The real King Billy

The 12th of July… the day King William III’s triumphs are celebrated in Northern Ireland and among all peoples for whom his victory at the Battle of Boyne protected their values and traditions.

But how much do we really know about King Billy?

Well, Malahide Castle can reveal all.

Firstly that iconic image of King Billy on his white charger may be misleading.

He was really rather small, and asthmatic. Though probably not as small as this image is shown here… it’s bigger in the Museum of Orange Heritage in Belfast.

Our guide on our visit to the Castle pointed out that the painting in the dining room shows that the heroic figure on the horse is probably a general and not William as he is not wearing the royal garter.

Fourteen members of the Talbot family, who built the castle, died at the battle fighting for the Jacobites.

William would also have probably been further back from the battle.

And not on that horse. His was more likely to be brown as white would have made him more of an easy target. And he would more than likely have walked across the Boyne rather than ride across it.

And ouch, worst of all, we’ve missed the real date. That was July 1, 1690. Somebody made a mistake when they changed to the Gregorian Calendar in 1752 and with the new dates it is July 11.

Of course it’s best to do your own homework so visit Malahide Castle. http://www.malahidecastleandgardens.ie/castle.

Or learn more about the murals in Belfast with Paddy Campbell’s Black Cab Tours. http://www.belfastblackcabtours.co.uk.

And maybe also take in the Orange Museum in Belfast http://www.orangeheritage.co.uk which has a green frontage.

And also visit http://www.visitbelfast.com.

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