AROUND 7,500 Apprentice Boys, bandsmen and spectators turned out for a major parade in Enniskillen on Easter Monday.

The large-scale event was held by the Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABOD) organisation, and marked the first time the Easter Monday parade has been held in Enniskillen for 11 years.

Participants and spectators came from far and wide, including from all across Northern Ireland - and even from as far away as Edinburgh! 

Weather conditions were kind as members of the organisation, accompanied by several bands, set off from Holyhill car park, before pausing at the War Memorial as a mark of respect.

They then paraded through the town centre past thousands of spectators, with a shared sense of excitement, energy and elation palpable amongst onlookers. 

According to the PSNI, the event “passed off without incident”, and officers thanked road users, members of the public and local businesses for their understanding amidst “unavoidable” disruption, which included a number of local road closures.

The parade was organised by the South West Ulster Amalgamated Committee of the Apprentice Boys of Derry, which is chaired by DUP Councillor Errol Thompson.

Councillor Thompson thanked all those who turned out for what was a “once-in-a-decade” event.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the many thousands of people from across Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, England, Scotland, and further afield, who were in attendance in Enniskillen for the Apprentice Boys Easter Monday Parade,” he said.

“There can be no doubt that this event was a great boost to the economy of the District and further afield.

“I wish to thank and commend all members of the Apprentice Boys, and members of the bands, for their excellent marching, music, and decorum on parade, and to all the enthusiastic spectators who were lined six-deep at parts of the parade route.”

Councillor Thompson continued: “I also want to put on record my grateful thanks to my fellow Officers of the South West Ulster Amalgamated Committee, the officers of Enniskillen Branch Club, the Chief Marshal and his team of marshals, and the PSNI for their assistance and traffic control. 

“And [I also thank] all those who have been involved in the many months of planning, for this very successful once-in-a-decade event, held under the auspices of our amalgamated committee.” Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliot hailed the parade as a “huge success”.

“The ABOD parade was very much a showcase of Enniskillen town, and the organisation as a whole,” Mr. Elliot said.

“There were thousands of ABOD members taking part, and even more spectators.

“Many enjoyed a great day out and some even made a week of it, having come from as far away as Scotland to see the spectacle. 

“The parade passed off without incident, and everyone had a highly enjoyable day.

“The organisers must be commended for such a well-run and smooth event,” he added.