NOT MANY TO BE SEEN THESE DAYS
When I was young I remember my Grandmother saying as we passed a large house saying that “protestants live in that house” when I asked her how she knew she replied that they have King Billy’s horse above the door. I was a bit surprised by Grandmothers’s comment as her sister happened to be a Protestant.
It is claimed that inner-city Dublin Protestants (especially in the Stoneybatter Area near where I currently live) displayed statues of white horses that, to their eyes, represented William of Orange, while to onlookers they appeared to be merely decorative items – thus allowing them to display important iconography after Irish Independence without exposing themselves to problems with their Catholic neighbours.
The myth is that William, who was dressed in gleaming armour, was riding a white horse while his banner bore the words ‘God and the Protestant religion’. According to historic records the horse that featured in the Battle Of The Boyne was brown.
The Battle of the Boyne is a 1778 historical painting by the Anglo-American artist Benjamin West. It portrays the Battle of the Boyne which took place in Ireland in 1690. West’s depiction of William of Orange on his white horse became the iconic image of liberation from Catholic Ireland; the painting was widely copied and distributed throughout the nineteenth century. The painting itself is at Mount Stewart, Newtownards, Northern Ireland, and is the property of the National Trust.