The Orange celebrations in Ulster begin on 1st July when many parades take place to commemorate the Battle of the Somme and culminate in the spectacular parades of the 'Twelfth Day'.

The Twelfth celebrations are characterised first and foremost by their colour, music and vitality. However for many the deep-rooted tradition behind the festivities are overshadowed by the political element. To correct the balance, 'The Sash My Father Wore' takes a sympathetic view of the July celebrations. There is no analysis, just a commentary from lifelong Orange Order members Joe Gibson and Billy McKeon.

Billy McKeon believes life is too short for sectarianism. For thirty years he worked in Belfast as a bus driver in the predominantly nationalist Short Strand Depot where his Roman Catholic colleagues christened him 'Orange Billy'. He had to ask a Catholic for time off on the Twelfth, but this was never a problem. 

McKeon would have loved to been a great musician. He competed on the pipe in the All Ireland Contest and has played in Dublin and Howth with pipe bands. As he sees it, the very existence of a band in Northern Ireland is primarily to take part in the Twelfth demonstration or any other Orange demonstrations.

Speaking as an Ulster man, I must confess that I know all the Orange tunes, and the Twelfth of July wouldn't be the Twelfth of July if I didn't hear 'The Sash' and 'Dolly's Ring' and one or two others.

'The Sash My Father Wore' was first broadcast on 12 July 1976. The producer is Joe Mulholland.