The national flag is a tricolor of green, white, and orange. The tricolor is rectangular in shape, the width being twice the depth. The tree colors are of equal size, vertically disposed, and the green is displayed next to the staff. The flag was first introduced by Thomas Francis Meagher during the revolutionary year of 1848 as an emblem of the Young Ireland movement.
The green represents the older Gaelic and Anglo-Norman element in the population, while the orange represents the Protestant planter stock, supporters of William of Orange. The meaning of the white was well expressed by Meagher when he introduced the flag. “The white in the center signifies a lasting truce between the’ Orange’ and the ‘Green’ and I trust that beneath its folds the hands of the Irish Protestant and the Irish Catholic may be clasped in heroic brotherhood.”
It was not until the Rising of 1916, when it was raised above the General Post Office in Dublin, that the tricolor came to be regarded as the national flag. It rapidly gained precedence over any flag that had existed before, and its use as a national flag is also stated in the constitution.
The harp has been regarded as the official symbol or coat of arms of Ireland since medieval times. As such it is depicted alongside the coats of arms of a dozen or more medieval European kingdoms on a single folio of the Wijnbergen roll of arms compiled about 1270. The harp is found on the banners of the Irish brigades, which were formed in the armies of continental European countries during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The model for the artistic representation of the heraldic harp is the 14thcentury harp now preserved in the Museum of Trinity College Dublin, popularly known as the Brian Ború harp.