Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Walk with History

Note: Unfortunately this is out of sequence. It should have been posted prior to the piece on Fourknocks.

Pathway along the River Boyne

Earlier in the day that we went to Monasterboice and Mellifont, we had a long walk along the River Boyne to the site of the Battle of the Boyne. That pivotal 1690 battle, won by William of Orange, resulted in Ireland being kept under British Protestant domination, with reverberations to the present day. We went there not because of the battle, but because it was at the end of a beautiful river walk. Altogether, we calculated we walked 10 miles that day.

We encountered a few people on the path, including a woman walking her dog (Lucy?), who stopped and chatted with us for several minutes. She talked about the state of the world. “But I have hope in the young people,” she said.  Because we are from the U.S., she mentioned the Irish in America and the potato famine (1845-49) that drove so many to our shores. I realized, of course, that the famine had seared the Irish soul, because so many millions of people died of starvation or were forced to leave their homes. But I don’t think I realized until speaking with her how close to the surface that era still is. Her whole voice and body language changed as she spoke passionately of that time.  For us, it was no longer just a river walk. It was a walk with history.

Photos of Oldbridge House, a museum at the Battle of the Boyne site and the walled garden there

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