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The Battle of the Boyne

United Kingdom Public holiday observed in Northern Ireland

United Kingdom
Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland. ©: robertprice877 / 123RF Stock Photo

When is the Battle of the Boyne?

How long until Battle of the Boyne?
This holiday next takes place in 229 Days.
Dates of Battle of the Boyne
Year Weekday Date
2019 Friday July 12th
2018 Thursday July 12th
2017 Wednesday July 12th
2016 Tuesday July 12th
2014 Monday July 14th
Duration
1 Day
Summary
Regional Holiday
Related holiday
Canadian Holidays Canada: Orangeman's Day

The Battle of the Boyne is also known as Orangeman's Day or the Twelth. It is an annual public holiday observed in Northern Ireland on July 12th.

If July 12th falls on a weekend, the following Monday will be observed as a public holiday.

History of the Battle of the Boyne

Events on this day commemorate the Battle of the Boyne, fought on July 1st 1690 by King William of Orange against King James II. The battle predates the switch to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, which is why it is now celebrated on July 12th.

Before the battle even began, with the forces lined up on opposite banks of the River Boyne, an early cannonball strike from James' artillery hit William on the shoulder. A few inches either way and the whole history of Ireland may have been changed. As it was, the injury wasn't serious enough to stop William commanding his troops and winning the day.

The victory of William and his Orangemen was seen as a key moment in the 'Glorious Revolution' when the Protestant (but not very English) William overthrew the Catholic James with the support of the English Parliamentarians.

How is the Battle of the Boyne celebrated?

The day is marked by marches by the Orange Order across Northern Ireland. As a significant proportion of the population of Northern Ireland is Catholic, The Twelfth is an undeniably contentious holiday, with the route of the marches serving as flash points for conflicts between Protestants and Catholics over the years.

On the Eleventh night, huge bonfires are lit in Protestant areas. The tradition is that the bonfires were lit to help King William navigate his way to his landing in Ireland at Carrickfergus Castle. However, the timing of a bonfire tradition so close to Midsummer Day may hint at an older source for the custom.


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