Catholic and Protestant will meet at Battle of the Boyne site

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DUBLIN -- Prime Minister Bertie Ahern announced Thursday he will meet Northern Ireland Protestant leader Ian Paisley on a hallowed battleground where Catholic and Protestant armies clashed three centuries ago -- an act symbolizing a new mood of reconciliation.

The May 11 event is timed to come three days after the formation of a power-sharing government in Northern Ireland led by Paisley, long a bellicose opponent of cooperation with the north's Catholic minority -- and with Ahern's government in the mostly Catholic south of Ireland.

"I am delighted that Dr. Paisley has accepted my invitation to visit the site of the Battle of the Boyne," Ahern said, referring to a July 12, 1690, clash between the armies of Protestant King William of Orange and the Catholic he had ousted from England's throne, James II.

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