Hibernians to parade with historic Lambeg drum on St Patrick's Day
MEMBERS of the Ancient Order of Hibernians will march to a different beat when they travel to Co Antrim for their annual St Patrick's Day parade.
Taking pride of place will be a 130-year-old 'Owen Roe' Lambeg drum, as the village of Rasharkin hosts hundreds of Hibernians and thousands of spectators on Friday.
The drum, which dates from the 1890s and has not been carried publicly for almost a century, will lead a large contingent of Tyrone Hibernians expected to attend the parade.
More usually associated with the Orange Order, it is one of only a handful of Hibernian Lambegs known to exist and requires two men to carry it.
The historic drum is named after Owen Roe O'Neill, the Irish chieftain who overcame the British at the Battle of Benburb in 1646.
In recent years the numbers of people attending Hibernian St Patrick's Day parades have increased, with some areas also showing a growth in membership.
Tyrone AOH president Gerry McGeough said the organisers of this year's parade believe it will be one of the largest in years.
He said it is the only one that “honours St Patrick and the great Christian heritage that he established in Ireland”.
“Other parades around the country tend to revolve around someone dressed as an onion being chased by someone dressed as a carving knife with both being followed by a tractor and a couple of llamas,” he said.
“What has this got to do with St Patrick or the Irish nation?
“We on the other hand unashamedly honour our Catholic faith and promote our Gaelic-Irish heritage."
Friday's parade is due to begin at 3pm.