The 12th of July Parade

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Posted by wendy | Posted in blog | Posted on 26-10-2007

This is going to be a long one, so go get a pint before you start.

One of my dream is to see the 12th of July Parade. When I first started dating the Mister, he subscribed to Irish Times.

On occasion I would read it just out of curiosity (and there were no other stuff to read), and one day I read about the parade.

For me, a locale parade is to celebration of some happy event. For example, every year Campbell has a Christmas parade and it’s fun! We get free hot chocolate and Santa comes out in a convertible car waving to all the kids.

By the way, I am not making light of the the 12th of July Parade. I don’t have an opinion either way as to the emotion behind it. I am seeing this from a none Irish person who is married to an Irish person point of view. This is just the account of my personal feeling of the day. If you are passionate about this topic, stop reading now.

Phew, now the disclaimer is over, let’s get started!

The Mister put up a brave front when I suggested about seeing the parade. He was not exactly thrilled about going to the North during such an emotionally charged time. But he’s a good sport!

That week we were spending time in Sligo for the Mister’s mom’s birthday. When we told his family, the family didn’t discourage us from going, so I figure it must be ok. After all, they would know, they are Irish and live in Ireland!

We started in Derry a day before the parade and saw this.

The bon fire

People building a bon fire in the middle of the city. This is the biggest bon fire I have ever seen. I heard on the news that there are even bigger ones. There were also pleas not to burn tires (good call, it’s really smelly!) and steal each other’s pallets (another good call, might cause fights!)

Then under the recommendation of the tourist office we went to Borough of Limavady .The tourist office set us up with a pretty nice hotel. I saw my first Bentley in real life, it’s pretty nice. But the most important thing the mister observed was that, we were the only southern reg in the whole parking lot. (The Mister looked at bit ill when he pointed that out.)You can feel the excitement in the air. In front of our hotel, there’s a big valley, and people were getting together with their caravans lining up in anticipation of the parade. The Mister asked the hotel where we should go for the parade, and everyone was being non committal about it. I guess most tourists don’t go there on to see the parade.

We had a really nice room (with 3 beds!) and a great view. Around 9:00pm or so, the fire work started right outside of our room. It was better than any local 4th of July fireworks I have ever seen. It went on forever!

On a side note, as we came back from dinner, we saw another South Reg car in the parking lot. I think the Mister felt better than.

I bought a book about the Orange Order and read up on the history of breathern. Mister recommanded the book because it fitted better in my pocket. In retrospec, I probably should have gotten a different one. The one he recommended wasn’t very exciting. Just rattling on and on about dates and facts. I plowed through it as fast as I could so I can get the parade in context.

The next day, the Mister gave me a stern lecture about how this is a serious event and be serious about it.We drove into the parking lot behind a building and it was empty. I wondered if it was going to be bad because no one parked there. The locals were friendly and shouted at us that we didn’t need to pay parking. Score!

The Mister and I found a local coffee shop to get some breakfast. There were some locals that were goign to bein the parade I guess. (They were wearing orange.) The Mister starting to look ill again, exhibited in the following photo.

ut oh

He was afraid that our car was going to get vandalized. But I talked him out of it. Like I said, he is a good sport, and I think deep down inside, he really wanted to see it.People go to the event just to kind of hang out, it’s a good mixtureof the old people and the new people.

2 old guys

I enjoy the event. I have to admit, when the drumming started it, it was kind of scary (loud noises and all), but overall the quality of the marching music was high. People were friendly and proud of the parade. An old guy told me I should get on the street to get better photos and the other old guy asked me if I was having a good time.Of course, there were people who were very serious, but over all everyone was super nice.

It was all pretty good, until later in the day people started to get drunk.Here are more pictures from the trip.

hat and all

woman in the parade

** We later saw her on TV!

The young peopleDrummers