Ireland has multiple flags, each with a different meaning and significance. The Tricolor Irish flag, the Gold harp on green background, and the four provinces are especially rich in history and significance.
The most recognizable is the Tricolor, with its bright colors and rich history. It was first flown
by Thomas Francis Meagher during the Young Irelander Rebellion of 1848, on March 7 in Waterford City. “The white in the center signifies a lasting truce between the orange and the green,” he said, “and I trust that beneath its folds the hands of the Irish Protestant and the Irish Catholic may be clasped, in generous and heroic brotherhood.” -Thomas Francis Meagher.
Originally given to Meagher by the French, it flew over the Wolfe Tone Confederate Club in Waterford, Ireland. For more information on Thomas Francis Meagher and the tricolor, view this article on Celtic Life International.
Probably the second most recognizable flag is the green flag featuring a gold harp with the phrase “Erin go Bragh” (Ireland forever) written on it. Before the tricolor was adopted, it was used as the national flag. The harp is the symbol of Ireland, with the “Maid of Erin”, a mythical woman forming part of the harp.
Another perhaps lesser known flag is the four provinces flag. It has a representation of each of the four provinces of Ireland, with each symbol being the heraldic symbol of the prominent family of each province. Leinster has a silver stringed golden harp (symbol of Brian Boru), Munster is three gold crowns on a blue background, which is thought to represent the three most prominent families of that region (O’Briens (Thomond), of the Butlers (Ormond), and the Fitzgeralds (Desmond). Connaght is the image of the arm and sword (O’Connors) with the black eagle perhaps representing the Browns, the origins of this symbol are particularly vague. Ulster is represented by a red cross on yellow background (de Burgos), with the red hand in the center (O’Neills of Tyrone).
For more detailed information read this article on Clancorrigan.ca
Irish history is rich and full of exciting symbols, the Irish flags represent not only the patriotism of Ireland, but also the history of its wars and national strife.
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