The result’s by no means doubtful however tens of 1000’s of individuals descended on Scarva yesterday to substantiate the rising enchantment of the annual Sham Struggle.
Organisers claimed as much as 100,000 crammed into the quaint Co Down village for the annual re-enactment of the Battle of the Boyne – and the carnival ambiance couldn’t be ignored.
King William and King James met on the high of the cultural subject to behave out the victory of 1690 – the one show of its type within the province.
The primary protagonists have been accompanied by horses and troopers wearing interval costume, including to the grandeur of the event.
William’s victory within the battle could also be a foregone conclusion, however onlookers cheered and waved their Union flags nonetheless.
“I can not wait to see King Billy win,” mentioned younger Ellie McClure from Portadown as she waited for historical past to return alive, whereas her pal Lydia-Rose Black mentioned her favorite half is watching the bands.
Round 4,000 members of the Royal Black Establishment stepped out, accompanied by a mixture of flute, accordion and pipe bands.
Linda Neely travelled to the Sham Struggle together with her mum Rosemary, from Coleraine, for the third 12 months in a row, “to see the pageantry and crowds, however particularly the brass manufacturers”. Rosemary mentioned: “We love the ambiance of all of it, however the parade is what we’re right here for probably the most.”
The Sham Struggle is a long-standing day trip, with many returning every year to see King Billy take the victory.
Helen Upritchard and Marie Hamilton have been attending Scarva since 1970.
They reside close by however come every year for the enjoyable household day trip and so they have developed friendships with different folks they’ve met there.
Additionally having fun with the festivities was Michael Potter, who described himself as “the eccentric Catholic from Limerick that loves the Orange”.
He travelled to Scarva to expertise the pageantry of the day and believes it is “all about buddies and enjoyable”.
“King Billy may reign victorious, however we’re all buddies right here,” he added.
After James had been vanquished, John Adair, who has performed King William for 27 years, defined the intense level behind the festivities.
He mentioned the annual battle was “a means of conserving our tradition alive and our establishment significant”.
John takes delight in the truth that Scarva is believed to be the one remaining occasion of its sort in Eire and he’s delighted on the large improve within the quantity of people that attend it every year.
Regardless of one other defeat, King James, who’s better-known as Colin Cairns, mentioned the size of the occasion is “unbelievable”.
This 12 months’s Sham Struggle took on a brand new component, partnering with Dementia NI to lift funds and consciousness of the sickness.
Volunteers have been dotted across the cultural subject, amassing cash for the charity.
The climate will not be as sure as King Billy’s victory every year, however the rain stayed away for the festivities.
Brian Hanna, from Glasker close to Rathfriland, has been attending Scarva yearly since he was a baby and brings his circle of relatives now.
Having fun with the event with son Ralph, child Norah and his spouse Donna, Brian was wanting ahead to each watching the bands and the re-enactment.
Addressing the demonstration, the Grand Grasp of the Royal Black Preceptory, the Rev William Anderson, mentioned: “Let the message go loud and clear from this platform in the present day that we stand firmly behind the victories that have been gained and we won’t permit such victories to be missed or written into the annals of historical past.
“Allow us to all in the present day affirm our Britishness and our citizenship and be resolved to face agency even within the face of enemies from inside and with out.”