ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Significance of the Irish Flag

Updated on February 24, 2011

The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City is not for the faint of heart. Thousands of spectators line the sidewalks thirty or more bodies deep, many of them fortified by green beer from pubs that aren’t any more Irish than the beverage patrons gulp.

Attending the parade many years ago, I was young enough to be immune to the crush of the crowd or to the good-natured vulgarities emitting from its drunken members. I was immune, that is, until an Irishman snatched the orange, white, and green flag I had been happily waving, chastising me for displaying what he called a “false flag” of Ireland before handing my souvenir back. For decades, I would wonder why this flag had upset the man so.

To my shame, it took me thirty years to start looking for an answer. Only then, challenged to learn more about my heritage by two authors – Tim Pat Coogan and Tom Hayden, whose books I’d read – I learned how the Irish Tricolour might, to some, represent the division of the north and the south of Ireland that has troubled this island since an uneasy peace treaty artificially forged separation in 1922. I would also find out how deeply connected I am to the Flag of Ireland through a distant cousin, Gearoid O’Sullivan, who had the honor of raising the Irish standard in defiance of Ireland’s English occupiers during the historic Irish 1916 ‘Rising.

Gearoid was one of some 150 men of the Irish Citizen Army and the Irish Volunteers who on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, took over the General Post Office (GPO) on what is now O’Connell Street in Dublin. He was the youngest officer of the IRB, which had infiltrated the Irish Volunteers and secretly planned the uprising. As such, insurrection leader Patrick Pearse chose Gearoid to hoist the newly spun Irish flag over the GPO.

Thus it happened on that momentous day almost a century ago that Gearoid tore down the British flag that had waved over the GPO. In its place he installed Ireland’s new flag – green for the Irish Republic, orange for Ireland’s Ulster Territory, and white for the peace that would hopefully exist between them. It was an historic moment, marking the first time the new flag of the soon-to-be-forged Irish Free State flew over Dublin.

Although the pitifully outmatched rebels would face heavy artillery fire from British troops surrounding the GPO – and bitter defeat later that Easter week – those who survived would live to continue the fight – against the British first and then against each other.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • jonihnj profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Metro New York

      :) Thanks Harlan!

    • Harlan Colt profile image

      Harlan Colt 

      7 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

      Oy gut mi a weeeee bit o' oyreesh blud n' me. Tis a playzur t' raed aboot me ruts!

      - Harlan


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)