The County Armagh village of Bessbrook is to host a flagship tourist Twelfth demonstration later this year, the Orange Institution has confirmed.
Around 15,000 spectators are expected to enjoy the colour and pageantry associated with the biggest day in the Orange calendar.
Organisers will also offer a varied programme of events in the lead up to the Twelfth, including a pipe band tattoo, fancy dress parade and fireworks display.
Bessbrook is the largest of a total of 18 demonstrations being held across Northern Ireland, as the 325th anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne celebrations take place this year on Monday, July 13. This will follow the traditional Rossnowlagh parade held in the Republic on the preceding Saturday.
Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson, said preparations were now at an advanced stage.
He said, “I, myself, personally look forward to attending the Twelfth of July festivities in Bessbrook and parading in the county recognised as the birthplace of Orangeism. The County Armagh demonstration is traditionally the largest demonstration which takes place in Northern Ireland, and this year will be no exception with thousands of participants, spectators, and many tourists, enjoying the carnival atmosphere.
“Flagship status places a great onus on the organisers of a particular Twelfth and I have every confidence that the officers and members of Bessbrook District will provide a fantastic event and wish them well in their planning.”
Grand Lodge Director of Services, Dr David Hume, said, “Bessbrook will be a worthy ambassador as a Twelfth tourist flagship. We are delighted they will be working closely with us this year to ensure a successful event.
“It is particularly appropriate that our flagship parade in 2015 is in County Armagh, as we open our Museum of Orange Heritage museums in Loughgall, and in Belfast. County Armagh is where the first Orange warrants were signed. It is also the 325th anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.”