River Boyne in Irish History
This evening I am focusing on the River Boyne and its place in Irish history.
Boyne is one of the earliest recorded place names. Ptolemy recorded the river at the Bavinda ( a transliteration of the Celtic ‘illuminated cow’) as far back as AD 150.The name Boinn or Boand refers to the goddess or divinised River Boyne.
Close to the Boyne can be found the famous prehistoric passage tombs of Bru na Boinne dating from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. Here there are 30-40 tombs found at Knowth, Newgrange and Dowth. Passage tombs comprise a circular mound or cairn delimited by a ring or kerb of stones covering a structure consisting of a passage and chamber. Newgrange is the most famous of the passage tombs. The Boyne region is also noted for the concentration of megalithic art; some 70pct of decorated stones in Ireland can be found here.
Moving forward to 1690 it was close to the Boyne that as fought the most famous military engagement in Irish history, the outcome of which still resonates to this day, particularly in Northern Ireland. The Catholic James II and Protestant William III commanded armies totalling 60,000 men. William’s forces won the day, and in so doing secured Protestant ascendancy over the Catholic establishment in Ireland of the time.
Here is a video clip of the battlefield whilst below can be found a reenactment soldier at the Visitor Centre.
The Boyne sites are roughly 50km north of Dublin.
Here is the River Boyne
Here is the (partly reconstructed) Newgrange passage tomb.