Sinclair Dates report that "1690: Battle of the Boyne, in Ireland, at which
Protestant William of Orange defeated Catholic James II and VII."
The battle of the Boyne took place in July 1690. The battle actually took
place on 1 July, but because of the conversion from the Julian to the
Gregorian calendar the day is now commemorated on the 12 July.
No Irish battle is as celebrated as William's victory at the River Boyne.
James II, a Roman Catholic, had lost the crown of England in the bloodless
"Glorious Revolution" of 1688. William was Prince of Orange, a
Dutch-speaking Protestant married to James's daughter Mary they became
jointly king and queen at the request of parliament. James exiled himself at
the court of, Louis XIV of France. King Louis provided French officers and
weapons for James. James landed at Kinsale in March 1689. The lord deputy of
Ireland, the Earl of Tyrconnell, was a Catholic loyal to James; his Irish
army controlled most of the island. James rapidly summoned a largely
The lord deputy, the Earl of Tyrconnell was the first Catholic viceroy since
the Reformation, Protestants influence eroded in the army, in the courts and
in civil government. Only in Ulster did they offer effective resistance. In
September 1688, while James was still king, apprentice boys in Londonderry
closed the city's gates to deny admission to a Catholic regiment under Lord
Antrim. In April 1689, the city refused to surrender to James's army, and
survived the hardships of a three-month siege before being relieved by sea.
The Protestants of Enniskillen manfully defended their walled city with
equal portions of valour and vigour. They won a number of victories over
James's Catholic troops. James withdrew from Ulster.
In August 1689 Marshal Schomberg landed at Bangor with 20,000 troops and,
with Ulster safe and sound, pushed south to Dundalk. James's army foiled any
further movement towards Dublin. There was no battle and the two armies dug
in for the winter. In March 1690 king Louis strengthened the Jacobite army
with 7,000 French regulars, but Louis demanded 5,000 Irish troops in return.
Danish mercenaries, English and Dutch regiments, toughened William's army.
When William himself landed at Carrickfergus on 14 June, he fielded an army
of 36,000 men. His objective was Dublin. There was some minor resistance
near Newry, but the Jacobites soon withdrew to the south bank of the River
Boyne. The stage was now set for the 'War of Two Kings' it was a small part
in a much larger conflict between England, Holland and her allies and King
Louis XIV of France.
At a fordable river bend of the Boyne the main body of William's infantry
was concentrated on fording the river at the village of Oldbridge. The Boyne
at Oldbridge is guarded by a deep and sheltering glen. A detachment of
cavalry and infantry was sent to make made a flanking upstream attack. James
was forced to divert troops to make safe his retreat. William's army was
stronger by at least 10,000 men, but after James diverted his troops William
had three-to-one superiority in the main arena. William brought his main
army from behind a hill and made a head-on attack across the Boyne using
experienced Dutch soldiers. He also led his cavalry in person.
James did not lead his troops. James sat on a hilltop well away from the
scene of the battle. The Irish cavalry fought desperately to save the day
but they had been outmanoeuvred and were unable to recover the ground lost
due to being deployed by James against the decoy of Schomberg.
By mid-afternoon the Jacobite army was in retreat, outpaced by James
himself, who rode to Dublin to warn the city of William's approach. James
was back in France before July ended. On 6 July William entered Dublin,
where he gave thanks to (in light of the recent 9th American circuit courts
decision and the fact that someone in the 9th circuit might be offended by
reading the name of the Creator in can not write God here.) for victory in
Christ Church Cathedral. Christ Church is Church of England even today there
is no Roman Catholic Cathedral in Dublin. King William returned to England
before the Dutch general Ginkel's victory at Aughrim and the formal Irish
surrender after the siege of Limerick in 1691.
The Battle of the Boyne is recalled each July in the celebrations of the
Orange Order, not on the first day but on "the Twelfth"
Last changed: $Date: 2002/09/02 22:10:44 $