“they deserve great credit for everything they are doing”

A BBC report highlights comments by Orange Order Grand Master Robert Saulters after leading a delegation to visit the site at the Battle of the Boyne where the Irish Government is building a visitors’ facility and associated works – although there’s an element of self-interest involved..From the BBC report

Mr Saulters said it was fascinating to see the work that was being done at the Boyne.

“At the moment it is a bit like a construction site but the plans we were shown were impressive,” he said.

“I believe that this will be a major tourist attraction for people from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and much further afield,” he said.

“Already many of our Orange brethren visit the site but when it is completed I am sure the numbers will increase dramatically.

“The work being done by the Irish Government to preserve this important site brings a very important legitimacy to the celebrations of the Orange Order and they deserve great credit for everything they are doing.”

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  • Altho’ located in an area populated by those who wouldn’t cherise the history of the site … was there not a plan to just level the whole area and put in a vast sports stadium for the a number of games / codes. There was to be recognition of the history of the site by including a ‘peace and reconciliation center’. The whole thing was coming to nought so they just started to run the bulldozers thro the place anyway..?

  • in line 1, that should have read ‘cherish’

  • miss fitz

    I,m not sure what kind of point anonymous is making, but I found that article really heartening.

    I visited the site a couple of years back, and I felt the neglect and absence of any markers indicated or were symbolic of the larger refusal in the ROI to accomodate a Unionist history.

    This is a great first step in the acknowledgement and incorporation of the two histories of the island. I welcome this wholeheartedly and hope that it is a great success.


    No anonymous. The new multi sports stadium was proposed for Abbotstown. And the people near it cherish the place greatly.

    Sorry to ruin the victim narrative.

    You’re getting mixed up with The Maze / Long Kesh, which should be levelled but is being turned into a terror theme park where our grandchildren can be reminded that we hate each other and spent generations trying to murder each other.

    Easy mistake to make I guess.


    “And the people near it cherish the place greatly.” – I mean the people who live near the Battle of the Boyne site. Obviously. The people of Abbotstown weren’t so keen on the Bertie Bowl.

  • Pete Baker

    Not just unionist history, Miss Fitz.. there’s the wider european dimension, not to mention the impact of the constitutional monarchy which William was offered by the parliament of the time.

  • seabhac siúlach

    “… was there not a plan to just level the whole area and put in a vast sports stadium for the a number of games / codes…”

    Eh…no…the site just involves a few green fields (so not much to level)…
    Perhaps you’re referring to the ‘Bertie Bowl’ that was to have been built in North Dublin for many billions of euro?
    There were some financial shenanigans going on regarding the Battle of the Boyne site, however. The ownership of the site changed hands (at least once) for many millions of pounds each time before the 26 county govt. stepped in to buy the site (at a quite inflated price). The site was bought at this inflated price solely for the purpose of building bridges with the Orange community in the six counties. The gesture and the whole initiative should therefore be taken at face value, I feel…

  • George

    This is a no-brainer. Political goodwill, guaranteed money-spinner and a historically important site that was crying out for investment.

    The location and what happened there will become a really successful tourist attraction, especially as it adds to the rest of the attractions in the Boyne Valley, such as Newgrange.

    Another quality tourist cluster for Fáilte Ireland to promote.

    seabhac siúlach,
    many billions for the Bertie Bowl? A touch of hyperbole there I feel.

    This project was undertaken for many reasons. You just happen to only want to, or are only able to, see one.

  • miss fitz


    Unfortunately, reminding the next generation of the problems we faced are one of the prime reasons for turning the maze into a permanent living museum.

    I have spent a great deal of time recently on the study of commemorations, and throughout the world in every society, the past is remembered in fitting and appropriate ways for a number of reasons. The most important reason is to remind us of how we can lose our moral compass and commit heinous crimes. In Rwanda and among Holocaust memorials, the message is always the same: commemoration is a moral act.

    At Yad Vashem in Jerusalem this motto hangs on the wall:

    ‘If we wish to live and to bequeath life to our offspring, if we believe that
    we are to pave the way to the future, then we must first of all not forget.’

  • miss fitz

    I take your point, but I think what I was trying to say is that there was a determined and purposeful effort to tell the story in a specific way to the exclusion of the other most important group on the island. And I am not confining this narrative to just the Boyne area, in many areas of Irish history we are the poorer for not having the whole tale told

  • seabhac siúlach

    “many billions for the Bertie Bowl? A touch of hyperbole there I feel.”

    Not at all…the last figure I saw was for 3.4 billion (if memory serves). This figure was to include the main stadium and all the other parts of the project, e.g., the conference centre, sports hall, sports academy, etc., etc. The project was ballooning with Bertie’s ego…
    McDowell himself (now Bertie’s loyal puppy) labelled it a ‘Ceaucescu’ project shortly before the last elections. With a short term downturn in the economy post 911 the project was quietly shelved…
    It was a project solely for Bertie’s ego and a scandal when the health service, etc. were crying out for money. Money was already wasted on buying up the site etc. when the project was scrapped.

  • George

    seabhac siúlach,
    the highest figure I ever heard quoted was 1 billion for the whole of Campus Ireland.

    By the way, do you honestly believe that the Boyne Site is being developed solely as a sop to the Orange Order?

    I don’t know what the Bertie Bowl has to do with this. Are you saying the Boyne Site project is a white elephant?

    It was one five Millenium projects (speaking of millenium projects and billion-pound white elephants, hello London).

    One of the objectives is for the Site to become a place to learn from the conflicts of the past as the people of this island work to build a peaceful future.

    I outlined some of the other reasons above.

  • George

    Also, another reason to develop this site is that it fits in with Ireland’s formal obligations under the Good Friday Agreement “to continue to take further steps to demonstrate its respect for the different traditions on the island of Ireland”.

    How better to do this than to work closely with the Orange Order on developing the Boyne Battle site?

  • All together

    I agree with tax-payers money going on the Battle of the Boyne site as part of Ireland’s history. How about a United Irelanders visitors site in Cavehill or elsewhere to commemorate 1798?

  • seabhac siúlach

    “By the way, do you honestly believe that the Boyne Site is being developed solely as a sop to the Orange Order?”

    Yes, or more to the point, it is a sop to Northern Protestants in general…to show that the south is not a cold house for them…
    If it was being done solely for tourism, etc., then it would have been developed many moons ago, much like Newgrange or countless other archaeological sites in Meath, e.g., Trim castle, etc. The timing is suspect, at least…coinciding with the ‘peace’ project.

    I do, however, believe it is a worthwhile project (not a white elephant!) irrespective of the political undertones. Military sites, such as this, that are of a wider European history should be remembered.
    I only mentioned the Bertie Bowl in part response to the initial post of ‘anonymous’ above…and for no other reason…

  • miss fitz

    All together
    More to the point, why?

    I can see the argument for the BOTB site. It is a famous and iconic venue, not just here but in many other places in the world.

    Actually, the reason I am so active on slugger today is that I am presently engaged in writing a paper examining the potential tourist attractiveness of Orangeism in all its forms. It may be uncomfortable for us catholics/nationalists to accept that the island’s story has to be amended to let themmuns have a say, but its about time.

    As to the whataboutery demonstrated in the previous post, ach sure thats what happends when you feel threatened.

  • nmc

    writing a paper examining the potential tourist attractiveness of Orangeism

    Short paper? I saw a few tourists on the news at the twelfth last year, pretty much all of whom were dumbfounded that a supposedly modern city should shut down for a sectarian carnival.

  • miss fitz


    You know, we have two choices in this part of the world. Adopt the cynical, all knowing, fred up attitude you are displaying, and give nothing a chance.

    On the other hand, we could wise up to ourselves, realise neither side is going to either cross the channel to Scotland or disappear into the Irish bogs. We’re stuck with each other, so lets get on with it. Is this such a hard concept to grasp?

    The 12th of July parades bring millions of pounds into our econemy every year, and there is the potential to marshal this for the good. In Bangor, the parades there are exemplary and provide direct evidence that a positive atmosphere can be established and maintained.

    If we look at the transformation of St Patricks Day parades in the ROI, we can see that changes can be made to fundamentally alter the nature of parades.

    Finally, the other thread that picks up on Jake on the Shankill Road is a good reminder that one of the types of tourism we will be accomodating for some time is the ‘dark tourism’. I am not suggesting that the OO parades fall into that category, but for some time to come people will be coming here to see for themselves what it was all about, and where it all took place. We can gurn about it, or welcome it and make sure we capitalise on it

  • nmc

    The 12th of July parades bring millions of pounds into our economy every year

    How many shops, bars and restaurants did you see, buzzing with people on the twelfth last year? Belfast city centre was dead as a door nail, every single shop losing money. My family collectively own three businesses, two in Belfast, one in Ballymena. All losing money due to the twelfth.

    Where do these millions get spent? Where do you get your figures from? Do these millions get taken away from security and clean up bills, and where does that leave the bottom line? Genuinely curious as to how the twelfth could be seen as anything other than a drag on the economy.

  • George

    seabhac siúlach,
    it’s part of a policy of respecting traditions on this island.

    This site and its development by the Irish State was named by, among others, Archbishop Eames as a suitable one for helping reconciliation and mutual understanding. The other was Messines.

    It seems the Irish government has acted on his, what I consider, excellent advice and focused on these two projects.

  • Greenflag


    ‘This project was undertaken for many reasons. ‘

    If it helps to broaden historical perspectives in Ireland it can only be a positive development.

    It can also remind the Irish of what they lost at the Boyne and how long it’s taken them to ‘recover’ . Lessons all around I’d say.

  • marty

    miss fitz
    The 12th of July parades bring millions of pounds into our econemy every year

    I’m with nmc on this – the 12th prevents business rather than encourages it (unless of course your business is band uniforms, drums, flutes, booze etc).

    On one of the local news programs last 12th they managed to track down around 5 separate packs of tourists. Apart from the canadians the others seemed to find the experience quite unsettling i.e. it’s aggressive and exclusive. One group of tourists complained, predictably, that nowhere was open.

    And on top of the lack of tourism you also have a significant number of people getting the hell out of here for the duration.

    So where is this money made? I really would like to see the stats. I’ll gladly tip my hat if someone can quantify it.

  • Greenflag

    Miss Fitz ,

    ‘If we wish to live and to bequeath life to our offspring, if we believe that
    we are to pave the way to the future, then we must first of all not forget.’

    Noble sentiments no doubt for the Israelis. Palestinians who read them may already be convinced that they are already forgotten or that they don’t apply to Palestinians .

    It’s all very well not to forget but do we have to remember every day /week/month / 3 month summermarching season etc etc etc .

    Memorials don’t stop future holocausts and I mean the latter in a general not just in the jewish case. First World war memorials did not stop World War 2 . World War 2 memorials or Holocaust museums did not stop what took place in Rwanda or the former Yugoslavia . The Vietnam Wall did not stop Iraq from becoming a charnel house .

    Memorials may be of interest to history students and academics and tourists but to build solid peace and a world without war you need functioning democracy and practical legislative institutions that can work and be accepted as legitimate by the vast majority of the citizens of any particular State . Even then it will always be an uphill struggle as ‘war’ has always been a part of man’s nature .

    I may wish it was’nt but it is . Someday ‘war’ between nations may be ‘outlawed’ . I don’t expect to live to see it nor do I expect it to happen in the lifetime of anyone on the planet today .

  • Matthew

    I’m all for it personally,I am better informed…but where were the unionists for the 90th ann of the Easter Rising,or the Irish Language etc….no reciprocity at all to irish history/culture..no matter how monocultural or well, mopey!…Lord Ludicrous is overtly silent right now….small mercies I suppose!…hell I am beginning to feel superior,damn it feels good!

  • Fergus D

    Re: MissFitz on memorials – it may be a good thing not to forget unpleasant historical events but a lot depends on how people view them today and what they take from them. Israelis, and all Jews, will never forget the horror and inhumanity of the holocaust but some may wonder what they have take from it. For many Jews certainly it has created a deep humanity and concern for others, for instance American Jews were prominent in the struggle for civil rights for black Americans. But many many American Jews and Israelis find it hard to acknowledge the suffering of Palestinians and undertsand the Palestininan desire for a refuge and a homeland.

    So…how is the Battle of the Boyne going to be presented at this commerative site, as there at least two very diferent views of of that event? It will be interesting to see, perhaps it will lead toa re-evaluation. How do Sluggerites see the BOTB?


    Miss Fitz, I find your comparison of what is planned at the Maze / Long Kesh to the Rwandan Genocide and Holocaust memorials nauseating.

    You say, “The most important reason is to remind us of how we can lose our moral compass and commit heinous crimes.” If you think for a second that that’s what’s being planned outside Lisburn, you haven’t been paying attention.

    We’re going to get precisely the opposite – a tribute to the ‘heroism’ of those who spent time there and died there and a presentation of the troubles as ‘a controversial time’ where people were forced to murder and maim because of social circumstance. All part of the revisionist process…

  • Bill

    Do we need the republic commemerating the papal victory of the Boyne?