- Flag of the Republic of Ireland
Name = Ireland
Use = 111111
Proportion = 1:2
Adoption = 1919
Design = A vertical
tricolourof green, white, and orange.
Type = NationalThe flag of Ireland is the
national flagof Ireland ( _ga. An Bhratach Náisiúnta), also known as the tricolour [In the English language, when referring to the Irish tricolour, it is correctly pronounced as "try"-colour" as opposed to "trickalour" for the French tricolour and other flags.] . It is a vertical tricolourof green(at the hoist), white, and orange. The flag proportion is 1:2 (length twice the width). The green represents the older Gaelic tradition while the orange represents the supporters of William of Orange. The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the 'Orange' and the 'Green'. [ [http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/index.asp?locID=194&docID=242 'National Flag] ' Department of the Taoiseach "Youth Zone" web page.]
First introduced by
Thomas Francis Meagherin 1848, it was not until the Easter Risingof 1916, when it was raised above the General Post Office in Dublin, that the tricolour came to be regarded as the national flag. The flag was adopted in 1919 by the Irish Republicduring its war of independence, and subsequently by the Irish Free State(1922–1937), later being given constitutional status under the 1937 Constitution of Ireland. The tricolour is regarded by many nationalists as the national flag of the whole of island of Ireland. Thus it is flown (often controversially) by many nationalists in Northern Irelandas well as by the Gaelic Athletic Association. [Sugden, John & Harvie, Scott (1995). [http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/csc/reports/sugdenharvie/sugdenharvie95-3.htm Sport and Community Relations in Northern Ireland] , Centre for the Study of Conflict, School of History, Philosophy and Politics, Faculty of Humanities, University of Ulster. Retrieved on 14 June 2007.] Historically the island has been represented by a number of other flags, including Saint Patrick's cross, and the flag of the four provinces of Ireland.
flag of Côte d'Ivoire's colours are the same but reversed in order.
Design and symbolism
In relation to the national flag of Ireland, the
Constitution of Irelandsimply states in Article 7:As there are no further statutory requirements in relation to the flag, the Department of the Taoiseachtakes general responsibility over matters relating to the flag. In its advisory role, the Department has issued guidelines to assist persons in their use of the national flag. [http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/attached_files/Pdf%20files/The%20National%20Flag.pdf The National Flag: Guidelines for use of the National Flag] , Department of the Taoiseach. ISBN 0-7-76-9101-X.] The flag should be rectangular in shape and its length should be two times its width, translating into an aspect ratio of 1:2. The three coloured pales — green, white and orange — should be of equal size, and vertically disposed. The precise colours of the flag as set by the Department of the Taoiseach are:
From these Pantone colours Wikipedia has extrapolated the RGB, Hex and CMYK as: [ ]
The flag should normally be displayed on a flagstaff, with the green pale positioned next to the flagstaff, at the hoist; the white pale positioned in the centre; and the orange pale positioned at the fly, farthest from the flagstaff. Provided that the correct proportions are observed, the flag may be made to any convenient size. [http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/attached_files/Pdf%20files/The%20National%20Flag.pdf The National Flag: Design] , Department of the Taoiseach. ISBN 0-7-76-9101-X.]
The green pale in the flag symbolises the older majority Gaelic tradition of Ireland. Green had long been associated with Ireland as a nation, [The island is often referred to as the "Emerald Isle".] [http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/ie-green.html Ireland: Green Flag] - Flags of the World] and with the revolutionary groups within it. The orange represents the minority who were supporters of William of Orange. He, of the
House of Orangeand originally the Stadtholderof the Netherlands, had defeated King James II and his predominantly Irish Catholic army [ [http://www.battleoftheboyne.ie/TheBattleoftheBoyne/] King James II leader at Battle of Boyne] at the Battle of the Boynein 1690. It was included in the Irish flag in an attempt to reconcile the Orange Orderin Ireland with the Irish independence movement. The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the two cultures and a living together in peace. [ [http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/index.asp?locID=194&docID=242 National Flag] , "Taoiseach.gov.ie", 2007. Retrieved on 11 June 2007.] The flag, as a whole, is intended to symbolise the inclusion and hoped-for union of the people of different traditions on the island of Ireland, which is expressed in the Constitution as the entitlement of every person born in Ireland to be part of the independent Irish nation, regardless of ethnic origin, religion or political conviction. [http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/attached_files/Pdf%20files/The%20National%20Flag.pdf The National Flag: The History of The Flag] , Department of the Taoiseach. ISBN 0-7-76-9101-X.] [Subject to the Twenty-seventh Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, 2004.]
It is claimed that often differing shades of
yellow, instead of orange, are seen at civilian functions. However the Department of the Taoiseach state that this is a misrepresentation which "should be actively discouraged" . In songs and poems, the colours are often enumerated as "green, white and gold". [See, for example: [http://www.ucis.pitt.edu/pehsc/index_files/fpframe_files/Lessons03/psu_lesson3.html "Long Journey Home"] by Elvis Costelloand Paddy Moloney.] Using "gold" in place of "orange" may variously be interpreted as simple poetic license, a throwback to the green and gold flag of nineteenth century nationalism, an identification with the papalcolours of white and gold, or a desire to downplay the symbolism of "green" Ireland being in harmony with Orangeism. [See, for example, the lyrics and commentary on the following Irish rebel songs: [http://www.vincentpeters.nl/triskelle/lyrics/greenwhitegold.php?index=080.010.040.010 "Green White and Gold"] ; [http://www.vincentpeters.nl/triskelle/lyrics/dyingrebel.php?index=080.010.020.040 "The Dying Rebel"] .]
A green flag featuring a harp was an older symbol of the nation of
Ireland, dating back at least to Confederate Irelandand the pursuits of Owen Roe O'Neillfrom 1642. [ [http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/ie-green.html Ireland: Green Flag] , "Flags of the World". Retrieved on 11 June 2007.] It was subsequently widely adopted by the Irish Volunteersand especially the United Irishmen. A rival organisation, the Orange Order, whose main strength was in the Ulster, and which was exclusively Protestant, was founded in 1795 in memory of King William of Orange and the " Glorious Revolution" of 1688. Following the Irish Rebellion of 1798, which pitted the "green" tradition of the republican United Irishmenagainst the Orange tradition of Anglican Protestant Ascendancyloyal to the British Crown, the ideal of a later nationalist generation in the mid-nineteenth century was to make peace between the two traditions and, if possible, to found a self-governing Ireland on such peace and union.
The oldest known reference to the use of the three colours of green, white and orange as a nationalist emblem dates from September 1830 when tricolour
cockades were worn at a meeting held to celebrate the French Revolution of that year — a revolution which restored the use of the French tricolour. [http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/ie.html Ireland] , "Flags of the World", 2001. Retrieved on 11 June 2007.] The colours were also used in the same period for rosettes and badges, and on the banners of trade guilds. However, widespread recognition was not accorded to the flag until 1848. At a meeting in his native city of Waterford on 7 March 1848, Thomas Francis Meagher, the Young Ireland leader, first publicly unveiled the flag from a second-floor window of the Wolfe Tone Club as he addressed a gathered crowd on the street below who were present to celebrate another revolution that had just taken place in France. [http://www.yourirish.com/tricolour-flag.htm Tricolour Flag of Ireland] , "Your Irish Culture", 2007. Retrieved on 11 June 2007.] It was inspired by the tricolours of France and Newfoundland; Meagher's father was born in Newfoundland. Speeches made at that time by Meagher suggest that it was regarded as an innovation and not as the revival of an older flag. From March of that year Irish tricolours appeared side-by-side with French ones at meetings held all over the country. John Mitchel, referring to the tricolour of green, white and orange that Meagher had presented from Parisat a later meeting in Dublin on 15 April 1848, said: "I hope to see that flag one day waving, as our national banner".
Although the tricolour was not forgotten as a symbol of the ideal of union and a banner associated with the Young Irelanders and revolution, it was rarely used between 1848 and 1916. Even up to the eve of the
Easter Risingof 1916, the green flag featuring a harp held undisputed sway. Neither the colours nor the arrangement of the early tricolours were standardised. All of the 1848 tricolours showed green, white and orange, but orange was sometimes put next to the staff, and in at least one flag the order was orange, green and white. In 1850 a flag of green for the Roman Catholics, orange for the Protestants of the Established Churchand blue for the Presbyterianswas proposed. In 1883, a Parnellitetricolour of yellow, white and green, arranged horizontally, was recorded. Down to modern times, yellow has occasionally been used instead of orange, but by this substitution the fundamental symbolism is destroyed.
Associated with separatism in the past, flown during the Easter Rising of 1916 and capturing the national imagination as the banner of the new revolutionary Ireland, [Contrary to popular belief, the tricolour was not the actual flag of the
Easter Rising, although it had been flown from the General Post Office; that flag was a green flag featuring in gold a harp and the words "Irish Republic".] the tricolour came to be acclaimed throughout the country as somewhat of a national flag. To many Irish people, though, it was considered to be a " Sinn Féinflag". [Hayes-McCoy, Gerard Anthony (1979). "A History of Irish flags from Earliest Times". Academy Press, Dublin. ISBN 9780906187012.] It was used by the government in the Irish Free State, but not necessarily with the intention that it should become the national flag: However Republicans, especially those who are involved in or support the armed struggle, claim the sole right to ownership of the tricolour as expressed in Take It Down From The Mast. It continued to be used during the period between 1922 and 1937. However, the 1922 Free State constitution did not provide for national symbols and its use was almost entirely confined to the territory of the Irish Free State. In 1937, its position as the national flag was formally confirmed by the new Constitution of Ireland.
Use in Northern Ireland
The purported symbolism of the flag (peace and unity between Catholics and
Protestants) has not become a universal reality. In 1921, Ireland was partitioned, with the unionist-dominated north-east becoming Northern Ireland, while later, in 1922, the remainder of Ireland left the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Irelandto form the Irish Free State. [FitzGerald, Garret. [http://uk.encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761580394/Ireland_Partition_of.html Ireland, Partition of] , " Encarta", 2007. Retrieved on 14 June 2007.] Northern Ireland continued to use the British Union Flagand created its own derivation of the flag of Ulster(with a crown on top of a six pointed star) to symbolise the state. [http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/images/symbols/flags.htm Flags Used in Northern Ireland] , " Conflict Archive on the Internet", 1 April 2007. Retrieved on 14 June 2007.] Furthermore, for many years the tricolour was effectively banned in Northern Ireland under the Flags and Emblems (Display) Act (Northern Ireland) 1954which empowered the police to remove any flag that could cause a breach of the peacebut specified, rather controversially, that a Union Flag could never have such an effect. [ [http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/hmso/fea1954.htm Flags and Emblems (Display) Act (Northern Ireland) 1954] , "Conflict Archive on the Internet", 1 April 2007. Retrieved on 14 June 2007.] In 1964, the enforcement of this law by the Royal Ulster Constabularyat the behest of Ian Paisley, involving the removal of a single tricolour from the offices of Sinn Féinin Belfast, led to two days of rioting. The tricolour was immediately replaced, highlighting the difficulty of enforcing the law. [Boyd, Andrew (1969). "Holy War in Belfast" — [http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/othelem/docs/boyd69.htm "1964: The Tricolour Riots"] . Anvil Press. ISBN 0900068108.]
Despite its original symbolism, in Northern Ireland the tricolour, along with most other markers of either British or Irish identity, has come to be a symbol of division. The
Ulster Unionist PartyGovernment of Northern Ireland adopted the Ulster Banner (based on the flag of Ulster) in 1953. [ [http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/gb-ni.html Northern Ireland (United Kingdom)] , "Flags of the World", 2007. Retrieved on 14 June 2007.] Thus it is this flag and the Union Flagthat are flown by unionists and loyalists, while the tricolour is flown by nationalists and republicans. In Northern Ireland, each community uses its own flags, murals and other symbols to declare its allegiance and mark its territory, often in a manner that is deliberately provocative. [Ewart, Shirley & Schubotz, Dirk (2004). [http://www.ofmdfmni.gov.uk/voices.pdf Voices behind the Statistics: Young People’s Views of Sectarianism in Northern Ireland] , "National Children's Bureau", p. 7.] Kerb-stones in unionist and loyalist areas are often painted red, white and blue, [" [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/799804.stm Loyalist paramilitary flags explosion] ", " BBC News Online", 21 June 2000. Retrieved on 14 June 2007.] while in nationalist and republican areas kerb-stones may be painted green, white and orange, although this is a much less frequent occurrence. [Brown, Kris. & MacGinty, Roger (2003). "Public Attitudes toward Partisan and Neutral Symbols in Post-Agreement Northern Ireland", "Identities: Global Studies in Power and Culture". Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 83–108.] Elements of both communities fly "their" flag from chimneys, tall buildings and lamp-posts on roads. [Bryan, Dr. Dominic & Stevenson, Dr. Clifford (2006). [http://www.ofmdfmni.gov.uk/flags-monitoring.pdf Flags Monitoring Project 2006: Preliminary Findings] , "Institute of Irish Studies, Queen’s University, Belfast". Retrieved on 14 June 2007.]
Under the 1998
Belfast Agreement, it was recognised that flags continue to be a source of disagreement in Northern Ireland. The Agreement stated that:Nationalists have pointed to this to argue that the use of the Union Flag for official purposes should be restricted, or that the tricolour should be flown alongside the British flag on government buildings. [ [http://www.sinnfein.ie/news/detail/13118 Alex Maskey Motion 39 - flags and emblems] , "SinnFein.ie", 17 February 2006. Retrieved on 14 June 2007.] Unionists argue that the recognition of the principle of consent in the Agreement — that Northern Ireland's constitutional status cannot change without a majority favouring it — by the signatories amounts to recognising that the Union Flag is the only legitimate official flag in Northern Ireland. [Wilson, Robin (July 2000). [http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/dd/papers/flags.htm Flagging concern: The Controversy over Flags and Emblems] , "Democratic Dialogue", Retrieved on 14 June 2007.] [ [http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/record/reports/000606.htm#1 Northern Ireland Assembly Official Report of Tuesday 6 June 2000] , "Northern Ireland Assembly", 6 June 2000. Retrieved on 14 June 2007.] [ [http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/reports/nia15-00.htm Report on Draft Regulations proposed under Article 3 of the Flags (Northern Ireland) Order 2000] , "Northern Ireland Assembly", 17 October 2000. Retrieved on 14 June 2007.] Nonetheless some level of compromise has been achieved. As in the rest of the UK, the British flag is flown over Parliament Buildings and state offices on a limited number of named days — for example, those honouring Queen Elizabeth II's official birthday). [ [http://www.flags-flags-flags.org.uk/irish-flag.htm Irish Flag] , Flags and Nations of the World Index, 2005. Retrieved on 14 June 2007.] Major exceptions to this rule are the City Hall in Belfastwhere the Union Flag is allowed to fly year-round, [ [http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/equality/docs/FlyingOfUnionFlagEQIA.pdf Flying of the Union Flag: An Equality Impact Assessment] , "Belfast City Council", May 2004. Retrieved on 14 June 2007.] and the local district councils. For instance, local councils such as the Larne Borough Councilcan choose to fly the Union Flag every day of the year, on designated days of the year, such as the Lisburn City Council, or not at all, like the Down District Councilor Derry City Council. [Bryan, Dr. Dominic (November 2005). [http://www.culcom.uio.no/aktivitet/flagg-konferanse/graphics/d.bryan%20flags%20paper.pdf Flagging Peace: Symbolic Space in a new Northern Ireland] , " DRAFT Flags, Oslo", p. 7.] A Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alex Maskey, displayed both flags in his own offices, and this caused much controversy. [" [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/2236626.stm Tricolour raised in City Hall] ", "BBC News Online", 4 September 2002. Retrieved on 14 June 2007.] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/talking_point/2236871.stm Should Belfast have its own flag?] , "BBC News Talking Point", 5 September 2002. Retrieved on 14 June 2007.]
The fate of the Irish tricolour, designed to represent a compromise between two warring sides but ending up as representing one of them, parallels what happened to the French tricolour, which it emulated — which, in the early stages of the
French Revolution, was designed as a compromise between French republicans and French royalists (the redand bluerepresenting the former, and the white; the latter) but ended up as the quintessential republican flag from which later republics drew their inspiration.
Department of the Taoiseachhas issued guidelines in order to assist persons in giving due respect to the national flag. Observance of the guidelines is a matter for each individual as there are no statutory requirements. It is expected, however, that the national flag will be treated at all times with appropriate respect by those who use it. The Department has general responsibility in relation to the national flag and this is primarily concerned with the protocol for the flying of the flag. The Department’s role, therefore, is an advisory one.
With respect to the display, placing and precedence of the national flag by both itself and in relation to other flags, the Department has made a number of suggestions. No flag or pennant should be flown above the national flag. When the flag is carried with another flag, or flags, it should be carried in the place of honour — that is on the marching right, or on the left of an observer towards whom the flags are approaching. Where one of these flags is that of the
European Union, the European Union flag should be carried on the immediate left of the national flag, or, as seen by an observer when the flags are approaching, on the immediate right of the national flag. In the event of a display of crossed staffs, the national flag should be to the right and to the fore — that is to the left of the observer who is facing the flag. Its staff should be in front of the other flag or flags. [http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/attached_files/Pdf%20files/The%20National%20Flag.pdf The National Flag: Display, placing and precedence] , Department of the Taoiseach. ISBN 0-7-76-9101-X.]
When the group of flags of the European Union are flown, the sequence is alphabetical, based on the first letter of the country’s name. The flags should be flown from left to right with the European Union flag flown from the first flagstaff before the group. An alternative order of flags is to begin on the left with the national flag and place the European Union flag on the far right of the group, as seen by an observer. With regard to international flags; where either an even or an odd number of flags are flown in line on staffs of equal height, the national flag should be first on the right of the line — that is on the observer’s left as he or she faces the flags. Where one of these flags is that of the European Union, the European Union flag should be flown on the immediate left of the national flag, or as seen by an observer, on the immediate right of the national flag. Where, however, an odd number of flags are displayed from staffs grouped so that there is one staff in the centre and higher than the others, the national flag should be displayed from the staff so placed. Where one of these flags is that of the European Union, the European Union flag should be flown from the first flagstaff on the right, or as seen by an observer, on the first flagstaff on the left. Only one national flag should be displayed in each group of flags or at each location. In all cases, the national flag should be in the place of honour. When the national flag is displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall or other background, the green should be on the right (an observer’s left) in the horizontal position or uppermost in the vertical position. When displayed on a platform, the national flag should be above and behind the speaker’s desk. While being carried, the flag should not be dipped by way of salute or compliment except to the dead during memorial ceremonies.
In raising or lowering, the national flag should not be allowed to touch the ground. When being hoisted to
half-mast, the flag should first be brought to the peak of the staff and then lowered to the half-mast position. [A flag is at half-mastin any position below the top of the staff but never below the middle point of the staff. As a general guide, the half-mast position may be taken as that where the top of the flag is the depth of the flag below the top of the staff.] It should again be brought to the peak of the staff before it is finally lowered. [ [http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/attached_files/Pdf%20files/The%20National%20Flag.pdf The National Flag: Hoisting and lowering the Flag] , Department of the Taoiseach. ISBN 0-7-76-9101-X.] On ceremonial occasions when the national flag is being hoisted or lowered, or when it is passing by in a parade, all present should face it, stand to attention and salute. Persons in uniform who normally salute with the hand should give the hand salute. Persons in civilian attire should salute by standing to attention. The salute to the flag when it is being borne past in a parade is rendered when the flag is six paces away and the salute is held until the flag has passed by. Where more than one national flag is carried, the salute should be given only to the leading flag. [http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/attached_files/Pdf%20files/The%20National%20Flag.pdf The National Flag: Saluting the Flag] , Department of the Taoiseach. ISBN 0-7-76-9101-X.] When the national anthem is played in the presence of the national flag, all present should face the national flag, stand to attention and salute it, remaining at the salute until the last note of the music.
When the national flag has become worn or frayed it is no longer fit for display, and should not be used in any manner implying disrespect. [ [http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/attached_files/Pdf%20files/The%20National%20Flag.pdf The National Flag: Worn-out Flag] , Department of the Taoiseach. ISBN 0-7-76-9101-X.] The national flag, when used as a decoration, should always be treated with due respect. It may be used as a discreet lapel button or rosette or as part of a centrepiece for a table. When used in the latter context with the flags of other nations, the national flag should also be displayed in the place of honour on a nearby flag staff. Where multiple national flags are flown on festive occasions these should be of uniform dimensions. Bunting of the national colours may also be used on festive occasions. [http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/attached_files/Pdf%20files/The%20National%20Flag.pdf The National Flag: Respect for the National Flag] , Department of the Taoiseach. ISBN 0-7-76-9101-X.]
The national flag should be displayed in the open only between sunrise and sunset, except on the occasion of public meetings, processions, or funerals, when it may be displayed for the duration of such functions. [For military purposes, sunrise occurs at 8:00 a.m. between March and October, and at 8:30 a.m. between November and February. Sunset is deemed to occur at: 3:30 p.m. in January and December; 4:30 p.m. in February and November; 5:30 p.m. in March and October; 6:00 p.m. in April; 7:00 p.m. in May and September; and 8:00 p.m. between June and August.] When displayed on a platform, the national flag should not be used to cover the speaker’s desk, nor should it be draped over the platform. The national flag should never be defaced by placing slogans, logos, lettering or pictures of any kind on it, for example at sporting events. The flag should not be draped on cars, trains, boats or other modes of transport; it should not be carried flat, but should always be carried aloft and free, except when used to drape a coffin; on such an occasion, the green should be at the head of the coffin. The tricolour is draped across the coffins of Presidents of Ireland (including former Presidents), soldiers and "
Garda Síochána" personnel killed in the line of duty, and other notables accorded state funerals, such as Roger Casementin 1965, or Kevin Barryin 2001. Care should be taken at all times to ensure that the national flag does not touch the ground, trail in water or become entangled in trees or other obstacles. [ [http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/attached_files/Pdf%20files/The%20National%20Flag.pdf The National Flag: Practices to avoid] , Department of the Taoiseach. ISBN 0-7-76-9101-X.]
It is the normal practice to fly the national flag daily at all military posts and from a limited number of important State buildings. The
European flagis flown alongside the national flag on all official buildings, and in most places where the Irish flag is flown over buildings. The national flag is flown over buildings including: the residence of the President of Ireland, " Áras an Uachtaráin"; Leinster House, the seat of the Irish parliament, when parliament is in session; Irish courts and state buildings; Irish military installations, at home and abroad; and " Garda Síochána" (police) stations. The national flag is also flown on St. Patrick’s Day(the national holiday, Easter Sundayand Easter Monday(in commemoration of the Easter Risingof 1916), and the National Day of Commemorationon the Sunday closest to 11 July— the date of the Anglo-Irish Treatyin 1921. On these occasions the national flag is flown from all State buildings throughout the country which are equipped with flagpoles, and many private individuals and concerns also fly it. The national flag is flown on the occasion of other significant national and local events such as festivals and commemorations. The national flag is frequently flown at half-mast on the death of a national or international figure on all prominent government buildings equipped with a flag pole. The death of a prominent local figure may be marked locally by the national flag being flown at half-mast. Where the national flag is flown at half-mast no other flag should be half-masted. [ [http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/attached_files/Pdf%20files/The%20National%20Flag.pdf The National Flag: Occasions on which the National Flag is flown] , Department of the Taoiseach. ISBN 0-7-76-9101-X.]
Other flags representing Ireland
There are a number of other flags that represent
Irelandor have done so in the past. Saint Patrick's saltire was incorporated into the British Union Flagin 1801 by way of the Act of Union 1800to represent Ireland within the new United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Although it never had official status outside of its role in the Union Flag, it has since become recognised as a symbol Ireland. Today, those who regard the tricolour as specific to the Republic of Ireland, or excluding of unionists, may advocate it as a neutral symbol of the whole island. However, others regard it as an unauthentic symbol. [ [http://www.doyle.com.au/st_pats_flag.htm St Patrick's Cross Flag] , "The Doyle Page", 17 July 2001. Retrieved on 14 June 2007.] The adapted versions have been used by the Irish Rugby Football Union, [http://heraldry.celticradio.net/country.php?name=Ireland Flag of Ireland] , "Heraldry.CelticRadio.net". Retrieved on 14 June 2007.] the Royal College of Surgeons in Irelandand the Commissioners of Irish Lights. The saltire was adopted into the badge and flag of the Police Service of Northern Irelandin 2002. The Church of Irelandorder that only the saltire - as opposed to the tricolour, the Union Flag or the former flag of Northern Ireland- or its own flag may be flown on its church grounds.
Another flag which is used to represent the whole island is the flag of the four provinces. The four provinces flag is divided into four quadrants, each of which is the flag of one of the four
provinces of Ireland. The four quadrants represent the provinces of Ulster(the top left quadrant), Munster(the top right quadrant), Connacht(the bottom left quadrant) and Leinster(the bottom right quadrant). While it does not have any official status, it is often flown in support of the Irish rugby team. [ [http://www.yourirish.com/four-provinces-flag.htm Four Provinces of Ireland flag] , "Your Irish Culture of Ireland". Retrieved on 14 June 2007.]
The "green flag" was a common flag used to represent Ireland during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It consisted of a gold harp on a green background. It is identical to the contemporary flag of Leinster. In the nineteenth century, a flag commonly appearing in print, if not on cloth, was a green flag with the Union Flag in the canton and a harp in the fly.
List of flags of the Republic of Ireland
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