Happy (or unhappy depending on whose side you’re on) 12th July, so for the day that’s in it let’s go Boing, boing for the Boyne.
And for those of you who don’t make the Battle of the Boyne the centrepiece of their existence a quick recap.
The battle was fought between Protestant Dutch King William of Orange, the new monarch of the UK and the deposed Catholic King James II in 1688.
Never mind that it was really fought on July 1.
And was moved forward when the Gregorian Calendar was adopted.
Or that the Pope, for political reasons, supported Protestant William against the French-backed James.
This is the holiest of holy days for Northern Irish protestants.
And they spend all year honing their marching and musical skills.
And building skyscraper-sized bonfires on which they burn effigies of Il Papa (well, there is an energy crisis).
So, it’s party and holiday time in Northern Ireland for Edward Carson and his protestant sons and daughters.
While the Catholic population flee to Donegal across the border.
But what of the Boyne itself?
Well with the special logic that is uniquely Irish, the battlefield is in the southern Republic.
It’s in the South
The Boyne has been meandering peacefully through Co. Meath, 30 miles north of Dublin these past 332 years.
With the blood of 2000, Irish, Scots, English and foreign mercenaries (there were 12 nationalities in all) long since washed away.
What remains is the Battle of the Boyne visitor centre.
Now over I3 and a half years living in Ireland I passed the Boyne on countless numbers of occasions.
But I have yet to venture in.
The centre that is, not the river!
But I have vowed to, and will.
Us bonny fechters
Should you be in the vicinity of the Boyne, or are heading either up to Belfast, or down to Dublin, pop in.
Times have changed and you’ll be made to feel very welcome with free self-guided tours.
It’s fun too to imagine being actually on the battlefield and indeed your ancestors very well may have been.
Us Murtys and McNultys (Ma’s name) for example got everywhere which is probably where this peripatetic gene stems.
I found my great-uncles in the cemeteries and memorials of Flanders.
And in the building wall in Barbados.
Whose side are you on?
I dare say too that we were at the Boyne but on whose side?
My Dear Old Dad might spin in his grave up in Donegal at the result.
The good folks at the Boyne help us all to find out the truth about our ancestors.
So today I’ll be weaing some orange (hell, I like the colour and the Dutch, and who says I’m not allowed?).
And I’ll be going boing, boing for the Boyne.