No year in Irish history is better known than 1690. No Irish battle is more famous than William III’s victory over James II at the River Boyne, a few miles west of Drogheda. James, a Roman Catholic, had lost the throne of England in the bloodless “Glorious Revolution” of 1688. William was Prince of Orange, a Dutch-speaking Protestant married to James’s daughter Mary, and became king at the request of parliament. James sought refuge with his old ally, Louis XIV of France, who saw an opportunity to strike at William through Ireland. He provided French officers and arms for James, who landed at Kinsale in March 1689. The lord deputy, the Earl of Tyrconnell, was a Catholic loyal to James, and his Irish army controlled most of the island. James quickly summoned a parliament, largely Catholic, which proceeded to repeal the legislation under which Protestant settlers had acquired land.
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