Royal Irish receive their colours at Titanic Slipways in Belfast

Thousands have turned out at Titanic Slipways to watch the first public presentation of military colours in Northern Ireland to the Royal Irish Regiment.

The Duke of York officially presented the 1st and 2nd battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment with their colours.

Colours are presented to regiments every 25 years, and represent both their history and their future.

Sergeant Brian Collins
Sergeant Brian Collins of the Royal Irish Regiment (Rebecca Black/PA)

This is the first time the event has taken place in public in Northern Ireland.

The new colours were consecrated by the Chaplain General to Her Majesty’s Land Forces, the Reverend David Coulter, before being presented and paraded through the ranks in Belfast during the ceremony.

Brigadier Mike Murdoch, Deputy Colonel of the Royal Irish Regiment, said the event was a “tremendous honour”.

He was parade commander on Saturday.

“I think it is just fantastic that the home of the Titanic is where the home of this regiment come together, and today we are standing beside this slipway receiving our colours, in our home, the home of the Titanic, what a fantastic event,” he said.

“The colours represent the history of the regiment, the battles we have fought in and our predecessors fought in, but also they represent the future of the regiment and going forwards,” he told the Press Association.

“For us to receive our new colours in Northern Ireland as an Irish infantry regiment is a tremendous honour.

“We have never been able to receive our colours before in Northern Ireland, and we recruit from the island of Ireland, so today we will have soldiers from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and across the UK on parade, but we are at home in our regimental home, receiving our colours from the Duke of York today.”

Sergeant Brian Collins from Connaught said a lot of planning and preparation had gone into the event.

“There was a lot of planning involved in this, starting from picking the arena and now here we are with the final touches, down to having the threads in the uniforms all sorted,” he said.

“This is something the guys have been looking forward to, particularly the guys from Northern Ireland, it’s the first time they get the opportunity to have a parade here in Northern Ireland.”