Everyone knows that each year on the twelfth of July Northern Ireland is portrayed across the world as a backward, inward looking cess pit of sectarian hatred. The world peers in on our tribal differences and shakes its head in collective disapproval and disbelief.
The reputational damage that this yearly period of rioting and upheaval causes internationally is immense. And in the name of what, exactly?
It’s a curious thing that a “battle” should have taken place and not a single solitary artefact with any proven provenance exists. Why are there no remains, no uniforms or ordnance at the site, or elsewhere, that prove a battle took place? Why is everything “Believed to have been used at the battle of the Boyne” or “Similar to weapons that would have been in use at the time of the battle of the Boyne” (as stated by the Battle of the Boyne Visitors Centre)?
Any other battle in history has clear irrefutable evidence of it having taken place and material evidence to corroborate the fact, but not the battle of the Boyne. As far as I am aware there is one cannonball, a musket and several musket balls alleged (there is no provenance to any of these items) to have been fired at the “battle” of the Boyne. That’s a bizarrely small collection, don’t you think?
Other notable battles in Irish history have been studied and, where appropriate, historically revised to reflect fact rather than fiction. Most recently the Battle of the ford of biscuit is a case in point. Why then can we not revisit the issue of the supposed “battle” of the Boyne?
The reason is clear. To contemplate that there was no physical battle, or to even countenance an investigation of same whereby proof would be required to establish the veracity of claims of such, would undermine over three hundred years of protestant triumphalism.
Is it not time that we thoroughly investigated this mysterious lack of artefacts and provenance?