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The Battle of the Boyne 1690

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The Battle of the Boyne was fought in 1690 between William of Orange and King James of England. …

The Battle of the Boyne was fought in 1690 between William of Orange and King James of England.
This battle was fought in Ireland with William being the victor and it now forms an important part of Northern Ireland History

Published in: News & Politics

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  • 1. Battle of the Boyne 1690http://northern-ireland-history.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/battle-of-boyne.html May 20, 2013Northern Ireland History Battle of The Boyne in IrelandEnda McLarnonNorthern Ireland History - Battle OfThe Boyne 1690The Battle of the Boyne playshuge significance in Northern Ireland history,both past and present.In my opinion it is often completelymisunderstood especially by the people who livein Northern Ireland.In this article I hope to clarify what actuallyhappened at the Battle of the Boyne.King William (Known also as King Billy) sent an 80year old Dutch General called Schomberg toIreland and he landed in the town of Bangor.Schomberg took his army of 15,000 men andcaptured Carrickfergus before making his base inDundalk. This was not an easy battle for him towin and he suffered many losses and was forced to seek reinforcements. His army was alsobadly affected by sickness. Sickness was widespread in Ireland at this time and there weremany diseases around at the time which were killers.Almost a year later on the 14th June 1690, Prince William of Orange arrived at Carrickfergus withan assorted bunch of troops from Europe including Germans, Danes and some French. Theynumbered in total around 40,000 and were well armed and equipped.James on the other hand had 25,000 troops which included English regiments, along with someIrish and French troops sent by Louis XIV. James made an advance from Dublin to Dundalk andarrived on the south bank of the river Boyne. His Irish army was mainly new recruits who werepoorly armed and drilled and with a leader who was neither skilful or resolute. William of Orangeon the other hand was known as one of the best generals of all time and he had with him alarger army who were well trained and well armed.Details of The Battle of The BoyneIn the early stages of the battle, William was injured from a
  • 2. Prince William of Orange(King Billy)In the early stages of the battle, William was injured from acannon shot. There were many on the Irish side who believedhim to be dead.The two sides then went into battle at the River Boyne on 1stJuly 1690. William had sent 10,000 men under General Douglasto cross some five miles up the river. This was an area thatJames had been warned about as a spot of weakness butJames had decided to leave this crossing point unguarded.The rest of Williams army attacked at four different fronts. TheBlue Dutch guards under Schomberg attacked at the centre ofJames’a army and Schomberg was killed outright when shot inthe neck by a bullet. The battle raged up and down the river forabout a mile with William fighting at Drogheda.The Irish army offered some resistance but they were simply nomatch for William’s army and a decisive victory was won byWilliam. The Irish army retreated back to Dublin and James fledat the first signs of defeat.It caused Sarsfield to announce, “Change kings and we will fightyou over again.” Sarsfield was clearly not impressed by KingJames. However James made his retreat when he reachedKinsale and headed back to Brest in France leaving Tirconnell todo what he could.This battle is still celebrated today on the 12th July by what are known as Orangemen so calledafter Prince William of Orange. The reason for the latter date is due to the change from theJulian calendar to the Gregory Calendar in 1752.So in summary the Battle of the Boyne did not really last that long. It is viewed as a religiousbattle where Protestants defeated Catholics and it is still celebrated as such today. Typically onthe 12th July in Northern Ireland many thousands of Orangemen take to the streets in a seriesof marches.The Orangemen march to assembly points which are typically designated fields and there theylisten to speeches from people in the Loyal Orange Order. The loyal element refers to theProtestant peoples loyalty to the British Crown (The Queen of England) and the Orangeelement refers to King Billy who was known as Prince William of Orange.Catholics on the other hand never participate in these parades for obvious reasons and simplyfind other things to do.The Siege of LimerickThe retreating Irish army now held their forces at Limerick and Athlone near to the riverShannon. Douglas attacked Athlone but failed to take it so he and his men joined forces onceagain with William at Limerick. Limerick was a poorly guarded city but William lacked thenecessary artillery to take it quickly.A train loaded with cannons and ammunition was on its way to Limerick from Dublin. Sarsfieldwas determined to intercept this train and in the dark of night he rode north to BallyneetyCastle. Here he found the promised convoy asleep and over ran them and took control of thetrain. He blew the entire train to bits to prevent the cannons being used against his men.Somehow Sarsfield and his men avoided interception and he returned to his troops.
  • 3. William was then forced to send to Waterford for cannons. On the 27th August 1690 he thentook the city of Limerick but in so ding lost over 2,000 men. Three weeks of fighting continueduntil finally William stopped the siege and returned to England leaving a General de Ginkel incharge. On the last day of August this general marched away from the city unable to take it. InSeptember the Williamite general George Churchill took CorkAthlone and AughrimTirconnell had initially gone back to France but he now returned in January 1691 with moneyand provisions. A French fleet arrived with a General St Ruth taking command of the Irish army.They fought at Athlone and during this time William offered terms to Tirconnell who rejectedthem thinking this it was a trick.The Irish lost Athlone and fell back to Aughrim where they made their stand. St Ruth’s headwas blown off by a cannon ball and many of the Irish army lost their lives. The Irish lost thatbattle and then Galway and Sigo gave way on friendly terms and were allowed to march toLimerick.Tirconnell died of apoplexy in Limerick and Sarsfield took over the command. Ginkel once againattacked Limerick and met with powerful resistance. A period of truce was agreed and asGinkel was anxious to end the war.Sarsfield also knew he had little hope of assistance and so the Treaty of Limerick was signed in1691. Under this treaty, religious freedom and the rights of the native Irish people were to bereturned, on condition that Sarsfield would disband his army. This was agreed and many of hisarmy went off to fight in other armies throughout Europe.A French fleet did arrive with 3,000 soldiers, arms and ammunition. Sarsfield however honouredthe treaty and would not receive the arriving French army. In the years after this manyhundreds of men left to fight in France and other parts of Europe in what became known asthe Irish Brigade.King William now became the King of England and Ireland and was actually kindly disposedtowards the Irish. He granted many pardons and restored many estates to their originalowners. He also made Ginkel the Earl of Athlone and granted land to many of his own people.Clearly this was a very significant and historical moment in what is now called Northern Ireland.The Battle of The Boyne in 1690 still has repercussions in Northern Ireland today, and wouldhundreds of years later become more apparent in the Orange marches in Northern Ireland.I would now recommend reading about a hugely significant event in the history of NorthernIreland known as the Ulster Plantation.