Historic AOH parade on City Walls on Sunday

The first ‘nationalist procession’ to complete a full circuit of the City Walls in more than a century will take place this weekend.

The event has been organised by the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) and is part of the organisation’s four-day ‘HibsFest’ event.

Sunday afternoon’s parade on the walls (1.30 p.m.) has been organised to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the last ‘Home Rule’ procession to take place on the historic ramparts and across the city in 1912.

The AOH, which played a key role in the Home Rule movement, says Sunday’s event should be seen as part of the wider City of Culture celebrations in Derry.

The AOH, and other groups, organised Home Rule processions in Derry between 1872 and 1912. These parades started in the Brandywell area, proceeded around the City Walls and concluded in the Waterside.

The AOH says this weekend’s event is purely commemorative and, as such, will “reflect modern day circumstances and realities.”

Sunday’s procession is to be confined to the City Walls and Foyle Street area where the AOH’s local headquarters is located.

A spokesperson for the organisation said: “The AOH believe that this event will be the first nationalist procession to complete a full circuit of the Walls in the last 100 years and we believe that our event is highly significant and will help identify the Derry Walls as a shared space for all the people of our city.”

Turning to its four-day ‘HibsFest’, which started yesterday, the AOH says it’s an effort to “engage our own and other communities and to support good relations in the city.”

‘HibsFest’ features a range of activities starting on Thursday and finishing on Sunday. The programme, say organisers, has been designed to “stimulate debate, to present the best in Irish and Ulster-Scots culture and to address the past while looking at the present and preparing for a better future.”

All events during ‘HibsFest’ will take place in the AOH Hall, Foyle Street, with the exception of Sunday’s City Walls procession.

The headline act of the festival will be a performance by singer Frances Black on Saturday evening (8.30 p.m.). Tickets for this are available at www.millenniumforum.co.uk.

Meanwhile, a panel discussion featuring local politicians - ‘Home Rule versus the Good Friday Agreement’ - is scheduled for Saturday afternoon (3 p.m.).

Also on a packed agenda are a range of musical and cultural events. The festival will conclude on Sunday evening with a Ceili Mor (8.30 p.m.)