Northern Ireland

Huge King Billy tattoo for Orangeman to mark Twelfth

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Media captionThe tattoo took 22 hours and 25 minutes to complete

Orangeman Paul Williamson has marked this year's Twelfth in a unique way.

The 32-year-old marched through his native Ballymena on Thursday with a huge King Billy tattoo on his back.

The tattoo took 22 hours and 25 minutes to complete and is an exact replica of an image displayed in Cullybackey.

William III - the Dutch-born Protestant better known as William of Orange or King Billy - defeated Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690.

"Paul had talked about doing a King Billy tattoo on his thigh, so I asked him did he have anything on his back and, when he said no, I said if he did it the full size of his back I would do it free of charge," tattoo artist Craig Gilmore, from Chilli Pepper Tattoos in Cullybackey, told BBC News NI.

"The reaction has been fantastic and Paul says people keep asking to see it and he's having to take his top off.

"I have done full back pieces before of different natures, but this meant a lot to me as I was an Orangeman myself and this tattoo was done to remember the history of our land.

"This was not done to annoy people - it was done because Paul and I are very proud of our religion and to get it finished in time for the Twelfth was fantastic."

Twelfth of July parades took place in 17 locations across Northern Ireland on Thursday.

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