The Battle of the Boyne is a historic event in Irish history which is still marked by Orangemen in Ulster on 12th July each year.
A visit to the Battle of the Boyne Visitor centre at the site of the historic battle between King James II and his son-in-law William III, will take visitors through the history of the battle between the French and British and walk the battlefields which shaped history, not only in Ireland but across Europe.
The tour stops off at the recently restored 18th Century Oldbridge House in Meath, where the Battle of the Boyne took place on July 1, 1690, which is now July 12 as a result of the Gregorian calendar being adopted in 1752.
The Battle of the Boyne is historic as it represents Catholic King James II’s attempt to take back the English and Scottish crown, from his cousin William II, who was also married to King James’ daughter Mary. The Jacobites and primarily Catholics who fought for King James were fighting for Irish Sovereignty, religious tolerance for Catholicism and land ownership. The Catholic upper classes had lost most of their lands after Cromwell’s conquest as well as the rights to hold public office, practice their religion and sit in an Irish Parliament.
The Williamites, fighting for William of Orange, were fighting to maintain Protestant and English rule in Ireland. Both Kings were on the battlefield in person. William had 36,000 trained troops and James had 25,000 men. It was the largest battle ever to occur in Ireland.
It is important to note also that William of Orange was backed by Pope Alexander VIII in the Grand War of Alliance. The Grand Alliance were opposed to Catholic King Louis XIV of France, who was attempting to establish dominance in Europe and who was an ally of King James. King James retreated to France following his defeat.
There is a museum and visitor tour where the battle is brought to life in an animated video, extensive grounds and walks around Oldbridge house with guided and self-guided tours through nearby King William’s Glen, where William’s troops claimed victory at the Battle of Boyne.