Ever wondered why the Irish flag is green, white and orange?
The national flag of the Republic of Ireland or the “tricolour” as it’s more commonly known, depicts our long and eventful history.
The rectangular flag has three equal vertical stripes: green, white and orange, each signifying a part of our history. But why these colours?
The green colour on the flag is always positioned next to the hoist. It represents the Irish Catholic nationalists, as the colour green has long been associated with Ireland.
The orange colour on the flag signifies the Northern Irish Protestants, the orange strip representing William Of Orange, the King of England who defeated the Roman Catholic King James II in the Battle of the Boyne on July 1st 1690.
The white colour in the centre of the flag represents a truce and peace between the two sides.
But did you know that the tricolour was not the first Irish flag? In the 1790′s a group called ‘The Society of United Irishmen’ used a green flag with a gold harp, which they often carried into battle and rebellions with them!
This Irish tricolour was first introduced in 1848 by a man named Thomas Francis Meagher, an Irish revolutionary who was born in County Waterford. He was a founding member of Young Ireland – a group motivated to achieve Irish nationalism. He went to France to study and when he returned he brought with him a design for a new Irish flag, which was, in fact, based on the French tricolour. This flag was first flown in Waterford in 1848, but it was not adopted as the Irish flag until some years later in 1921, after the War of Independence when it was raised above the General Post Office (GPO) in Dublin.
Other things you should know about our National Flag;
· The green strip is always positioned next to the flagpost
· The flag length should be two times its width
· When raising or lowering the national flag it should never touch the ground
· When displayed at ceremonies or functions, all present should stand and face the national flag, with those in uniform giving a hand salute.
· When the National Athem is played at a gaelic football match all people present should stand and face the national flag until the anthem is over.
· With the exceptions of funerals etc, the Irish flag should only be flown between sunrise and sunset.
· The national flag should never be carried flat unless it is carried on a coffin with the green stripe at the head of the coffin – usually for state funerals.
· The flag is flown at half mast for the death of a prominent figure
· When the Irish flag is flown with a group of European flags – they are flown left to right with the EU flag first followed by every other country in alphabetical order.
When in Ireland you’ll see the Irish flag flying proudly over the following builidings: Aras an Uachtaráin – the home of Mary McAlesse the President of Ireland, Leinster House in Dublin city, other Irish state buildings, courthouses and garda stations.
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