Battle of the Boyne, 12th July 2014

The Battle of the Boyne, more commonly known as ‘The Twelfth’ goes back to the 1609 battle for supremacy between Protestant King William III and Catholic King James II. It is celebrated on the 12th July as a celebration of the Battle of Aughrim, a conflict which took place during the Williamite War and led to the victory over the Irish Catholic Jacobite army. It was later decided to celebrate both of these victories together on the twelfth.

It is a very important day for Protestants as they remember their victory over the Catholics and success in gaining a sovereign Parliament and Protestant Monarchy. However, it has become a very controversial event over the past few years because of the way it is celebrated.

On the eleventh night, bonfires are lit in Protestant working class areas. The twelfth is celebrated with parades which are organised by the Protestant Orange Order. Parades are held all over the province, in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England, and there are even some marches held in Canada, the USA and Australia. Unfortunately, the Orange parades cause much controversy in Northern Ireland because the members of the Orange Order and many Protestants want to remember the Twelfth by marching through areas which they claim are traditionally their routes. However, some of these areas have a Catholic majority today and so they claim that continued marching is provoking violence and tension in hostile areas. The most contentious parades take place in the Garvaghy Road to Drumcree Church near Portadown and along the lower Ormeau Road in Belfast.

Members of the Orange Order normally wear a black suit with an orange sash during the parade. The 12th July is a public holiday in Northern Ireland. However, it has been such a controversial day that many Northern Irish citizens prefer to leave the country for the day than get involved in the festivities.

Battle of the Boyne Calendar

Battle of the Boyne 2014 Saturday
Battle of the Boyne 2015 Sunday
Battle of the Boyne 2016 Tuesday
Battle of the Boyne 2017 Wednesday
Battle of the Boyne 2018 Thursday

Travel in the UK

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