On Saturday we went for an outing to the site of the Battle of the Boyne. Despite Mr. Waffle’s dubiety this proved a very successful expedition with an interesting exhibition, many cannons and some lovely parkland. And, as Michael pointed out to me, in great excitement, a map. The exhibition was very carefully done to reflect what is usually tactfully referred to as “both traditions”. It was underlined that Irishmen fought on both sides. There was no triumphalism and only sign of the unfortunate outcome for Irish catholics was a copy of this act without a great deal of further comment:
The children were delighted by the interactive displays and the adults were interested. The occasion was only marred by an all too accurate description of the failed charge of the Jacobite cavalry. This led to the Princess moaning for the rest of the afternoon: “They killed the horses, they killed the innocent horses.” Pointing out that, as the battle took place some 320 years ago, the horses were long dead was of no comfort to herself. Even a picnic in the park in glorious sunshine was only a slight distraction from the nastiness of battle and the infinitely superior regime pertaining for horses in Narnia.
After lunch we took ourselves off to the ruins of the Cistercian Abbey at Mellifont. The visitor centre was closed and I feared that we might not be able to get to the site itself but it was open and we saw it at its best. There were few other visitors and the weather was beautiful. The children occupied themselves filling their hats with gravel and we were able to lie on the grass admiring the surroundings and imagining the cloisters.
At about 5 in the afternoon when we returned home, I had to go into town to pick up some things. Town was hot and heaving with people, most of them sweaty, red-faced, disgruntled children in buggies. I finished my errands in ten minutes and flew home borne up on the wings of smugness as I reflected on our glorious day in the country. I am sure that this is very bad but I’m past caring.