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Just Another Saturday

How does one explain an Orange walk to someone from outwith Ireland or Scotland?. Here goes with a brief synopsis:

On July 1st 1690 at the River Boyne near Drogheda in what is now the Irish Republic, Prince William of Orange and his army (William the third of England and second of Scotland) defeated his father and law and uncle (same person) James II’s supporters, mainly raw recruits, assuring protestant ascendancy in Ireland and indeed in the United Kingdom. This event has been celebrated every year since by various groups, chief amongst them the Orange Order. Due to the subsequent adoption of the Gregorian calendar the date celebrated is now July 12th. Marches take place in July and August and are accompanied by marching bands made up of flutes accordions and drums. In Scotland, as well as in the former shipbuilding areas of Glasgow, the Order has traditionally had strong support in the former mining communities of Lanarkshire and Ayrshire. There was often resentment in these areas of immigrant Irish labourers and owners exploited this to the full by using Irish labour to strike break in the early days of trade unionism.

An organisation known as the Royal Black Chapter this week in the town’s Sheriff Court appealed a previous decision not to allow them to hold an Orange Parade in Dumbarton. The basis of the appeal was that not allowing them to march infringed their human rights enshrined by the European Court of that name.


The Royal Black Chapter have an annual march in Scotland and it is acknowledged as the second biggest of its kind here. I shut my shop for the duration on police advice and took some photos. Click on any one to enlarge:

There was a police helicopter, there were police boats, there were mounted police and police in riot vans. There had been considerable concern that those opposed to the march (there is a large Celtic supporters club in the High Street) would try to disrupt it. In the end those protesters were confined to one area and the parade progressed relatively free from incident.

This clip is from a 1975 BBC Play for Today, Just Another Saturday

The event cost thousands to police and severely disrupted the life of a small struggling town on its main shopping day.

All down to a battle victory from 319 years ago and some industrial unrest in the nineteenth century.

Oh aye, and religion.


7 Responses

  1. I liked the ‘why don’y you go home banner’ although even that has echoes of the Famine Song and would be regarded as just another bit of tit-for-tat banter.

    as Stephen Fry would say with a weary and resigned headmasterly shake of his head at the mayhem he is witnessing…..’tsk, boys,boys.boys’

    perhaps in another 300 years a’thing will be settled down!

  2. I’ve got no time for any of that pish, especially those morons that dress up in faux uniforms and expect us to respect them and stop the traffic for them. These are grown men, you’d think that they’d have grown out of it by now.

    However, if they want to march, I’d let them march. In fact I’d let them march every day of the week if they wanted. I would set aside a huge patch of ground, and build an 8 foot wall around it to prevent interference from those opposing it. There, they can march up and down all day if they like, in peace and privacy. There’s a large spare patch of ground just south of Dalmellington, right in their Ayrshire homeland.

  3. If you zoom in on some of the photos you can see an advertising sign for property consultants Mason Owen – it’s a pity that no-one thought to make the relatively easy conversion to Mason Boyne for the occasion.

  4. It is certainly not the second biggest.

    The largest in the UK is the central Scotland with over 10,000 processionists. The Glasgow one has around 8,000 and according to the Herald this year drew 100,000 spectators.

  5. Actually the conduct of the marchers and their supporters (leaving the nature of the parade aside for a moment) and those opposing the parade who had come to make their point was, in general, orderly. Credit goes to the police operation which kept trouble to a minimum.

  6. Well done the polis! But can we prevent this sort of nonsense happening again?

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