True meaning and story behind the Irish flag
By The Headlines, March 25, 2023 | 10:48 AM
What does the Irish flag symbolize?
The iconic tricolour has become a ubiquitous symbol of Ireland, but what exactly is its significance? Here we explore the deep and powerful story behind Ireland's national flag and its profound meaning.
The Irish flag boasts of a tricoloured pattern arranged in the following order from left to right: green, white, and orange.
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The Irish tricolour is a global phenomenon. From the homes of expats to Irish pubs, it can be seen proudly waving in the windows symbolizing Ireland's presence. It's also an inevitable sight during Ireland's sports matches, further cementing its place in hearts everywhere.
Everyone knows the iconic Irish flag, but not many are aware of its powerful history and meaning. We believe everyone in Ireland should be proud of this story, so let's explore the facts together.
What does the Irish flag symbolize?
The national flag of Ireland, which is popularly referred to as the tricolour, also goes by the name of Bratach na hÉireann in Irish.
Symbolic of the Catholic & Protestant faiths, the colours green & orange are used respectively. The white between them stands as a symbol of peace and agreement between the two religions.
The Irish civil war between the Catholics and Protestants is a defining moment in their history. The national flag of Ireland serves as a reminder of this turbulent past and unites the communities in peace & harmony. But there is far more to this symbol than meets the eye, as it tells an even deeper story.
The story behind the Irish flag - a gift from France
In 1848, Thomas Francis Meagher was presented with a flag by a group of French women who were wishing for peace and unity between the two religions.
Meagher's colours had a deeper meaning - that of an everlasting truce between Orange and Green, to bring Irish Protestants and Catholics together in unity & brotherhood. The white colour at the centre was symbolic of this mission.
The Easter Rising of 1916 is a day to be remembered and what happened on this day forever changed Irish history. On that day, the Irish flag was flown over the GPO in Dublin and it marked a turning point as it quickly grew to become a symbol of Ireland, eventually being adopted as its national flag.
An iconic symbol of Irish history, the tricolour flag flew during both the Irish War of Independence and the Irish Free State until being granted constitutional status in 1937.
It is a common sight these days to see the Irish Flag flying on both sides of the Irish border and at GAA matches & other Irish sports events. This is a sign of the nation's patriotism and national pride.
There was a period of time between 1848 and 1916 when the Irish tricolour wasn't used as the national flag. Instead, a green flag featuring a harp in its centre represented Ireland during this period. Despite not being used, the tricolour holds great importance to the citizens of Ireland.
The tricolour, which would come to represent Ireland, was originally inspired by the French Tricolour and the ideals of the French Revolution. It was declared Ireland's national flag in 1937 and has been associated with Irish freedom since 1916.
Some more facts about the Irish Flag
Meagher and his Young Irelander followers were inspired by the 1848 revolutions in various European cities. When they went to Paris to show their solidarity with the French revolutionaries, they were presented with a tricolour as a gift.
The Irish Protestant community widely favoured King William III of Britain, who was the Dutch Protestant prince - William of Orange. This is why the colour orange is included in their flag as a symbol to represent their Religion.
The Irish national flag, like other flags, needs to be flown according to certain guidelines. It has to be placed higher than other flags & should never come in contact with the ground. If its colour begins to fade and it looks worn, it is necessary for you to replace it.
The Irish government promotes peace and unity by discouraging the use of flags with green, white and gold. To fully respect this sentiment, flags should be orange instead of gold for maximum effect.
The white in the centre of the Irish flag stands as a representation of peace and unity, while also conveying the message stated in the Constitution that anyone born in Ireland is entitled to being a part of an independent nation, regardless of any ethnic background, religious belief or political conviction.
The Irish flag is an incredible symbol of Irish culture and history, full of meaning and with a powerful narrative. Once you know the story behind it, the sight of it anywhere in Ireland or abroad will take on new significance. Therefore, we can safely say that the tricolour holds a place in many people's hearts.