With the marching season now underway, it is perhaps timely that an exhibition is coming to Monaghan Museum about the history and traditions of walking the colours in Ulster, both orange and green. It opens on Wednesday 10th April at 6pm and will run until the end of July. Unfortunately it will have finished by the time the William Carleton Society’s one day conference takes place in Monaghan on Friday 2nd August (Bank Holiday weekend in the Republic), when the issues of a divided community will be raised.
Incidentally, it was noticeable that the usual start of the marching season on Easter Monday (as well as the republican commemorations on Easter Sunday) with the Apprentice Boys of Derry main parade in Enniskillen passed off without incident. I remember standing at the Ormeau Bridge in Belfast or in Ardoyne on previous Easter Mondays and sometimes these feeder parades were highly contentious.
Everyone displays their colours in one way or another – hence the title of this ground breaking exhibition; “Walking the Colours”. The cross border exhibition will feature the incredible collection of marching banners held by Monaghan County Museum. This collection has never been displayed together before and will illuminate the gallery with an explosion of colour. This is one exhibition that should not be missed. The display explores the origins of parades looking at the guilds, trades and orders who hark back to the middle ages while also trying to explore the current scene. It includes the role of youth organisations, along with civic parades and public celebrations.
The exhibition forms part of the Cultural Fusions project, which is a heritage based project being delivered by Mid-Antrim Museum Service and Causeway Museum Service across the local councils of Ballymena, Larne, Ballymoney, Coleraine, Limavady and Moyle. It is supported by the PEACE III Programme through funding from the Special EU Programmes Body administered by the North East PEACE III Partnership