Twelfth and festival set to combine in Irvinestown

THE Twelfth of July and the Lady of the Lake Festival will join forces in Irvinestown this year.
Traditionally the festival starts on a Friday, but this year it will commence on Thursday, July 11 as Irvinestown will also be hosting the county’s Twelfth celebrations the next day on Friday, July 12.
The festival’s opening night is when the new Lady of the Lake is traditionally unveiled to a large crowd on the town’s Main Street.
It means this year’s festival will now run from Thursday, July 11 to Sunday, July 21.
County Grand Master Mervyn Byers was looking forward to both events combining for the first time.
“Irvinestown has always been a very community-orientated place and this is a great example of this,” Mr Byers said.
“This year we have got together to help bring the best out of both events. We plan to also make use of Necarne [Castle Irvine Estate] as plenty of things have been held at it in the past.
“The marquee that will go up at Necarne for the Twelfth will stay up for the duration of the festival and its activities. Combining the two events will help businesses in Irvinestown as well.”
On the Twelfth, bands will assemble at the Castle Irvine Estate, before parading through the town and out the Kesh Road to a site for a religious service before returning to the Castle Irvine Estate. The event is scheduled to be finished by 6pm.
“At the moment, the plan is for all the bands to go to Necarne and assemble there. All the buses and cars will all be there,” Mr Byers explained.
“We hope that the Lady of the Lake will be part of the Twelfth too.
“One idea is to have her in the parade in a vintage car with her ladies-in-waiting. The Lady of the Lake alternates between a Catholic and a Protestant girl every year. This year it’s a Protestant girl’s turn, so that should keep people happy.
“There probably will not be many festival activities on the day of the Twelfth and the festival’s opening ceremony will have been held the night before on the Main Street anyway.”

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