Flag of Ireland
The national flag is a tricolour of green, white and orange vertical
stripe with the green next to the staff. Some state that the third
strip is gold not orange and it was taken from the gold harp on the
original Green Flag.
This confusion arose in the 1916-22 period when the tricolour, was
supplanting the Green Flag as the principal national emblem. Green and
gold, the colours of the Green Flag, were regarded as the national
colours throughout the nineteenth century and some of the homemade
tricolours from the 1916-22 period were green, white and gold. There
are also some songs from that period, which refer to 'green, white and
gold' flags, but the symbolism of the green, white and orange dates
Thomas Francis Meagher first introduced the flag during the
revolutionary year of 1848 as an emblem of the Young Ireland movement,
and it was often seen displayed at meetings alongside the French
The green represents the older Gaelic and Anglo-Norman element in the
population, while the orange represents the Protestant planter stock,
supporters of William of Orange. The meaning of the white was well
expressed by Meagher when he introduced the flag. 'The white in the
centre', he said, 'signifies a lasting truce between the 'Orange' and
the 'Green' and I trust that beneath its folds the hands of the Irish
Protestant and the Irish Catholic may be clasped in heroic
This flag didn't come into general usage until the war of independence
(1919-1921). Prior to this, the green flag with gold harp was the main
symbol of nationalism. It was not until the Rising of 1916, that the
tricolour came to be regarded as the national flag. Article 7 of the
constitution of Ireland states "The National Flag is the Tricolour of
Green, White and Orange."
When a flag is needed to represent the entire island,
the Saint Patrick's Flag is sometimes used.
Flag of Ireland since 1919 /
The Standard of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1801
until 1922), sometimes used as the official Irish flag
under British rule.
The British Royal Standard
shows an ancient Irish flag in its lower left quadrant.
Used by the Queen in Northern Ireland.
18th century unofficial Irish flag, now the standard of
the President of Ireland.
Northern Ireland's Flag.