*The picture is unframed*
The “marching season” in Northern Ireland generally refers to the months April to August and includes marches by groups such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Apprentice Boys of Derry, and the Royal Black Institution as well as the Orange Order. It is a United Kingdom tradition stretching back over 220 years.
The Orange Order was formed in 1795 to maintain the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland in the face of rising demands for Catholic Emancipation. Enmity between Roman Catholics and Protestants had always been endemic in Ireland and was much exacerbated in the 17th century by the introduction into Ulster of Presbyterian settlers, by the rebellion of 1641, and by the war of 1688–91, when the Catholic King James II attempted to maintain power in Ireland after he had lost it in England. Inter-sectarian feeling became especially bad in the 1790s, especially in County Armagh, where Protestants, known as the “Peep o’ Day Boys,” attacked their Catholic neighbours. After a major confrontation in 1795, known as the Battle of the Diamond, the Orange Society was formed as a secret society, with lodges spreading throughout Ireland, into Great Britain and through Canada, Australia, New Zealand and parts of the United States.
The 1st July commemorates the Battle of the Boyne between William of Orange and James II, which was on 1st July in the old Julian Calendar, which is now 11th July in the newer Gregorian Calendar. The Boyne is a river about 30 miles from Dublin. It’s strategic importance at the time lay more in preventing Louis IV from expanding a European empire: The Pope, Alexander VIII, supported King William, so it was not as simple as Catholics versus Protestants. King William had Dutch, Danish, Scots, English and French Hugenot soldiers. King James II (and VII of Scotland) had French Catholics, Scottish, English and Irish Catholics.
The most notable Procession is held annually on 12thJuly, the anniversary of the Battle of Aughrim, at which William III’s generals were finally victorious in Ireland. The Act of Union 1800 united the Kingdom of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland.
In this Painting of the Orange Order March of Cloughmills, the three Lodges of Plymouth District celebrate where King William landed. Members include Scotsmen, Welsh, English and Irish. Orange Order marches also take place in Scotland, England, Ireland (Donegal), across the Commonwealth and USA.
The importance of the Orange Order Marches today are of the continuing allegiance of the Protestant Loyalists to the United Kingdom.