The Orange Institution (more commonly known as the Orange Order or Orange Lodge) is a Protestant fraternal organisation based mainly in Northern Ireland and Scotland, though it has lodges throughout the Commonwealth and United States. The Institution was founded in 1796 near the village of Loughgall in County Armagh. Its name is a tribute to Dutch-born Protestant William of Orange, who defeated the army of Catholic James II at the Battle of the Boyne (1690).

Politically, the Orange Institution is strongly linked to unionism. Observers have accused the Institution of being sectarian, triumphalist and supremacist. Catholics, and those whose close relatives are Catholic, are banned from becoming members. Non-creedal and non-trinitarian denominations (such as Mormons, Unitarians and some branches of Quakers) are also ineligible for membership, although these denominations do not have large congregations where most Orange lodges are found.

History:

The Orange Institution commemorates William of Orange, the Dutch prince who became King of England, Scotland, and Ireland in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. In particular, the Institution remembers the victories of William III and his forces in Ireland in the early 1690s, especially the Battle of the Boyne.

Formation and early years:

The 1790s were a time of political and religious conflict in Ireland. On one side were the Irish nationalists (mostly Irish Catholics, but also some liberal Anglicans) and on the other were the so-called "Protestant Ascendancy" and its supporters. In October 1791 the nationalist Society of United Irishmen was founded by liberal Protestants in Belfast. Its leaders were mainly Presbyterians. They called for a reform of the Irish Parliament that would extend the vote to all Irish men (regardless of religion) and give Ireland greater independence from Britain.

Although the United Irishmen were trying to unite Catholics and Protestants behind their goal, northern County Armagh was undergoing fierce sectarian conflict. Catholics and Protestants set up rural "vigilante" groups - on the Catholic side was the "Defenders" and on the Protestant side was the "Peep-o'-Day Boys". In July 1795, the year the Orange Order formed, a Reverend Devine had held a sermon at Drumcree Church to commemorate the "Battle of the Boyne". In his History of Ireland Vol I (published in 1809), the historian Francis Plowden described the events that followed this sermon:

(Reverend Devine) so worked up the minds of his audience, that upon retiring from service, on the different roads leading to their respective homes, they gave full scope to the anti-papistical zeal, with which he had inspired them... falling upon every Catholic they met, beating and bruising them without provocation or distinction, breaking the doors and windows of their houses, and actually murdering two unoffending Catholics in a bog. This unprovoked atrocity of the Protestants revived and redoubled religious rancour. The flame spread and threatened a contest of extermination...

The Orange Order was founded after an incident known as the "Battle of the Diamond", which happened two months after the Drumcree sermon. It took place on 21 September 1795 near Loughgall, a few miles from Drumcree. It was a clash between Defenders and Peep-o'-Day Boys in which four to thirty (mostly un-armed) Defenders were killed. The Governor of Armagh, Lord Gosford, gave his opinion of the violence in County Armagh that followed the "battle" at a meeting of magistrates on 28 December 1795. He said:

It is no secret that a persecution is now raging in this country… the only crime is… profession of the Roman Catholic faith. Lawless banditti have constituted themselves judges….

However, two former grand masters of the Order, William Blacker and Robert Hugh Wallace, have questioned this statement, saying whoever the Governor believed were the "lawless banditti" they could not have been Orangemen as there were no lodges in existence at the time of his speech. According to historian Jim Smyth:

Later apologists rather implausibly deny any connection between the Peep-o'-Day Boys and the first Orangemen or, even less plausibly, between the Orangemen and the mass wrecking of Catholic cottages in Armagh in the months following 'the Diamond' - all of them, however, acknowledge the movement's lower class origins.

The Order's three main founders were James Wilson (founder of the Orange Boys), Daniel Winter and James Sloan. The first Orange lodge established in nearby Dyan, County Tyrone. Its first grand master was James Sloan of Loughgall, in whose inn the victory by the Peep-o'-Day Boys was celebrated. Like the Peep-o'-Day Boys, one of its goals was to hinder the efforts of Irish nationalist groups and uphold the "Protestant Ascendancy". The Orange Order's first ever marches were to celebrate the "Battle of the Boyne" and they took place on 12 July 1796 in Portadown, Lurgan and Waringstown.

By the time the Orange Order formed, the United Irishmen (still led mainly by Protestants) had become a republican group and sought an independent Irish republic that would "Unite Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter". United Irishmen activity was on the rise, and the government hoped to thwart it by backing the Orange Order from 1796 onward. Nationalist historians Thomas A. Jackson and John Mitchel argued that the government's goal was to hinder the United Irishmen by fomenting sectarianism - it would create disunity and disorder under pretence of "passion for the Protestant religion". Mitchel wrote that the government invented and spread "fearful rumours of intended massacres of all the Protestant people by the Catholics". Historian Richard R Madden wrote that "efforts were made to infuse into the mind of the Protestant feelings of distrust to his Catholic fellow-countrymen". Thomas Knox, British military commander in Ulster, wrote in August 1796 that "As for the Orangemen, we have rather a difficult card to play...we must to a certain degree uphold them, for with all their licentiousness, on them we must rely for the preservation of our lives and properties should critical times occur".

When the United Irishmen rebellion broke out in 1798, Orangemen and ex-Peep-o'-Day Boys helped government forces in suppressing it. According to Ruth Dudley Edwards and two former grand masters, Orangemen were among the first to contribute to repair funds for Catholic property damaged in the violence surrounding the rebellion.

Suppression:

In the early nineteenth century, Orangemen were heavily involved in violent conflict with an Irish Catholic and nationalist secret society called the Ribbonmen. One instance, published in a 7 October 1816 edition of the Boston Commercial Gazette, included the murder of a Catholic priest and several members of the congregation of Dumreilly parish in County Cavan on 25 May 1816. According to the article, "A number of Orangemen with arms rushed into the church and fired upon the congregation". On 19 July 1823 the Unlawful Oaths Bill was passed, banning all oath-bound societies in Ireland. This included the Orange Order, which had to be dissolved and reconstituted. In 1825 a bill banning unlawful associations - largely directed at Daniel O'Connell and his Catholic Association, compelled the Orangemen once more to dissolve their association. When Westminster granted Catholic Emancipation in 1829, Irish Catholics were free at last to take seats as MPs and play a part in framing the laws of the land. The likelihood of Catholic members holding the balance of power in the Westminster Parliament further increased the alarm of Orangemen in Ireland, as to them it meant the possible revival of a Catholic-dominated Parliament controlled from Rome, and an end to the Protestant Ascendancy. From this moment on, the Orange Order re-emerged in a new and even more militant form.

In 1845 the ban was lifted, but the famous Battle of Dolly's Brae between Orangemen and Ribbonmen in 1849 led to a ban on Orange marches which remained in place for several decades. This was eventually lifted after a campaign of disobedience led by William Johnston of Ballykilbeg.

Revival:

By the late 19th century, the Order was in decline. However, its fortunes were revived by the spread of Protestant opposition to Irish nationalist mobilisation in the Irish Land League and then around the question of Home Rule. The Order was heavily involved in opposition to Gladstone's first Irish Home Rule Bill 1886, and was instrumental in the formation of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). The strength of Protestant opposition to Irish self-government under possible Roman Catholic influence, especially in the Protestant-dominated province of Ulster, eventually led to six Ulster counties remaining within the United Kingdom, as Northern Ireland.

In the first decade of the twentieth century, the Order suffered a split when Thomas Sloane left the organisation to set up the Independent Orange Order. Sloane had been suspended after running against a Unionist candidate on a pro-labour platform in an election in 1902.

Role in the partition of Ireland:

In 1912 the Third Home Rule Bill was introduced in the British House of Commons. However, its introduction would be delayed until 1914. The Orange Order, along with the British Conservative Party and unionists in general, were inflexible in opposing the Bill. The Order helped to organise the 1912 Ulster Covenant - a pledge to oppose Home Rule that was signed by up to 500,000 people. In 1911 some Orangemen began to arm themselves and train as a militia called the Ulster Volunteers. In 1913 the Ulster Unionist Council decided to bring these groups under central control, creating the Ulster Volunteer Force, a militia dedicated to resisting Home Rule. There was a strong overlap between Orange Lodges and UVF units. A large shipment of rifles was imported from Germany to arm them in April 1914, in what became known as the Larne gun-running.

However, the crisis was interrupted by the outbreak of the World War I in August 1914. This caused the Home Rule Bill to be suspended for the duration of the war. Many Orangemen served in the war with the 36th (Ulster) Division suffering heavy losses and commemorations of their sacrifice are still an important element of Orange ceremonies.

The Fourth Home Rule Act was passed as the Government of Ireland Act 1920; the six north eastern counties of Ulster became Northern Ireland and the other twenty-six counties became Southern Ireland. This self governing entity within the United Kingdom was confirmed in its status under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, and in its borders by the Boundary Commission agreement of 1925. Southern Ireland became first the Irish Free State in 1922 and then in 1949 a republic under the name of "Ireland".
Since 1921:

The Orange Order had a central place in the new state of Northern Ireland. From 1921 to 1969, every Prime Minister of Northern Ireland was an Orangeman and member of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP); all but three Cabinet Ministers were Orangemen; all but one unionist Senators were Orangemen; and 87 of the 95 MPs who did not become Cabinet Ministers were Orangemen. James Craig, the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, maintained always that Ulster was in effect Protestant and the symbol of its ruling forces was the Orange Order. In 1932, Prime Minister Craig maintained that "ours is a Protestant government and I am an Orangeman". Two years later he stated: "I have always said that I am an Orangeman first and a politician and a member of this parliament afterwards…All I boast is that we have a Protestant Parliament and a Protestant State".

At its peak in 1965, the Order's membership was around 70,000, which meant that roughly 1 in 5 adult Protestant males were members. Since 1965, it has lost a third of its membership, notably in Belfast and Derry. The Order's political influence suffered greatly when the Unionist-dominated Northern Ireland Parliament was prorogued in 1972.

After the outbreak of "The Troubles" in 1969, the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland encouraged Orangemen to join the Northern Ireland security forces-namely the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and the British Army's Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR). The response from Orangemen was strong. Over 300 Orangemen were killed during the conflict, the vast majority of them members of the security forces. Some Orangemen also joined loyalist paramilitaries. During the conflict, the Order had a fractious relationship with loyalist paramilitaries, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the Independent Orange Order and the Free Presbyterian Church. The Order urged its members not to join these organisations, and it is only recently that some of these intra-Unionist breaches have been healed.

Drumcree dispute:

The Drumcree dispute is perhaps the most well-known episode involving the Order since 1921. On the Sunday before 12 July each year, the Order holds its "Drumcree parade" in Portadown, when it marches to-and-from Drumcree Church. It has marched this route since 1807, when the area was sparsely populated. However, today most of this route falls within the town's mainly-Catholic and nationalist quarter, which is densely populated. The residents have sought to re-route the parade away from this area, seeing it as "triumphalist" and "supremacist".

There have been intermittent violent clashes during the yearly parade since at least 1873. The dispute was intensified by "The Troubles". Before the 1990s, the most contentious part of the parade was the outward leg along Obins Street. When the parade was banned from Obins Street in 1986, the focus shifted to the parade's return leg along Garvaghy Road.

In 1995, the dispute drew worldwide media attention as it led to widespread protests and rioting throughout Northern Ireland. This wave of violence began when Catholic and nationalist protestors prevented the march from continuing along Garvaghy Road. This pattern was repeated every July for the next four years. During that time the dispute led to the deaths of at least five civilians and prompted a massive police and army operation. Since 1998 the parade has been banned from most of the nationalist area, and the violence has subsided. However, regular moves to get the two sides into face-to-face talks have failed.

Protestantism:

The basis of the modern Orange Order is the promotion and propagation of "biblical Protestantism" and the principles of the Reformation. As such the Order only accepts those who confess a belief in a Protestant religion.

The Order considers the Fourth Commandment to forbid Christians to work, or engage in non-religious activity generally, on Sundays, to be important. When the Twelfth of July falls on a Sunday the parades traditionally held on that date are held on the Monday instead. In March 2002 the Order threatened "to take every action necessary, regardless of the consequences" to prevent the Ballymena Show being held on a Sunday. The County Antrim Agricultural Association complied with the Order's wishes.

Some evangelical groups have claimed that the Orange Order is still influenced by freemasonry. Many Masonic traditions survive, such as the organisation of the Order into lodges. The Order has a system of degrees through which new members advance. These degrees are interactive plays with references to the Bible. There is particular concern over the ritualism of higher degrees such as the Royal Arch Purple and the Royal Black Institutions.

Politics:

As noted beforehand, the Orange Order is strongly linked to British unionism, especially in Northern Ireland and in Scotland. This is a political ideology that supports the continued unity of the United Kingdom. Unionism is thus opposed to, for example, the re-unification of Ireland and Scottish independence.

The Order, from its very inception, was an overtly political organisation. In 1905, when the Ulster Unionist Council (UUC) was formed, the Orange Order was entitled to send delegates to its meetings. The UUC was the decision-making body of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). Between 1922 and 1972, the UUP was consistently the largest party in the Northern Ireland Parliament. Due to its close links with the UUP, the Orange Order was able to exert great influence. The Order was the force behind the UUP no-confidence votes in reformist Prime Ministers O'Neill (1969), Chichester-Clark (1969-71) and Faulkner (1972-74). At the outbreak of The Troubles in 1969, the Order encouraged its members to join the Northern Ireland security forces, which were opposed by all Irish nationalist and republican parties. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) attracted the most seats in an election for the first time in 2003. DUP leader Ian Paisley, who was not a member of the Orange Order, maintained a bitter campaign of conflict with the Order since 1951, when the Order banned members of Paisley's Free Presbyterian Church from acting as Orange chaplains and openly endorsed the UUP against the DUP. Recently, however, Orangemen have begun voting for the DUP in large numbers due to their opposition to the Good Friday Agreement. Relations between the DUP and Order have healed greatly since 2001, and there are now a num-ber of high profile Orangemen who are DUP MPs and strategists.

In December 2009, the Orange Order held secret talks with Northern Ireland's two main unionist parties - the DUP and UUP. The main goal of these talks was to foster greater unity between the two parties, in the run-up to the May 2010 general election. Sinn Féin's Alex Maskey said that the talks exposed the Order as a "very political organisation". Shortly after the election, Grand Master Robert Saulters called for a "single unionist party" to maintain the union. He said that the Order has members "who represent all the many shades of unionism" and warned, "we will continue to dilute the union if we fight and bicker among ourselves".

In the October 2010 issue of The Orange Standard, Grand Master Robert Saulters accused 'dissident' Irish republican paramilitaries of being "fancy names" for the "Roman Catholic IRA". SDLP MLA John Dallat asked Justice Minister David Ford to find if Saulters had broken the hate speech laws. He said: "Linking the Catholic community or indeed any community to terror groups is inciting weak-minded people to hatred, and surely history tells us what that has led to in the past".

Parades:

Parades form a large part of Orange culture. Most Orange lodges hold an annual parade from their Orange hall to a local church. The denomination of the church is quite often rotated, depending on local demographics.

The highlights of the Orange year are the parades leading up to the celebrations on the Twelfth of July. The Twelfth, however, remains in places a deeply divisive issue, not least because of the triumphalism, anti-Catholicism and anti-nationalism of the Orange Order. In recent years, most Orange parades have passed peacefully.

As of 2007, Grand Lodge of Ireland policy remained non-recognition of the Parades Commission, which it sees as explicitly founded to target Protestant parades since Protestants parade at ten times the rate of Catholics. Grand Lodge is, however, divided on the issue of working with the Parades Commission. 40% of Grand Lodge delegates oppose official policy while 60% are in favour. Most of those opposed to Grand Lodge policy are from areas facing parade restrictions like Portadown District, Bellaghy, Derry City and Lower Ormeau.

Orange halls:

Monthly meetings are held in Orange halls. Orange halls on both sides of the Irish border often function as community halls for Protestants and sometimes those of other faiths, though this was more common in the past. The halls quite often host community groups such as credit unions, local marching bands, Ulster-Scots and other cultural groups as well as religious missions and Unionist political parties.

Stoneyford Orange Hall near Lisburn has been reported to be a focal point for local loyalist paramilitaries. In 1999 files on 300 republicans were found in the hall

Of the approximately 700 Orange halls in Ireland, 282 have been targeted by arsonists since the beginning of the Troubles in 1968. Paul Butler, a prominent member of Sinn Féin, has claimed the arson is a "campaign against properties belonging to the Orange Order and other loyal institutions" by nationalists. On one occasion a member of Sinn Féin's youth wing (Ógra Shinn Féin) was hospitalised after falling off the roof of an Orange hall. In a number of cases halls have been severely damaged or completely destroyed by arson, while others have been damaged by paint bombings, graffiti and other vandalism. The Order claims that there is considerable evidence of an organised campaign of sectarian vandalism by republicans. Grand Secretary Drew Nelson claims that a statistical analysis shows that this campaign emerged in the last years of the 1980s and continues to the present.

Historiography:

One of the Orange Order's activities is educating members and the general public about William of Orange and associated subjects. Both the Grand Lodge and various individual lodges have published numerous booklets about William and the Battle of the Boyne, often aiming to show that they have continued relevance, and sometimes comparing the actions of William's adversary James II with those of the Northern Ireland Office. In addition, historical articles are often published in the Order's newspaper the Orange Standard and the Twelfth souvenir booklet. While William is the most frequent subject, other topics have included the Battle of the Somme (particularly the 36th (Ulster) Division's role in it), Saint Patrick (who the Order argues was not Roman Catholic), and the Protestant Reformation.

There are at least two Orange Lodges in Northern Ireland which represent the heritage and religious ethos of St Patrick. The best known of which is the Cross of Saint Patrick LOL (Loyal Orange lodge) 688, instituted in 1968 for the purpose of (re)claiming the heritage of St Patrick. The lodge has had several well known members, including Rev Robert Bradford MP who was the lodge chaplain who himself was killed by the Provisional IRA, the late Ernest Baird. Today Nelson McCausland MLA and Gordon Lucy, Director of the Ulster Society are the more prominent members within the lodge membership. In the 1970s there was also a Belfast lodge called Oidhreacht Éireann (Ireland's Heritage) LOL 1303, which argued that the Irish language and Gaelic culture were not the exclusive property of Catholics or republicans.

The Order has been prominent in commemorating Ulster's war dead, particularly Orangemen and particularly those who died in the Battle of the Somme. There are numerous parades on and around 1 July in commemoration of the Somme, although the war memorial aspect is more obvious in some parades than others. There are several memorial lodges, and a number of banners which depict the Battle of the Somme, war memorials, or other commemorative images. In the grounds of the Ulster Tower Thiepval, which commemorates the men of the Ulster Division who died in the Battle of the Somme, a smaller monument pays homage to the Orangemen who died in the war.

The Orange Order's view of history is usually not inaccurate, but could be criticised as outdated. It is reminiscent of the nineteenth century English historian Thomas Babington Macaulay, who argued that the Glorious Revolution which brought William into power was a major turning point in British and world history. Macaulay's interpretation was very influential but has come under sustained criticism in recent decades.

Orange historiography tends also to be strongly biased in favour of William and against James, painting the former as an ideal ruler and the latter as a bigoted tyrant. It should be noted that few professional historians have a positive opinion of James, although most are also critical of William.

William was supported by the Pope in his campaigns against James' backer Louis XIV of France, and this fact is sometimes left out of Orange histories. However it appears in others.

Occasionally the Order and the more fundamentalist Independent Order publishes historical arguments based more on religion than on history. British Israelism, which claims that the British people are descended from the Israelites and that Queen Elizabeth II is a direct descendant of the Biblical King David, has from time to time been advanced in Orange publications.

Charity:

The Orange Order runs a number of charitable ventures including:

The Grand Orange Lodge of British America Benefit Fund
Lord Enniskillen Memorial Orange Orphan Society
Orange Foundation
The Orange Orphans Societ

Requirements for entry:

"An Orangeman should have a sincere love and veneration for his Heavenly Father; a humble and steadfast faith in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, believing in Him as the only Mediator between God and man. He should cultivate truth and justice, brotherly kindness and charity, devotion and piety, concord and unity, and obedience to the laws; his deportment should be gentle and compassionate, kind and courteous; he should seek the society of the virtuous, and avoid that of the evil; he should honour and diligently study the Holy Scriptures, and make them the rule of his faith and practice; he should love, uphold and defend the Protestant religion, and sincerely desire and endeavour to propagate its doctrines and precepts; he should strenuously oppose the fatal errors and doctrines of the Church of Rome, and scrupulously avoid countenancing (by his presence or otherwise) any act or ceremony of Popish worship; he should, by all lawful means, resist the ascendancy of that Church, its encroachments, and the extension of its power, ever abstaining from all uncharitable words, actions, or sentiments, towards his Roman Catholic brethren; he should remember to keep holy the Sabbath day, and attend the public worship of God, and diligently train up his offspring, and all under his control, in the fear of God, and in the Protestant faith; he should never take the name of God in vain, but abstain from all cursing and profane language, and use every opportunity of discouraging these, and all other sinful practices, in others; his conduct should be guided by wisdom and prudence, and marked by honesty, temperance, and sobriety; the glory of God and the welfare of man, the honour of his Sovereign, and the good of his country, should be the motive of his actions". Most jurisdictions require both the spouse and parents of potential applicants to be Protestant, although the Grand Lodge can be appealed to make exceptions for converts. Members have been expelled for attending Catholic religious ceremonies. In the period from 1964 to 2002, 11% of those expelled from the order were expelled for their presence at a Catholic religious event such as a baptism, service or funeral.

The Laws and Constitutions of the Loyal Orange Institution of Scotland of 1986 state, "No ex-Roman Catholic will be admitted into the Institution unless he is a Communicant in a Protestant Church for a reasonable period." Likewise, the "Constitution, Laws and Ordinances of the Loyal Orange Institution of Ireland" (1967) state, "No person who at any time has been a Roman Catholic … shall be admitted into the Institution, except after permission given by a vote of seventy five per cent of the members present founded on testimonials of good character …" In the 19th century, Rev. Mortimer O'Sullivan, a converted Roman Catholic, was a Grand Chaplain of the Orange Order in Ireland. In the 1950s, Scotland also had a former Catholic as a Grand Chaplain, the Rev. William McDermott.

Structure:

The Orange Institution in Ireland has the structure of a pyramid. At its base are about 1400 private lodges; every Orangeman belongs to a private lodge. Each private lodge sends six representatives to the district lodge, of which there are 126. Depending on size, each district lodge sends seven to thirteen representatives to the county lodge, of which there are 12. Each of these sends representatives to the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, which heads the Orange Order.

The Grand Lodge of Ireland has 373 members. As a result, much of the real power in the Order resides in the Central Committee of the Grand Lodge, which is made up of three members from each of the six counties of Northern Ireland (Doire, Aontroma, An Dún, Tír Eoghan, Ard Mhaca, and Fear Manach) as well as the two other County Lodges in Northern Ireland, the City of Belfast Grand Lodge and the City of Derry Grand Orange Lodge, two each from the remaining Ulster counties (Cabhán, Dún na nGall, and Muineacháin), one from Leitrim, and 19 others. There are other committees of the Grand Lodge, including rules revision, finance, and education.

Despite this hierarchy, private lodges are basically autonomous as long as they generally obey the rules of the Institution. Breaking these can lead to suspension of the lodge's warrant - essentially the dissolution of the lodge - by the Grand Lodge, but this rarely occurs. Private lodges may disobey policies laid down by senior lodges without consequence. For example, several lodges have failed to expel members convicted of murder despite a rule stating that anyone convicted of a serious crime should be expelled, and Portadown lodges have negotiated with the Parades Commission in defiance of Grand Lodge policy that the Commission should not be acknowledged.

Private lodges wishing to change Orange Order rules or policy can submit a resolution to their district lodge, which may submit it upwards until it eventually reaches the Grand Lodge.

Related organisations:

Several organisations are closely linked to the Orange Order, and are often confused with it, or thought to be a part of the Order. Protestant marching bands, particularly flute bands of the 'blood and thunder' or 'kick the Pope' type, are also often inaccurately assumed to be a part of the Order, with their parades referred to as Orange marches.

Association of Loyal Orangewomen of Ireland:

A distinct women's organisation grew up out of the Orange Order. Called the Association of Loyal Orangewomen of Ireland, this organisation was revived in December 1911 having been dormant since the late 1880s. They have risen in prominence in recent years, largely due to protests in Drumcree. The women's order is parallel to the male order, and participates in its parades as much as the males apart from 'all male' parades and 'all ladies' parades respectively. The contribution of women to the Orange Order is recognised in the song "Ladies Orange Lodges O!".

Independent Orange Institution:

The Independent Orange Institution was formed in 1903 by Thomas Sloane, who opposed the main Order's domination by Unionist Party politicians and the upper classes. The Independent Order originally had radical tendencies, especially in the area of labour relations, but this soon faded. In the 1950s and 60s the Independents focussed primarily on religious issues, especially the maintenance of Sunday as a holy day. With the outbreak of the Troubles, Ian Paisley began regularly speaking at Independent meetings, although he is not and has never been a member. As a result the Independent Institution has become associated with Paisley and his Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster and Democratic Unionist Party. Recently the relationship between the two Orange Institutions has improved, with joint church services being held. Some people believe that this will ultimately result in a healing of the split which led to the Independent Orange Institution breaking away from the mainstream Order. Like the main Order, the Independent Institution parades and holds meetings on the Twelfth of July. It is based mainly in County Antrim.

Royal Black Institution:

The Royal Black Institution was formed out of the Orange Order two years after the founding of the parent body. Although it is a separate organisation, one of the requirements for membership in the Royal Black is membership of the Orange Order and to be no less than 17 years old. The membership is exclusively male and the Royal Black Chapter is generally considered to be more religious and respectable in its proceedings than the Orange Order.

Apprentice Boys of Derry:

The Apprentice Boys of Derry exist for their acts during the siege of Derry from James II. Although they have no formal connection with the Orange Order, the two societies have overlapping membership .