The History and Meaning of the Irish Flag
With St. Patrick's Day upon us, many of us in Boston reflect on our Irish roots. Whether your ancestors came over during the Great Famine, during the Troubles, or at another time you are more likely than not to be familiar with the flag of Ireland. As we consider our family histories, let's take a look at the history of the Irish flag.
Flag of Ireland
The official Flag of Ireland is a tricolor 1:2 flag, meaning that it is twice as wide as it is tall. It is divided into three equal fields, with green nearest the mast or pole, white in the middle, and orange on the trailing edge. The original symbolism behind the flag's design included green representing Ireland's Gaelic tradition, the orange was included to represent William of Orange's followers, and the white was symbolic of the hope for peace. It was presented to Thomas Meagher in 1848 by French sympathizers to the Irish cause, but wasn't considered the national flag until it was raised over the General Post Office during the Easter Rising in 1916. After this time, the flag became symbolic of a free and united Ireland. The flag was used during the Irish War of Independence and continues to be Ireland's national flag to this day.
Green Harp Flag
The Green Harp Flag was a commonly used to represent Ireland during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It consisted of a gold cláirseach (harp) on a green background. Though it was changed to a blue background in later years, the green version was later adopted by the United Irishmen, an Irish nationalist movement associated with both Protestant and Catholic Irish. The flag was associated with moderate nationalism at a time when the tricolour was confined to more radical movements. The Green Harp flag is the same design as the modern Flag of Leinster. Additionally, similar versions of the green field and gold harp were adopted by Irish brigades in several American wars.
Flags of Occupation
There were several flags used during British rule of Ireland. The St. Patrick's Saltire features a red X on a white field. It was rejected by Irish republicans because of its ties to Great Britain. The Blue Harp was the standard of the Kingdom of Ireland, and was then incorporated into both the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland's flag and a quadrant of the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom to represent Northern Ireland.
Now that you've had a chance to read about the history of the flag of Ireland, why not commission your own? At Accent Banner, we've been meeting the needs of Bostonians for over two decades. Contact us today for a free quote or more information on our flag making services.