Rossnowlagh: Sun shines for Orange Order's Donegal march

Orangeman gives the thumbs up at Rossnowlagh
Image caption Marchers enjoyed their annual trip to the Donegal seaside village

Thousands of people have attended the Orange Order's annual parade in the Irish seaside village of Rossnowlagh in County Donegal.

Members from both Northern Ireland and the Republic took part in the march, which is traditionally held a few days before the main Twelfth of July events.

About 50 lodges from counties Cavan, Leitrim and Monaghan, as well as the host county of Donegal were on parade.

Orange Order marches commemorate the 1690 Battle of the Boyne.

Image caption Lodges from County Londonderry made the journey over the border

The battle marked a decisive defeat for the last Catholic monarch of England and Ireland, James II, by his Protestant son-in-law, William III.

Most of the Orange Order's main Twelfth of July venues are in Northern Ireland but Rossnowlagh is a few miles over the Irish border on the Donegal coast.

The Grand Lodge of Ireland said Rossnowlagh was "surely one of the most beautiful locations for an Orange parade anywhere in the world".

Image caption Some Orangemen took a stroll along the beach after the parade

"The Donegal procession is renowned for its laid-back family atmosphere and low-key security presence," it added.

The sun shone on Saturday as many families and holiday-makers lined the route of the parade.

Marchers gathered just on the edge of the village before the one-mile (1.6km) walk into Rossnowlagh.

Image caption Senior Donegal Orangeman David Mahon (right) said community relations in Rossnowlagh were good

Donegal county grand master David Mahon praised the good community relations that exist in the area.

He told BBC Newsline that he wants to continue to foster those friendships in the county.

Mr Mahon said the Orange Order remains vibrant in Donegal with new members joining every year.

It is among nine counties in the Republic of Ireland that have active members of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.

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