Afghanistan Homecoming Parade, Belfast.

Sunday, 2 November, 2008

Herrick HomecomingOver the weekend 31 October - 2 November 2008, there was a series of parades in Northern Ireland to mark the return of personnel from the 1st Battalion and the 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment following their recovery from Operation HERRICK 8. This was the Regiment's second substantial deployment to Afghanistan; however, it was the 1 R IRISH Battlegroup on Op HERRICK 8 that undertook the first full battlegroup deployment to Afghanistan by The Royal Irish Regiment.

Ballymena, where for so long the Regiment's home had been in St Patrick's Barracks, laid on an evening 'Welcome Home' parade and reception. Some 8,000 people lined the streets and the following day, Larne honoured the Regiment by conferring the Freedom of the Borough where 15 - 20,000 people turned out to support the event. On Sunday 2 November, in Belfast, an estimated 50,000 people turned out to line the route and as the parade marched past the City Hall, the Band and the Bugles, Pipes and Drums were drowned out by the cheering and applause.