He’s looking a little puzzled, isn’t he? That’s because his in the right place but the wrong century. He arrived up at Oldbridge, Drogheda recently, at the site of the Battle of the Boyne three centuries too late.
Mind you, if he hangs around until August 23rd, he should begin to feel at home again. National Heritage Week runs from that date until August 31st and the Battle of the Boyne site will be full of the sights and sounds of battle once more.
Oldbridge House was built in the 1740s after the Battle of the Boyne. It houses a museum which tells the story of this epic battle between King William of Orange and King James.
The grounds around the house have been beautifully developed making it a perfect place for everyone to enjoy from families, to runners and of course, troop and cavalry.
But back to my man in uniform. I am pleased to report that he began to settle in after a while. The sight of people wearing strange clothes, not to mention a lycra clad Red Hen, left him feeling a tad threatened, so he decided to do what he does best, and demonstrated the latest in seventeeth century weaponry.
Take one sharp knife. Attach it to the musket and hey, presto, you’ve turned your gun into a bayonet. In the hands of mounted troops, it proved to be quite a deadly weapon.
The musket itself can be fired after an elaborate process involving gun powder and goodness knows what else-I’ll have to listen more carefully next time round.
But I was impressed by the dramatic flare from the musket and the loud bang as the bullet was dispatched. I could only imagine what the scene must have been like with 36,000 Williamite troops and 25,000 Jacobite troops slugging it out on the field…
…and the confusion with all the smoke on the battlefield.
James’s troops were poorly armed, in comparison to the Williamite forces. Some just brought scythes and clubs to the battlefield. But there were also some cannon in both camps. Along with being a brutal and bloody affair, it must have been incredibly noisy too.
National Heritage Week Oldbridge House
Want to see this guy in action for yourself? He, or one of his fellow foot soldiers, will be back in action this Sunday, 24th or Sunday 31st of August. There will be cavalry displays and musket firing between 11.am-4.45 am on the grounds of Oldbridge House. Admission is free and no booking is required.
But, if you’d rather pass on that, there is a whole smorgasbord of events to choose from on National Heritage week. Most are free, though some need advance booking first, so check in with the National Heritage website before you go.
National Heritage Week Nation-Wide
I have had a browse through the website and, if I could forsake all responsibilities for the week, here’s what I’d like to do
Cork Photowalk Taking in some of Cork’s historical heritage
Kiltartan Gregory Museum-Yeats and Lady Gregory were shakers and movers in their day. I’d like to learn more about them here in this museum in the County Galway town of Gort.
Boat trip and guided tour of Doon Fort-in Ardara
And if you’re not in Ireland, I hope you have something similar on in your locality during the year. It’s a great excuse to get out there and explore.