The Irish Republic Flag

The Irish Republic Flag


The Irish Republic Flag is quite straightforward when it comes to design. On a green background, gold and white letters spell out the phrase “Irish Republic,” which is in reference to the the call for self-determination during the 1916 Easter Rising where this flag originated.


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Photograph of the Irish Republic Flag in 1916

During the Easter Rising, the Irish Republic Flag flew alongside the Irish Tricolour over the General Post Office in Dublin at the center of the rising. The large lettering on the flag clearly displayed the rebels’ desire for an independent Ireland. Following the Rising, the Irish Republic Flag was taken to England where it was eventually displayed at the Imperial War Museum in London until 1966. And, in the subsequent War for Irish Independence, the Irish republican forces favored the Irish Tricolour as their banner and the Irish Republic design fell into disuse. Likewise, the Irish Republic Flag does not carry very many connotations as it is only really associated with the Irish republicanism of 1916. However, the straightforward display of the rebels motives was an important indicator to the people of 1916 about what was actually being fought for.

Modern Day

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The display of the Irish Republic Flag at the National Museum of Ireland

In 1966, for the 50th anniversary of the Irish Republic Flag, the British government returned the flag to Ireland (a video of the ceremony can be found here) where it is on display in the National Museum of Ireland along with the original Proclamation of the Irish Republic and the Starry Plough Flag.

The commemoration of objects within the walls of a museum varies greatly from the ways in which flags still commonly used like the Union Jack or the Irish Tricolour. The Irish Republic flag has become an artifact from 100 years ago, where as the other flags of 1916 are still in the common memory of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This flag has more or less been enshrined as a testament to the heroics of the men who flew it, legitimizing the ideology of the rising as history that is too valuable to burn unlike how other republic flags are burned in Northern Ireland.

The Irish Republic Flag is also much more difficult to misinterpret than the other flags. The meaning behind the flag is literally spelled out with little to no room for interpretation unlike the other flags of 1916. Possibly, that could be why the Irish Republic Flag is not as popular in memorabilia and souvenirs since it appeals to a smaller demographic of people and is relatively unknown outside Ireland. The Irish Republic Flag has become legitimized through history and avoided controversy with simplicity, however the inability to project meanings onto the Irish Republic Flag may be responsible for the what the flag lacks in popularity.

See Also:

Notable Flags involved in the 1916 Rising