The Green Flag was the unofficial national flag from 1798 until the early years of the
20th century. A gold harp on a blue field (see the Presidential Standard)
was the arms of Ireland since the 16th century, but the United Irishmen changed the colour of
the field from blue to green - the colour that symbolised revolution in the late 18th century.
Leaves, branches and 'liberty' trees were frequently employed as republican emblems at the
What have you got in your hand?
The Green Flag was widely carried during the rebellion of 1798 - often with the motto of
the United Irishmen, 'Éire go brách' ('Ireland forever'), below the
harp. The poet Mícheál Óg Ó Longáin, a United Irishman,
wrote as follows in that year:
Go bhfeiceam Éire saor gan daoirse
The Green Flag quickly won popular acceptance as the national flag of Ireland. It was used by the followers of Daniel O'Connell, by the Fenians (for the most part), and by the supporters of Home Rule from the time of Parnell until the collapse of the Irish Parliamentary Party in 1918. Popular rejection of the flag at that point can be partly attributed to its use by the British army in recruitment campaigns during the First World War.
The Green Flag today
The historic national flag continues to be used as a national emblem by the public.
The Green Flag is also the Naval Service jack and is being worn by a naval vessel in the pictures in the second row above.