The contribution made by Irish soldiers in the final defeat of Napoleon will be commemorated 200 years on at a special event in Enniskillen later this month.
Co Fermanagh is a fitting venue for the day of displays, re-enactments and activities being the home of two illustrious regiments praised for their heroism at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
Both the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoon Guards played vital roles in the bloody encounter that changed the course of European history.
On defeat, Napoleon is reputed to have commented: “That regiment with castles on their caps composes of the most obstinate mules I ever saw; they don’t know when they are beaten.”
The Duke of Wellington paid tribute to the ‘Skins’ saying: “They saved the centre of my line at Waterloo.”
On Saturday, May 30, St Mccartin’s Cathedral will host an 11am service for official guests who will then make their way to Enniskillen Castle for the beginning of the displays. Organisers have unearthed a wealth of links with families on both sides of the Irish border and secured many artefacts from some of the more noted military figures.
One local family with strong connections is that of the present Lord Lieutenant for Co Fermanagh, Lord Brookeborough, who had two ancestors facing the French at Waterloo.
While the museum at Enniskillen has a number of Waterloo medals on display, one of the most poignant is that awarded to seriously wounded Private Peter McMullen whose bravery led to royal acclaim. When told of the Downpatrick soldier’s heroism, the Duke of York visited him in hospital and agreed to be Godfather to his newborn infant – christened Frederica McMullen of Waterloo.