Irish flags

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The Flag of the Republic of Ireland

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

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of Ireland.svg 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.

Flag of the President of Ireland.svg 1937–present The Presidential Standard A silver stringed gold harp on a blue field.

Provincial flags

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 Date Use Description
Flag of Connacht.svg 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.svg 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.svg 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.svg 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 Mide.svg Flag of Meath

The old province of Meath (or Mide), today's counties of Meath and Westmeath, was heraldically personified by a representation of a royal personage seated on a throne on an azure field.

Naval and military flags

Naval Service

Flag Date Use Description
Naval Jack of Ireland.svg 1946–present Naval Jack A silver stringed gold harp on a green field. Flown at the jackstaff when ships are at anchor, moored, alongside or when under way and dressed with masthead ensigns.
Irish Naval Service Colour.svg 1996–present Naval Service Colour Flag Double-sided square banner. The obverse side carries the Defence Forces badge over a pair of crossed silver foul anchors.
Irish Naval Service Flag.svg 1996–present Naval Service Colour Flag Double-sided square banner. Navy blue with the state harp surrounded by a naval knotted rope decoration.


Flag Date Use Description
Flag of 1st Brigade (Ireland).svg 1st Brigade Flag The badge of the 1st Brigade surrounded by the brigade's name in Irish (oglaigh na hEireann and An Cead Briogaid) and the defence forces badge in the top corner.
Flag of 2nd Brigade (Ireland).svg 2nd Brigade Flag The badge of the 2nd Brigade surrounded by the brigade's name in Irish (oglaigh na hEireann and An Dara Briogaid) and the defence forces badge in the top corner.
Defense Forces Air Defense Regiment Flag (Ireland).svg Air Defence Regiment Flag
Defense Forces Infantry Flag (Ireland).svg Defence Forces Infantry Flag
Defense Forces Ordnance Corps Flag (Ireland).svg Defence Forces Ordnance Corps Flag
Defense Forces Cavalry Corps Flag (Ireland).svg Defence Forces Cavalry Corps Flag
Defense Forces Engineer Corps (Ireland).svg Defence Forces Engineer Corps Flag
Defense Forces Communications and Information Services Corps Flag (Ireland).svg Defence Forces Communications and Information Services Corps (CIS) Flag
Defense Forces Artillery corps (Ireland).svg Defence Forces Artillery Corps Flag
Defense Forces Medical Corps Flag (Ireland).svg Defence Forces Medical Corps Flag

Air Corps

Flag Date Use Description
Flag of the Irish Air Corps.svg 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 Date Use Description
Flag of the Irish Coast Guard.svg 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.

Flag Date Use Description
Banner of the Lordship of Ireland.svg 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.
Royal Standard of Ireland (1542–1801).svg 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.
Flag of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.svg 1801–1922 Flag of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland The flag of the United Kingdom defaced with the arms of Ireland.
Saint Patrick's Saltire.svg  ??–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.
Flag of Leinster (bright).svg
Green harp flag of Ireland.svg
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.
Four Provinces Flag.svg  ??–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.

City and town flags

Flag Date Use Description
IRL Dublin flag.svg Flag of Dublin
Drogheda Flag.svg Flag of Drogheda, Co. Louth A vertical black band between two vertical red bands with the town's coat of arms in the centre.


Flag Date Use Description
Green Ensign (1701).svg circa 1701 - post 1800 A Green Ensign alleged to have been flown by some Irish merchant vessels
Green Ensign.svg 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.
Inland Waterways Association of Ireland flag.svg Ensign of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland
National Yacht Club Ensign (Ireland).svg National Yacht Club An azure blue field with a silver harp and the Flag of Ireland in the canton

Rebellion flags

Flag Date Use Description
Sunburst Flag.svg 1893–present The Sunburst flag This is based on the flag of the mythological warriors the Fianna. Blue with a golden sunburst. Used by nationalists and republicans.
Green Sunburst Flag.svg 1800s Earlier version of the Sunburst flag. A golden rising sun on a green field. This device was adopted by the Fenians in 1843, supposedly based on earlier Nationalist flags.
Starry Plough flag (1914).svg 1914–present The Starry Plough A socialist flag, the first Starry Plough (silver stars overlaying a yellow plough on a green background) was the banner of the Irish Citizen Army, a socialist, Irish republican movement, and flown during the Easter Rising
StarryPlough.svg 1910s–present The Starry Plough This version, white stars on a light blue background, succeeded the starry plough banner. Used by socialists, nationalists and republicans
Irish Republic Flag.svg 1916 The Irish Republic proclamation flag This flag was flown alongside the Irish tricolour over the GPO during the Easter Rising

See also

Outside links