Flags of the World: Ireland

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The Irish tricolour flag is one of the world’s most iconic and recognizable flags. Though Ireland is an ancient country with a rich history, its flag is relatively new. Simple, meaningful, and thoughtful, the history, symbolism, and iconography of the flag are worthy of being explore. Today, we’ll do just that.

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The Irish flag as we know it was adopted in 1919. Per the Irish government “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'”

The infamous tricolour design was originally presented to Thomas Francis Meagher, a leader of the Irish rebellion, by a group of French women who were sympathetic to his cause. In 1916, the flag was hoisted above the post office in Dublin and was recognized as the national flag. It became official when the Irish government adopted the flag in the Irish War of Independence.

Green and orange were used by many, often rivaling factions, during Ireland’s tumultuous period. The flag now stands as a powerful symbol of unity and reconciliation. Preceding the current flag, a green flag with a harp was used to represent the United Irishmen, and an orange flag was used to represent the Orange Order, unsurprisingly.

Today, the two groups are represented in one, iconic, Irish flag.

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