Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre
Members were delighted to be greeted by sunshine at Oldbridge in Drogheda on the day of our visit to the Battle of the Boyne battlefields.
Our wonderful organiser, Elizabeth Bicker, refused to accept responsibility for having arranged the gorgeous weather, but we definitely owe her a debt of gratitude for organising such a fantastic line-up of activities for the afternoon. As always, her schedule ran like clockwork.
Following a pleasant lunch in the café of the Visitors’ Centre, we went out into the sunshine to watch, listen and learn about the ‘Friesian Black’ horse and its role in the Battle. A fully-costumed rider delighted us with a demonstration of how a well-trained war horse was expected to behave on the battle field in the 17th century.
We were then treated to a fascinating ‘soldier’s view’ of how the battle came to be held at the Boyne; how the armies were positioned; what the origins of each King’s soldiers were; why the Williamites had the edge; and what the Jacobites’ fatal mistake was. These insights into the who, what, where and why of the battle were delivered in a wonderfully engaging way by Harvey Bicker. Harvey is a member of the Military Heritage of Ireland Trust and it was an absolute privilege to listen while he brought the battle to life around about us.
From there, Elizabeth led us to the banks of the Boyne where the Williamites had crossed in seemingly endless waves to attack King James’ forces at Oldbridge. The sound of the re-enactment muskets firing lured us back to the Visitor Centre where the OPW guide talked us through the battle preparations. Following a walk through the exhibition, we rejoined our guide in the audio visual centre to view re-enactment films and gain further insights into the history of the battle.
Our tour finished back at the café where the group enjoyed whipped icecreams, coffee and cakes before heading home. Our Chair, Dr. Jane McKee, led a vote of thanks to Elizabeth and Harvey for giving us such a wonderful and memorable day on the banks of the Boyne. For those who didn’t make it on the day, we heartily recommend a visit – especially on a Sunday when the colourful re-enactments take place, on the hour, throughout the summer season.
Annual Huguenot Service
On Sunday October 2nd, members gathered for the Annual Huguenot Service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. This is a key event in the Society’s calendar and we are grateful to the Dean for welcoming us to the Cathedral and facilitating this event which allows us to honour the memory of our Huguenot forefathers who gathered for worship in the Cathedral and in other churches throughout Ireland.
We are also grateful to those members who kindly brought sandwiches, cakes and tray-bakes to share with fellow members after the service. This ‘Afternoon Tea’ provides a lovely opportunity for members to meet with each other and catch up on all the news. Our Hon Sec, Elizabeth Bicker, is to be thanked for her wonderful organization of the day which, as always, went without a hitch and was enjoyed by all.
This year, the address during the service was delivered by Professor Jean-Paul Pittion (Fellow emer., TCD. Professor emer., Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours.) Professor Pittion’s address was greatly enjoyed by those present. The subject was Abraham Tessereau, a member of the reformed Churches who was born in a Western province of France in the mid 1630s and who died in exile in Holland at the end of the 17th century. Abraham Tessereau deserves to be better known by anyone interested in the history of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes and in the Huguenot Refuge.
For those who could not attend, the Professor has kindly provided a copy of his address..