Bi-Annual Orange Parades of North Belfast
This parade dates from the mid 1960's when members of Lodges based in Belfast Orange Hall, Clifton Street and fellow Protestant citizens of the Duncairn Gardens and Tigers Bay area requested the late Mr. Thomas Passmore J.P., the then District Master of No.1 District L.O.L., and later County Grand Master of Belfast to organise an Orange parade in that part of the city as many of the brethren based in Belfast Orange Hall had never had the opportunity to parade their own home areas of Duncairn Gardens and Tigers Bay.
It was decided to hold a parade of the Duncairn Gardens/Tigers Bay areas on a Bi-Annual basis with a parade of the Crumlin Road and Ligoniel Area taking place on the alternate years, brethren belonging to Lodges in Belfast Orange Hall being resident in both parade areas.
In 1971, following a request from the R.U.C. Mr. Passmore recommended that the Crumlin/Ligoniel parade would for one year only on their way back from Ligoniel refrain from parading the portion of Crumlin Road from its junction at Ardoyne to its junction with Leopold Street as civil disturbances were putting a tremendous strain on the R.U.C. in that area. The parade has never been allowed to return to its traditional route.
The Crumlin/Ligoniel parade starts off by going down Clifton Street to Donegal Street and in the process passes the Roman Catholic Chapel. Again acting on information gained the parade organisers decided to hold the start of the parade back for half an hour from 7.30 p.m. to 8.00 p.m., to allow those Roman Catholics leaving Friday Evening Worship to do so in peace.
The Duncairn parade also was subject to self imposed changes in route following R.U.C. advice and the demographic change in the area between Manor Street and Duncairn Gardens. The first change was for the parade not to process the full length of Manor Street to gain access to the Cliftonville Road. Protestant families had been forced from their homes in Manor Street from its commencement at Cliftonville Road to the junction of Alloa Street.
Mindful of this the parade organisers decided to turn the parade down Summer Street out of site of the junction of Alloa Street. Some years after this self imposed change the R.U.C. were again to request another change based on demography. They were to request that the parade did not proceed into the Waterworks area in general and down Eia Street in particular but to remain on the main Cliftonville Road which was, as it is today, bounded on both sides by non domestic buildings, namely a Hostel, State Grammar School, Protestant Church and commercial businesses which would not be open at the time of the parade passing.
Today this part of the parade route is largely unchanged from the days when the R.U.C. requested that the parade move onto it. On any Friday night between the hour of 8.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m. there are very few people using the Cliftonville Road below Clifton Park Avenue.
The United Districts Committee was formed in 1997 to co-ordinate the organising of Orange Parades emanating from Belfast Orange Hall, Clifton Street and comprises representatives of District L.O.L. No.'s 1, 2, 3, 4 & 7/8, all of which had always taken part in both legs of the Bi-Annual parade.