Re-posting last year's article on the Twelfth may seem like laziness but I've realised there's really little else to add. I can only hope that one day people in Ireland can think of the Twelfth differently and not riot over it.
Northern Ireland's unofficial National Day is upon us once again, although it is seen by many as an anachronism. 12th July commemorates the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 when the Dutch Prince William of Orange defeated the Catholic King James II following what became known as the glorious revolution, when William became King William III of England.
Modern day memories of the event have boiled down to a religious conflict between a Catholic and a Protestant King, leading to the conclusion that the event is a sectarian one and has no place in the modern world. But this is a false one, as it has been shown that religious lines were not so clearly drawn at the time, and that the affiliations of the combatants were not so neatly dissected.
The conflict was between a rather authoritarian King James on the one hand, who could have easily sent Europe back to the middle ages, and a progressive Dutch monarch who was supported by Parliament. It was in fact a hugely significant event, and one of the reasons, I suspect, that many Irishmen commemorate this date is that is was really the last time in history that events in Ireland played a major role in shaping world events.
The reasons for, and details of the conflict may seen hazy and complicated, or even lost in the mists of time, but there can be no doubt that the installation of William as King of England marked a decisive moment in European history.