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This Sceptred Isle

The Battle of the Boyne
James II landed in Ireland in 1689 and was welcomed; he reigned in Dublin with an Irish Parliament and defended by a Catholic army numbering 100,000 men. William III was concerned with Europe, Parliament with Ireland. Finally William was forced to ignore the European war and concentrate on Ireland.

William III met James II at the Boyne and defeated him. Once again James II fled to France. William took Dublin and was now free to go to war in Europe.

Louis XIV
Louis XIV
LOUIS XIV (1638-1715)

  • King of France, The Sun King
  • The King who built Versailles became monarch at the age of five
  • Married to Maria Theresa the daughter of Philip IV of Spain
  • Ruled his Government as well as his people
  • Restructured the French army into the most formidable fighting force in Europe
  • His claim to the Spanish Netherlands provoked a triple alliance of Britain, Holland and Sweden
  • Maria Theresa died in 1683, Louis then married his mistress, the Marquise of Maintenon an unforgiving Catholic
  • His revoking of the Edict of Nantes, led to the persecution of Protestants and the mass emigration of French Huguenots

did you know?
The Battle of the Boyne is the most important day in the Ulster Unionist marching season.


Orders were given to march miles to the westward of Limerick to a village called Carrick O'Gunel and the adjacent places.

We had plenty of meat and barley bread baked in cakes over or before the fire, and abundance of milk and butter, but no sort of drink.

Yet this is counted the best of quarters, the people generally being the greatest lovers of milk I ever saw, which they eat and drink about twenty several sorts of ways and what is strangest, for the most part love it best when sourest.

None but the best sort of inhabitants of great towns eat wheat, or bread baked in an oven, or ground in a mill. The meaner people content themselves with little bread, but instead thereof eat potatoes, which with sour milk is the chief part of their diet. Beer or ale they seldom taste, unless they sell something considerable in a market town.

They all smoke, women as well as men, and a pipe an inch long serves the whole family several years, and though never so black and foul is never suffered to be burnt.

Seven or eight will gather to the smoking of a pipe, and each taking two or three whiffs gives it to his neighbour, commonly holding his mouth full of smoke till the pipe comes to him again.

Very little clothing serves them, and as for shoes and stockings, much less. In the better sort of cabins there is commonly one flock bed, seldom more, feathers being too costly. This serves the man and his wife. The rest all lie on straw, some with one sheet and blanket, only their clothes and blanket to cover them. The cabins have seldom any floor but the earth, or rarely so much as a loft. They say it is of late years that chimneys are used, yet the house is never free from smoke. That they have no locks to their doors is not because there are not thieves but because there is nothing to steal ... whether nastiness of the air be the cause of it I know not, but all the kingdom, especially the north, is infected with the perpetual plague of the itch.

Select historical period

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1677 Princess Mary marries William of Orange
1685 Charles II dies
James II becomes king of England
Monmouth Rebellion put down
1687James II dissolves Parliament
1688 Seven bishops imprisoned
Birth of James's son
William of Orange lands in England
James flees abroad
1689William III and Mary II become king and queen of England
1690Irish Jacobites defeated at Boyne
1691Treaty of Limerick
1694Death of Mary II
1701 Death of James II
Louis XIV of France recognizes the Old Pretender as king
1702 Anne becomes queen
1704 Battle of Blenheim

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