Exploring the History of Protestant-Catholic Conflict



In recent years the countryside west of Drogheda has been expensively re-landscaped and opened up to tourism. This was the valley that on 1 July 1690 echoed to the clash of armies at the Battle of Boyne. Within sight of the elegant new bridge carrying the Ml Dublin-Belfast motorway high over the river, children play on the green lawns of Oldbridge House, and their elders explore a visitor centre that offers a conscientiously even-handed account of the battle and its significance in Irish and European history. There is a manifest aspiration to reinvent the battle as a focus for reconciliation rather than division in early twenty-first-century Ireland. This vision was made explicit in May 2007, when Ian Paisley, the recently appointed First Minister of Northern Ireland, and the Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, met at the site. Paisley then spoke as follows:

It would be a good thing for nationalists to know orange history and for Unionists to know green history. At last we can embrace this battle site as part of our shared history. Understanding our past is the only sure way to understand our present. Instead of reverberating to the roar of cannon fire, the charge of men, the shot of musket or the clash of sword steel, today we have tranquillity of still water where we can contemplate the past and look forward to the future.1


National Identity European History Religious Tension Green Lawn Sectarian Violence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© John Wolffe 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queen’s University BelfastUK

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