Wednesday 22 February 2017

The Irish should celebrate Wellington's victory at Waterloo

Published 10/07/2015 | 02:30


Naturally, the BBC celebrates Napoleon rather than Wellington at Waterloo in 2015, since the Brits love losers rather than winners (eg. at Wimbledon over many years of continuous failure).

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But I pay tribute here to an Irish army man, Colonel Dan Harvey, who has put us all in his debt by his book, launched in the Dublin home of the Top Man and No.1 seed at Waterloo, Art Wesley (TCD and Dangan, Co Meath), on June 18, 'A Bloody Day: The Irish at Waterloo' (H Books: Cork, Ireland, 2015).

If you are Irish (as I am not), may I suggest that you begin at pages 89-90 in Wellington's centre in the midst of the battle with the outcome still to be determined. Congrats to the gallant French infantry and cavalry, and the superlatively courageous Michel Ney (whatever happened to him after the battle?), on incredible feats of courage. The French will always remain in Irish eyes as the most gallant of gallant losers. But Napoleon was only and rightly seeded No.2 for this match. He came close to victory, as McEnroe came close to Borg in the epic Wimbledon final of 1980. Napoleon deserves to be remembered for his efforts at Waterloo in 1815. But Wellington deserved his seeding as No.1 and his victory will be celebrated for as long as the love of the freedom of nations (in 1808-1814 Portugal, Spain, etc, and in 2015 Greece) is to be set above the tyranny of empires.

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