Sunday, August 16, 2009

Green Sashes

Green Sash
Originally uploaded by Garibaldi McFlurry.

Yesterday I went on a day trip to Londonderry for a dander around the walls and some photography in the Maiden City. Along the way, I noticed a parade was about to start in the town of Dungiven, and decided I would stop and watch it.

It being the 15th August, Assumption Day (or Lady Day) for Roman Catholics, when they think that Mary was ascended into heaven, there was a parade by the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) in advance of the main parade in Carnlough.

This was the first time I had ever encountered the AOH, and from what I could see, it was a sort of Catholic version of the Orange Order. There were 6 members, a bannerette and an accordian band, so not huge numbers involved in Dungiven anyway. The parade began in the grounds of the Chapel, and passed down the main street through the town to the waiting bus.

So what are they all about? According to the fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia, they are an Irish-Catholic fraternal society formed to protect Catholic churches and help Irish immigrants in America.

From what it looked like in Dungiven, it appears that, like the Orange lodges, the AOH is struggling to recruit new and younger members. But maybe it was different in Carmlough. It did seem strange to see what looked like the Orange order, only with green sashes!

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