Battle of Boyne Site, Oldbridge, Ireland

Today, I visited the site of the Battle of the Boyne in the Republic of Ireland. This was probably the famous military encounter in Irish history. It took place on July 1st 1690, a battle between the armies of rival kings- James II and William III -and entailed aggregate forces of some 60,000 men, the largest conflict on Irish soil. 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 had converted to Protestantism.
  • 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 on an east-west alignment with Jacobites ( supprters of James)  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 information on the battle.Location is about 120 km south of Belfast and 55 km north of Dublin.

Replica weapon at Battle of Boyne battle site, Ireland.

Oldbridge House Visitor Centre, Ireland

Battle of Boyne battle site, Ireland

Proxy for site of Oldbridge village at date of battle.

River Boyne, Oldbridge, Ireland

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