The 1798 Flag of Ireland...
Written by Administrator
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 00:00
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The History of this Flag
The Young Ireland rebellion of 1848 was quite a small affair and the tricolour flag was largely forgotten until the twentieth century.

The next revolutionary movement, the Irish Republican Brotherhood (or 'Fenians') of the 1860s, was much more formidable and it reverted to using the Green Flag. That flag was also used by all the nationalist politicians who campaigned for 'Home Rule' (devolved government within the United Kingdom). By about 1880 or so the Green Flag had become officially tolerated to the extent that one was no longer likely to be arrested for displaying it, but it never had any official status and was always seen as a nationalist emblem.
Vincent Morley, 19 December 1996

The Green Flag was extensively used during the campaign for repeal of the Act of Union which Daniel O'Connell led during the 1830s and 1840s - the flag is invariably shown in illustrations of the mass meetings convened by O'Connell during that period and it is probable that it was in continuous use from 1798 onwards. Both the Green Flag and the tricolour were used by the insurgents in 1916, but in the period after the rebellion the republican separatists in Sinn Féin tended to use the tricolour while their rivals in the Irish Parliamentary Party (which advocated 'Home Rule' for Ireland within the United Kingdom) used the Green Flag exclusively. The alternative national flags thus became the flags of competing political parties until the general election of December 1918 when Sinn Féin's landslide victory finally relegated the Green Flag to a secondary role.

Before independence Irish athletes had to compete as part of the British team, but an episode which occurred in 1906 may be of interest. I quote from G.A. Hayes McCoy (1979), 'A History of Irish Flags from Earliest Times', p. 182:

"In 1906 when Peter O'Connor won the long jump championship at the Olympic Games in Athens, he successfully objected to the raising of the union flag ... in honour of his victory and succeeded in having a green poplin harp flag, which had been provided by his thoughtful supporters, hoisted instead."

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 January 2012 00:56 )