Saturday, July 4, 2015

Battle of the Boyne, Ireland

After visiting Drogheda, Laura and I drove on to the nearby Battle of Boyne site.  It was a busy place with archery  and knights competing in the green.  We walked through  the main exhibits which were the very best. I was reminded of other high quality war representations I’ve seen, the best of which were the Crimean War in  Istanbul Military Museum , Stalingrad in the Moscow War Museum and Custer’s Last Stand. The map here with audio explanation and flashing lights showing troop movements was perfect.  It was an amazingly matched encounter of calvary and infantry of  Protestant King William of Orange and Catholic King James II.  So much depended on this war and the Division of Ireland and the Troubles all stem from this.
I loved the animated manekins in the tents in the room showing the night before the battle. Each of leaders spoke with his advisors about the planning of the upcoming battle.  Then there was the actual cannons and stables.  What was really funny was a wall that showed common phrases which we use today, that were used in that day. Big Wig, Hold Your Horses, Lock, Stock and Barrell.
I have to remember my grandfather was an Orange Man with his Orange Sash belonging to the Orange Lodge and celebrating Protestantism as he marched in the annual Orange Parade in Toronto. While we were in Ireland the annual Orange Man Parade was being confronted.  IRA had planted a bomb under a constable's car. We saw the Shankhill Belfast Orange Lodge and learned about the King William of Orange and King James II at the Apprentice Boys of Londonberry exhibit.  It all seemed to sink in looking out on the actual Battle of Boyne battle field.
I love God and Jesus and feel that religious divisions are man made.  As God is one, so we are one together when we know God within, One God.  The recognition of this Battle of Boyne site as important historically to all of Ireland went along way to quieting the tensions that existed in Northern Ireland.
Growing up and living in Canada we take for granted our life of relative peace under the protection of nearby America. Sure there was the violence of Quebec but that was short lived. There’s been aboriginal roadblocks and violence but nothing compares to the violence that has split Ireland.  Nothing we have known compares in any way to the strife people have seen in Serbia, Vietnam,  Africa and South America.  It’s hard to comprehend that the Ukraine is presently experiencing civil war with Russian backed fighters. Israel has been under repeated attacks from its neighbours. ISIS wrecks havoc in the middle east beheading anyone and everyone.  When I was in Azerbaijan I heard about their war with Armenia.
Somehow because of the chronic navel gazing  of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and their addiction to political correctness I don’t think I was very well informed about what was happening when the USSR was splitting up. Maybe I wasn’t listening but more often than not the media seems to focus on irrelevancies such as their own partisanship about pay checks.  There’s obviously too much to know in this internet connected global world.  The media has a few ‘pet’ propaganda pieces and whole bits of the world go unacknowledged.
I remember fondly the American in Colorado who looking at the plates on my Harley Davidson asked me where I was from.  “Canada”, I replied.  “That’s north and Mexico is south,” he said with uncertainty.  I answered ‘yes’.  Roman’s in the Roman Empire wouldn’t have known more.  I didn’t judge him, since his country is the centre of the universe and mine though near is not nearly as significant as we might think. World travel has reminded me that not only are we insignificant as a single blue planet in amazing galaxies of planets, we’re not even that significant as a country. And personally I’m not really significant. Though I may be all I think about.  I don’t know the names or locations of all the African nations.  Geography is it’s own speciality and the maps are always changing. That’s what we forget in Canada.  Elsewhere the maps are changing.
Working with refugees as I have, their harrowing experiences have been wholly alien to my own Canadian peaceful privilege and blessing.
Given our innocence as Canadians it’s so easy to be naive.  I’d say Canadians in general are Polly Anna about world affairs.   Revenge and forgiveness are still very much at war.  This trip to Ireland was an eye opener for me.  I can only pray that peace will prevail.
Laura and I loved having tea in the elegant tea pavilion. The fragrance from the flowers was divine.
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