Irish flags, national, local and historical, have a wide range of patterns. The Republic of Ireland has a single national flag, the Irish Tricolour, and several service flags. Before the republic was separated from the United Kingdom, and for several centuries, other symbols were used or understood to represent Ireland as a whole, or for its four provinces, which symbols have been represented on flags.
Below is a list of flags which have either been in use, or are currently used in the Republic of Ireland, or for the island.
The Republic of Ireland
|1922–present||National flag|| A tricolour, with three equal vertical bands of green, white and orange. Inspired by the French revolutionary tricolour, the colours are for Roman Catholics (green), Protestants (orange) and peace between them.
This is the flag and naval ensign of the Ireland.
|1937–present||The Presidential Standard||A silver stringed gold harp on a blue field.|
To each of the four provinces of Ireland has been attributed a flag based on a banner of the arms of the province, and in addition a flag has been attributed to the old fifth province, Meath.
|Flag of Connaught||A dimidiated eagle and armed hand. Ruaidhri O'Conchobhair, King of Connaught, is surmised to have been conceded the arms of Schottenkloster or the Irish monastery founded in Regensburg. A similar Connaught Flag was flown in 1651, during the War of the Three Kingdoms.|
|Flag of Leinster||
A silver stringed golden harp on a green background. Possibly the oldest and certainly the most celebrated instance of the use of the harp device on a green field was the flag of Owen Roe O’Neill. It is recorded that his ship, the St Francis, as she lay at anchor at Dunkirk, flew from her mast top ‘the Irish harp in a green field, in a flag’.
|Flag of Munster||
The province of Munster has been heraldically symbolised by three golden antique crowns on an azure blue shield. A crown of the type now known as antique Irish forms an integral element of a thirteenth-century crozier head found near Cormac’s Chapel on the Rock of Cashel. In the case of the ‘king-bishops’ of Cashel, the placing of the antique crown on their crozier was a symbolic assertion of their right to the political sovereignty of Munster.
|Flag of Ulster||
The arms of Province of Ulster are a composite, combining the heraldic symbols of two of that province’s best known families, namely the cross of de Burgo and the dexter hand of O Neill, Kings of Ulster and later lords of Tír Eoghan.
|Flag of Meath|
|Irish Air Corps Flag||Composed of Red and yellow diagonal strips on a blue field with the badge of Irish Air Corps, the emblem of Irish Defence forces on upper left and the Air Corps roundel on bottom right.|
|Coast Guard Flag||White background flag containing the emblem of the coast guard at its centre.|
Historical All-Ireland flags
The following flags have been used to represent the island of Ireland as a whole, either officially or unofficially.
|1177–1541||Banner of the Lordship of Ireland until Henry VIII was raised from "Lord of Ireland" to "King of Ireland"||Three crowns on a blue field with a white border.|
|1542–1801||Standard of the Kingdom of Ireland. From 1801 has been incorporated in the lower-left quadrant of the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom||A silver stringed gold harp on a blue field.|
|1801–1922||Flag of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland||The flag of the United Kingdom defaced with the arms of Ireland.|
|??–present||St. Patrick's Saltire, also known as the Cross of St Patrick, after the patron saint of Ireland. The flag appears within the Union Flag to represent Ireland, though it was not hitherto a flag of Ireland. It is used by the Church of Ireland and is incorporated into symbols and emblems of various organisations and bodies throughout Ireland.||A red saltire on a white field.|
|unattributable||The green harp flag of the 17th century 'Confederacy of Ireland' and an unofficial flag of Ireland during the 18th and 19th century. Variants have been used as the basis for numerous flags of Ireland.||A silver stringed gold harp on a green field.|
|??–present||The Four Provinces flag||The arms of the four provinces of Ireland are shown in quadrants (the order in which the arms appear varies). This flag, has been used by various all-Ireland sports teams and cultural organisations.|
GAA county flags
The Gaelic Athletics Association was established in 1884 to promote traditional Irish sports and cultural activities, as part of the nationalist movement. It is widely popular in the Irish Republic, whilst in Northern Ireland Gaelic Athletics is supported only in Nationalist community. The GAA has thirty-two county associations, each of which has its sporting colours which are displayed as flags frequently seen flying in its county.
Contae Ard Mhacha
Contae an Chabháin
Contae an Chláir
Contae Dhún na nGall
Contae an Dúin
Contae Átha Cliath
Contae Fhear Manach
Contae na Gaillimhe
Contae Chill Dara
Contae Chill Chainnigh
Contae an Longfoirt
Contae Mhaigh Eo
Contae na Mí
Contae Uíbh Fhailí
Contae Ros Comáin
Contae Thiobraid Árann
Contae Thír Eoghain
Contae Phort Láirge
Contae na hIarmhí
Contae Loch Garman
Contae Chill Mhantáin
City and town flags
|Flag of Dublin|
|Flag of Drogheda, Co. Louth||A vertical black band between two vertical red bands with the town's coat of arms in the centre.|
|circa 1701 - post 1800||A Green Ensign alleged to have been flown by some Irish merchant vessels|
|post 1800 - c.1922||A later version of the Green Ensign, again unproven to have existed outside printed catalogues: A gold harp on a green field with the Union Flag in the canton.|
|Ensign of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland|
|National Yacht Club||An azure blue field with a silver harp and the Flag of Ireland in the canton|