The Battle of the Boyne was fought in 1690 between two rival claimants of the English, Scottish, and Irish thrones – the Catholic King James and the Protestant King William (who had deposed James in 1688) – across the River Boyne near Drogheda on the east coast of Ireland.
The battle, won by William, was a turning point in James' unsuccessful attempt to regain the crown and ultimately helped ensure the continuation of Protestant supremacy in Ireland.
Ironically, some contemporary historians have speculated that William's campaign may have been funded, at least in part, by Pope Alexander VIII as part of a shared hostility with William to Louis XIV of France, who at the time was attempting to establish dominance in Europe and to whom James was an ally.
William's forces defeated James' army of mostly raw recruits. The symbolic importance of this battle has made it one of the best-known battles in British–Irish history and it is a key part of the folklore for the Orange Order.
The Williamite side comprised of 36,000 troops made up of 12 nationalities, among then, Dutch, Danes, Germans, French Huguenots, English, Scottish, Irish, Swiss, Italians, Norwegians and Poles. The Jacobites numbered 24,000 men of five nationalities, Irish, English, Scottish, French and German.
Its commemoration today is principally by the Orange Institution.
King William III's Gardes te Voet, also known as the Blue Guard accompanied King William from Holland to England in November 1688. They landed in Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim on 14th June 1690 and marched to the River Boyne. On 1st July ( OS) they were the first Williamite regiment to cross the River Boyne at Oldbridge.