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Battle of the Boyne Area Today

A map of the area around the battle positions

Battle of the Boyne summary

The Battle of the Boyne (Irish: Cath na Bóinne, IPA: [ˈkah n̪ˠə ˈbˠoːn̪ʲə]) was fought in 1690 between two rival claimants of the English, Scottish, and Irish thrones – the Catholic King James and the Protestant King William (who had deposed James in 1688) – across the River Boyne near Drogheda on the east coast of Ireland. The battle took place on 1 July 1690 in the Julian calendar.

  1. William sent about a quarter of his men to cross the river at Roughgrange , about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) west of Donore and about 6 miles (9.7 km) SW of Oldbridge
  2. The Duke of Schomberg's son, Meinhardt , led this crossing, which Irish dragoons in picquet under Neil O'Neill unsuccessfully opposed
  3. James, an inexperienced general , thought that he might be outflanked and sent half his troops, along with most of his artillery, to counter this move
  4. What neither side had realized was that there was a deep, swampy ravine at Roughgrange. Because of this ravine , the opposing forces there could not engage each other, but literally sat out the battle
  5. The Williamite forces went on a long detour march which, later in the day, almost saw them cut off the Jacobite retreat at the village of Naul
  6. At the main ford near Oldbridge, William's infantry led by the elite Dutch Blue Guards forced their way across the river, using their superior firepower to slowly drive back the enemy foot-soldiers, but were pinned down when the Jacobite cavalry counter-attacked
  7. Having secured the village of Oldbridge, some Williamite infantry tried to hold off successive cavalry attacks with disciplined volley fire, but were scattered and driven into the river, with the exception of the Blue Guards
  8. The Williamites were not able to resume their advance until their own horsemen managed to cross the river and, after being badly mauled, managed to hold off the Jacobite cavalry until they retired and regrouped at Donore, where they once again put up stiff resistance before retiring
  9. The Jacobites retired in good order
  10. William had a chance to trap them as they retreated across the River Nanny at Duleek , but his troops were held up by a successful rear-guard action
  11. The Jacobites were badly demoralised by the order to retreat, which lost them the battle. Many of the Irish infantrymen deserted. The Williamites triumphantly marched into Dublin two days after the battle