Battle of Boyne Site, Oldbridge

Battle of Boyne Site, Oldbridge, Ireland

This evening, I am focusing on the site  of the Battle of the Boyne. This was probably the famous military encounter in Irish history. It took place on July 1st 1690, a battle betwee the armies of rival kings- James II and William III -and entailed aggregate forces of some 60,000 men. Some key facts:

  • Key driver was attempt by the deposed King James II of England to regain the throne which he lost in 1688 to his Dutch son-in-law, William of Orange.
  • James was deposed because of his Catholicism at a time when his people were largely Protestant.
  • In the background King Louis XIV of France was supporting King James.
  • The Jacobite army (King James) was some 25,000 strong. Mainly Irish but including 6,500 French infantry.
  • William’s army was about 36,000 strong and including a mix of Dutch, English, Danish, Huguenots and Ulster Protestants. On balance this was a well equipped, professional and seasoned fighting force..
  • Both armies had similar equipment and majority of troops were infantry.About one quarter of each army were mounted, cavalry and dragoons.
  • The River Boyne flows east and west. Jacobites on south bank and Williamites on north bank.
  • Williamites held the initiative and implemented a sound strategy. James’s vacillations resulted in unclear planning.
  • On the morning of battle the Williamite infantry crossed the river on a broad front followed later by 2000 infantry. A senior Williamite general, Schomberg, was killed in action.
  • In course of the battle there were engagements at Donore, Platin, Rossnaree, Roughgrange and Duleek Bridge.
  • William’s forces eventually prevailed. Total casualties were about 1500 killed or badly wounded of which two thirds were Jacobites.

This battle had a decisive influence on Irish politics the ramifications of which continue today.

At the site there is a visitor centre with re-enactments.

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