The Battle of Waterloo: “Nationwide’s” in depth look at the defeat of the French empire in Belgium and Ireland’s involvement.

This special edition of Nationwide marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and looks in particular at Irish involvement in the Battle of Waterloo. Shot on location in Belgium and Ireland, this programme reminds us that the winning General at the Battle, the Duke of Wellington, was Irish, as was one third of the British army of the time.

The documentary will be available on RTE's Player International, from June 18, around the world.

On June 18th 1815, 200 years ago, the Battle of Waterloo took place near the Waterloo, in Belgium. The seventh Coalition and a Prussian Army, commanded by Gerbhard Von Blucher, and an Anglo-Allied Army commanded by the Duke of Wellington, defeated the French Empire which was led by Michael Ney and Napoleon Bonaparte. Breakfasting that morning, Napoleon stated “I tell you Wellington is a bad general, the English are bad troops and this affair is nothing more than just eating breakfast”

Waterloo marked the end of the “tyrant rule” of Napoleon as the emperor of France. The forces of the Seventh Coalition successfully entered France and returned Louis XVIII to the French Throne. Resigning from the throne and surrendering to the British Government, Napoleon was to die in exile in 1821 at Saint Helena.

Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington was an Anglo-Irish soldier and an Irish native, and one of the leading political and military figures in 19th Century Britain, having fought in no less than 60 battles throughout his military career.

Using spectacular reconstructions filmed on the battlefield of Waterloo itself, the programme shows what happened in the battle, how Irish soldiers played key roles throughout the fighting, from the lowest privates to the highest generals and it looks at what became of the Irish soldiers in the years after the fighting ended.

It also reminds us of Ireland’s role as a huge military center during the Napoleonic wars, and it looks at the legacy of the wars on Ireland, its people, society and economy.

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