Did you know that there was heavy Irish involvement in the Battle of Waterloo? In fact, the winning General at the Battle, the Duke of Wellington, was Irish, as was one-third of the British army of the time.
On June 18, 1815, 205 years ago, the Battle of Waterloo took place near the Waterloo, in Belgium. The Seventh Coalition and a Prussian Army, commanded by Gebhard 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.
Read more: The Battle of Waterloo and the Irish
Back in 2015, an RTÉ documentary used spectacular reconstructions filmed on the battlefield of Waterloo itself to show what happened in the battle. It showed how Irish soldiers played key roles throughout the fighting, from the lowest privates to the highest generals, and it looked at what became of the Irish soldiers in the years after the fighting ended.
Ireland had an important role as a huge military center during the Napoleonic wars.
* Originally published in August 2016.