BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  UK: Northern Ireland
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Saturday, 16 March, 2002, 19:11 GMT
Parades launch St Patrick's celebrations
The festivities started in Downpatrick on Saturday
The festivities started in Downpatrick on Saturday
Saint Patrick's Day festivals and parades which started on Saturday are to continue around Northern Ireland on Sunday.

Thousands of people are expected to attend the events across the province.

The biggest parades are to be held in Belfast and Londonderry.

In Belfast a carnival will work its way from the north, south, east and west of the city to City Hall just after 1330 GMT.

A disputed Hibernians parade passed off peacefully in Kilkeel
A disputed Hibernians parade passed off peacefully in Kilkeel

In Derry, singer Brian Kennedy will headline a free outdoor concert in the city's Guildhall Square.

Later events in the city include an Ulster-Scots concert at the Ebrington Centre in Derry.

Parades are also to be held in Ballycastle, Dunloy and Ballymoney in County Antrim, Dungiven, Kilrea and Magherfelt in County Derry, Portadown and Lurgan in County Armagh.

On Saturday, there were parades in Warrenpoint, Kilkeel and Newry in County Down.

But the biggest celebration was held in Downpatrick - the County Down town where Ireland's patron saint is reputed to be buried.

After a massive parade street buskers continued the entertainment.

Disputed parade

Meanwhile, the parade in Kilkeel, which had had restrictions placed on it following objections from the unionist community, passed off without incident on Saturday morning.

There was a big security force presence, including more than a 100 soldiers and police officers.

The St Patrick's flute ban from Kilkeel paraded up Greencastle Street and turned around before reaching Mourne Presbyterian Church.

There was jeering from a small group of loyalist protestors.


The Parades Commission had ruled that the nationalist Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) march through the town must disperse at a specified point and no music was to be played near Mourne Presbyterian Church in the town.

It also said band supporters would not be permitted on the part of the route adjacent to the church.

The ruling was criticised by both unionists and nationalists.

Two years ago, relatives of people killed during the Troubles in Kilkeel lost an application for a judicial review of a decision by the commission to allow the AOH parade to pass through the town without restrictions.

The decision allowed the Ancient Order of Hibernian parade to go past a memorial and Mourne Presbyterian Church, where seven Troubles victims are buried.

The Northern Ireland Parades Commission was set up in 1998 to make decisions on whether controversial parades should be restricted.

However, the government has made a commitment to review the functions and workings of the commission because of allegations by unionist politicians and the loyal orders that many of its decisions have been biased against the Protestant community.

See also:

13 Mar 02 | Northern Ireland
St Patrick's Day exodus under way
15 Mar 02 | Northern Ireland
A celebration of Irishness
11 Mar 02 | Northern Ireland
Commission restricts nationalist parade
16 Mar 00 | Northern Ireland
Challenge to Kilkeel parade dismissed
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Northern Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Northern Ireland stories