11 facts about the 170-year-old Irish Flag


The Irish tricolour turns 170 on March 7th. Inspired by the French revolution, same old as many other European countries tricolour. 11 small facts. Happy birthday!

  1. It was actually first flown publicly in Waterford City on March 7, 1848 by Thomas Francis Meagher, a leader of the Young Irelander
  2. Thomas Meagher It had been mentioned in 1830 and 1844, but 1848 eventually saw it flown at meetings all over the country, side by side with the French tricolour, to celebrate the revolution that had just taken place in France.
  3. The country at the time was deeply divided between the Catholic and the Protestant and  was suffering hugely from the effects of the “Great Famine”, which killed a million Irish people and caused another million to emigrate.
  4. Meagher wanted a new Ireland, where Irish Catholics and Protestants joined forces for independence.
  5. He was inspired by the 1848 revolutions in Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Rome, Prague and Budapest, which overthrew kings and emperors and established democratic republics. These revolutions had inspired the Young Irelanders to overthrow British rule in Ireland, peacefully if possible. In April 1848 Meagher, William Smith O’Brien and Richard O’Gorman went to Paris to congratulate the French on overthrowing King Louis Philippe. While they were there, a group of French women wove an Irish tricolour made from the finest French silk and presented it to Meagher.
  6. He presented this silk flag to the citizens of Ireland, and said: “The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the ‘orange’ and the ‘green’.” 
  7. He was later convicted for leading the Young Irelanders’ 1848 Rebellion. Two of the rebellion’s other leaders later escaped to America to form the Fenian Brotherhood secret society, which was a predecessor of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) in Ireland.
  8. The flag was later used by the IRA during the Irish War of Independence (1919–1921). After independence in 1922 the flag was also used by the Irish Free State, Saorstát Éireann (1922–1937) and was included in the 1937 Constitution as well.
  9. The green in the flag symbolises Irish republicanism dating back to the Society of United Irishmen in the 1790s and beyond.
  10. The orange in the flag represents the Protestant minority in Ireland. It was included in the Irish flag in an attempt to make Irish Protestants feel included in the Irish independence movement.
  11. The white in the centre symbolises the hope for lasting peace between the two cultures on the island of Ireland – nationalist, mainly Catholic Ireland, and unionist, mainly Protestant Ireland.