various stalls which had been put on specifically for the event. There was also a religious service which had already taken place by the time many of the later lodges reached Stormont at around 5.00pm.
All those I spoke to on the parade were thrilled to have been part of such a special day, as our minds were transported back to our forefathers as they banded together 100 years ago.
It may be of interest to some members to do a search using the following site, to see if their forefathers have signed the covenant.
Search the Covenant
Click on the ‘Search the Ulster Covenant’ at the right of the when you reach the page. Also note, in the Parliamentary Division section of the search, there are sections which cover England etc.
Ulster Agreement Parade (Belfast) Saturday 29th September 2012