Section 3: Cultural Identity: the Orange Order

The Orange Order was established in 1795. It developed as a result of sectarian tensions between Catholics and Protestants in Armagh. The Orange Order was a lodge based organisation with members joining local lodges. For most of the nineteenth century most of its members were agricultural workers or small farmers from the Church of Ireland with local gentry providing some leaders. In County Down it was strong in the south and west of the County. From the 1880s as the Home Rule party became stronger and as the British Liberal party became supportive of Home Rule for Ireland Irish Unionists looked to the Orange Order to provide a way of opposing Home Rule. The Order got thousands of new members all over Ulster and Presbyterians as well as Anglicans joined new lodges or re-formed old ones. In the 1880s and 1890s many new Orange halls were built in County Down.


Image A shows members of a Downpatrick Orange Lodge in the period 1910-1914.
Image B shows a 12th of July day around the year 1910.

Why is the 12th of July commemorated by the Orange Order?

Can you identify the area this event is taking place in ?

What sort of people are at the event ?

What kind of atmosphere is there do you think ?
Image C shows a 12th of July march making its way down Market Street in Downpatrick.

Does this image tell you anything about Downpatrick one hundred years ago that is different to today ?
  • Image A
  • Image B
  • Image C