For the first time since 2003 Lisburn will this year provide the backdrop to the largest of Northern Ireland’s six Royal Black Institution ‘Last Saturday’ demonstrations.
In what’s expected to make for “a marvellous spectacle”, hosts, Largymore Royal Black District - itself largest of County Down’s 13 districts - will welcome on August 27 some 107 Down preceptories, between them accounting for up to 5,000 Sir Knights, accompanied by 85 bands.
County Officers and Largymore District will assemble at Lisburn Orange Hall at 11.15am before joining the main procession at Wallace Park.
The parade will leave Wallace Park at 12 noon, proceeding through the city centre via Belfast Road, Seymour Street and Castle Street, where the procession will pause for a short act of remembrance and wreath-laying at the city’s War Memorial, before carrying on to the demonstration field at the Barbour Playing Fields, via Market Square East, South, Bow Street, Market Place, Smithfield, Linenhall Street, Union Bridge, Young Street and Ballynahinch Road.
Chaired by County Down Grand Master Brian Hunter, platform proceedings will begin at 3pm and the preacher will be the Rev Stephen Walker.
Due to begin at 4pm, the return parade will go by Ballynahinch Road, Kensington Park, Saintfield Road, Sloan Street, Young Street and Hillsborough Old Road, where participants will board buses at Altona Industrial Estate.
Largymore District will bring up the rear of the procession and return to the Orange Hall via Union Bridge, Bridge Street, Market Square East, Railway Street and Wallace Avenue.
In the run up to the main event the Largymore hosts will open an exhibition of historical artefacts, memorabilia and photos charting the history of each of its 10 local preceptories.
Supported by Lisburn City and Castlereagh Council, the Department for Communities and Lagan Valley Orange Historical Society, the exhibition will be housed in the Robert Watson Memorial Hall at Lisburn’s Hillhall Road, opening 7.30-9pm from Tuesday, August 16 - when it will be formally launched by Lisburn and Castlereagh Mayor, Councillor Brian Bloomfield - until Thursday, August 18.
A spokesperson said: “It should make for an informative and interesting display of the life and witness of their work over many, many years in the local area, together with reflections of the Battle of the Somme, in commemoration of the supreme sacrifice of so many from the Lisburn area.”