UNDER a sweltering sun on Wednesday were the sights and sounds of marching bands making their way through Lisbellaw for Fermanagh’s Twelfth celebrations.
The streets were packed with spectators as the parade meandered through the small village and to the field where speeches and prayers were held.

Fermanagh County Grand Master Stuart Brooker said the Orange Order must “progress and evolve and adapt to the world in which we live.”

Unlike in previous years umbrellas were swapped for bottles of suncream and hot tea was replaced with ice cream much to the delight of the many families soaking up the sunshine.

But the day was especially poignant for the family of Kirsty Clarke, who died in January, and her bandmates in Lisbellaw Accordion Band as this was their first Twelfth without her. As they prepared to parade in memory of the young girl her mother Sharon spoke of missing her “precious angel.”

Brookeborough Flute Band, Drumharvey Pipe Band, Defenders of the Rock Flute Band, Kilskeery Silver Band, Belle Isle Flute Band, Ballinamallard Silver Band and many others took part in the parade along with visiting bands from neighbouring Border counties, including Druminan Flute Band and Coragarry Accordion Band from Monaghan. THere were even visitors from Ecuador, Australia and Drogheda.
Archie Burrell, who has lived outside Lisbellaw for 25 years, watched proceedings with his wife Freda, daughter Fiona and grandson Jonathan, and described the day as “fantastic.”
“On a morning like this to see the village like this really is superb,” he said.

One year old Daniel Black, son of Gary and Joanne Black from outside Enniskillen, enjoyed watching his first Twelfth and looking out for his Grandfather Colin Robinson.

Three-year-old Kyla Johnston sat smiling in the sun with Grandmother Ruth Kinnear and Aunt Lisa Boylan and her cousins Brody (two) and Darcy (one) who was also experiencing her first Twelfth.

“It really is a good family get together, we are blessed with good weather,” said Enniskillen man Gordon Jackson who watched proceedings with his old friend David Hamill.

George White from Tempo, who has been a member of the Orange Order for 57 years, said seeing his children parading through the village filled him with pride.
“My heart is still in the Twelfth,” he said, a sentiment shared by the thousands who took part in this year’s celebrations.