Battle of the Boyne Celebrations - 13/07/09

The glorious 12th was once more upon us and what a day it turned out to be. Rain, sunshine, the lot.

The parade for us started at our own band hall at 8am. We left there with almost a full band to meet the lodge, the Beersbridge Temprance in Templemore avenue at 9.45am. The local district (No 6) headed into town to meet the main parade in the centre of Belfast. Large crowds saw us of and at no stage did i notice any residents from Short Strand getting themselves out of bed to give us a good send of, i was well dissapointed with them.

The main parade had already left Clifton Street but i did manage to see a good bit of it. Pride of the Shore looking the biz today, Harthill aswell as were Bridgeton Loyalists from Glasgow. The Shankill Protestant Boys, what can i say? massive in numbers. Shankill Star out in their new uniforms, well done lads. The lodges in my view were also out in big numbers. Plenty of visiting Orange men sweeling the ranks which is great to see. The crowds today were huge the entire length of the route. I dont know why but numbers were up from last year.

I know people have heard it before but the old drink problem is once again raising its head. Young people just dont get the message, im afraid the BBB (Blue bag brigade) were out in force but i am glad to say it didnt spoil the day at all for the overwhelming amount of familys out watching the parade.

Some of the best bands in the world were on show today. City of Belfast Fifes and Drums, Pollock Young Loyalists, Mourne Young Defenders, Netherton Road, UVF Regimental, Omagh Protestant Boys, Shankill Road Defenders, Gertrude Star, Pride of the Raven, South Belfast Young Conquerors, Onward fb. You name it and they were there and why not.

The Belfast parade usually takes 2 and a half hours to pass before finishing at the field. The weather in the morning was brilliant, crowds massive in numbers and the entire route bubbling with pride. The return route started with a slight drizzle and got heavy in places. But for us it was a godsend because the rain actually cooled the bands down and actually helped on the day. The crowds were 15 odd deep in Shaftsbury square and it was a struggle to indeed keep the beat going but the crowds always play their part with singing, cheering and dancing to keep the guys going, its quite a sight.

Below are a selection of photographs of the band in action in the outward route.

Full band Colour Party Drum Corps
Drum Corps Bass drum Flute Corps


The return route started with a slight drizzle and got heavy in places. But for us it was a godsend because the rain actually cooled the bands down and actually helped on the day. The crowds were 15 odd deep in Shaftsbury square and it was a struggle to indeed keep the beat going but the crowds always play their part with singing, cheering and dancing to keep the guys going, its quite a sight.



Below are a selection of photographs of the band in action on the return route.

Colour Party Colour Party Drum Corps
Bass drum Flute Corps Flute Corps


Our own district stops for a short break at the bridge facing the Newtownards road which is known in the East of the city as the welcome home. The entire length of Templemore Avenue and the Newtownards road was packed and for anyone seeing this for the first time you would have thought the day was only starting and not finishing. Anyone will tell you that the welcome is famous all over the world and it does give an amazing finish for not only Orangement and bandsmen, but the Protestant people as a whole. It shows we can go out and enjoy our culture and heritage without question, the Protestant people of this country are the most loyal people in the world. That is why so many flock to our wee country, to enjoy the sights and sounds of what is a truly a great 12th of July.

Here is clips of the band in action:
CLIP 1 - CLIP 2 - CLIP 3 -

I have been in this band for 35 years and today was one of the best 12th of July parades ever and i have had good ones over the years. Our own band paraded with 7 of a colour party, drum major, 18 drummers, 3 bass drummers, 2 cymbol players, 35 flautists and marshalls. Everyone played their part to make it in my view, a great day. We never dropped our volume or beat all day. Tune after tune we just got stronger. Even in the dreaded Balmoral Avenue. I cant sing enough praise to our members.

Over the past 6 months we have rebuilt the band. We have brought in new tunes, tryed different things and today young and old really gelled together. I enjoyed the entire day and i didnt want to stop. I thought our bass drum was going to explode at one point. The Belfast 12th for any band can be very hard to finish but today it was easy to do. The entire membership paraded without question. After me thinking certain things wouldnt work, i was wrong and thats down to the hard work over the winter and spring months. We even had great coverage on the BBC and that was the icing on the cake, we were well pleased!

I really must single out our colour part. The boys get alot of stick within the band but when they appeared on screen with their 2 swords and flags and marched with pride i hadnt seen in them in a long time.

People reading this will say China is blowing his own trumpet again. Well i dont care if i am, this years 12th was a cracking one. Hopefully we can build on this and can look towards the rest of the season and beyond into next year. Easier said than done though.

Again thanks to the Pilgrims for the entire day!

John Keenan
East Belfast Protestant Boys Flute Band Chairman

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