We are going to talk about the Orange Order and how it affects people in Ireland and Scotland. It was included in Theresa Breslin’s book ‘Divided City’.
The Orange Order is a large Protestant organisation with at least 75,000 members. The Orange Order goes all the way back to the 17th century battle between Protestantism and Catholicism. William of Orange, originally from the Netherlands, led the fight against Catholic King James.
He took the throne in England and his final victory over James was at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland 1690.
In 1795, a clash between Protestants and Catholics at the “Battle of the Diamond” led to some of those involved to swear a new promise to obey the Protestant faith and be loyal to the King, giving birth to the Orange Order.
The order is organised into “lodges”. Lodges are created where and when members wish to set them up – William Craig (Northern Ireland’s first prime minister) established a lodge at the House of Commons and there have been many links to British military.
The annual 12 July events across Northern Ireland, the most important date in the Orange calendar, commemorate the victory at the Boyne (regarded by the order as a victory for liberty) and the Protestant faith.
Throughout the history of the Orange Order, Orange walks have faced opposition, usually from Catholics and natonalists, who feel that the parades are sectarian. Tension starts to rise when the parade passes Catholic dominated areas.