Today, the 12th of July, especially in Northern Ireland, is celebrated by the Protestants for the victory of King William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. In recent years the marches by members of the Orange Order, which sees itself as a champion of Protestantism and defender of a British Protestant monarch, have caused riots as they've proceeded through Catholic neighborhoods. This year, hoping to reduce violence, the Parade Commission banned a number of Orange Lodges from returning from the main parade through certain neighborhoods.
I've not found any specific records that show that my ancestors were members of the Orange Order, but I would not be surprised. My grandmother always said she was from the North! However, she emigrated at the age of 17 in 1909, before Ireland was split, and her birth location was Ballyshannon in County Donegal, now part of the Republic. As a child I didn't understand why she wanted me to wear orange on St. Patrick's Day <g>.
Looking from this side of the Atlantic, it's hard to understand why this animosity continues, and although we frequently see it as a religious issue, it's really much deeper than that. To understand this you need to read about the history of Ireland. If you can't handle a history book, you might enjoy an historical novel. I strongly recommend The Dublin Saga by Edward Rutherford. There are two books, The Princes of Ireland and The Rebels of Ireland (warning: both are about 1000 pages). You can check your local library or purchase them by clicking here and selecting Historical Novels.
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