This is Orangemen’s Day – no, not the fruit…. It’s the day when Irish Protestants in Northern Ireland (and elsewhere) march with banners and regalia, celebrating the defeat of the former King James II of England and Ireland by his son-in-law William III, also known as William of Orange, at the Battle of the Boyne and the Battle of Aughrim (in 1690). James, a Catholic convert, had been ousted by William and had gone to Ireland in an attempt to reclaim the throne. As soon as it became obvious that the battle was going against him at the River Boyne, he fled to Dublin and then to France, leaving his army to fight on until they were defeated at Aughrim.
The Orange Marches, or Orange Walks as they are known in Scotland, held on Orangemen’s Day mark the climax of the ‘marching season’. The Orange Order was formed back in 1795 to uphold Protestant supremacy in Ireland. It subsequently became involved in resistance to the Home Rule movement, which sought to repeal the Act of Union with Great Britain and ultimately led to the partition of Ireland in the 1920s. Since the beginning of ‘troubles’ between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland in 1968, the Orange Lodge parades have often provoked unrest, especially in sensitive or controversial parts of their traditional routes.
On this day in 1998, France beat Brazil 3-0 to win the football World Cup. I wonder how Brazil will manage against Holland after their 7-1 thrashing by Germany…. today’s ‘third place’ football match will create another entry in the record books, whichever way it goes. Maybe, with today being Orangemen’s Day, the orange team will win?