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Early Irish Republic flags

Last modified: 2016-11-03 by rob raeside
Keywords: ireland | irish republic | fenian |
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A series of photographs of flags in the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin, redrawn by Jaume Ollé:

See also:


Irish Republic flag

[early Irish Republic flag] image by Jaume Ollé after a photo by Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 May 2005

A green flag with the words Irish Republic on it. This image is of the 1916 flag based on my photo taken at the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin, of the flag flown from the GPO during the Easter rising 1916.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 2 November 2005

The website at http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/rising-from-the-ashes-irish-republic-flag-on-display-1.2573071 carries an article about the banner symbolising events of Easter 1916 that survived the inferno at GPO almost intact. The best-known flag of the Easter Rising is not the Tricolour that flew over the GPO in 1916 but the Irish Republic one on display at the Proclaiming a Republic exhibition in the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks, Dublin. It is something of an achievement that the Irish Republic flag still exists. It hung from the flagpole closest to the Prince's Street side of the GPO and was shot at many times. It bears the scorch marks of the inferno inside. The flagstaff was hit on the last day of the Rising and the flag was found lying on the roof of the GPO.

Restoration
It was made from wool and house paint and bore the letters "Irish Republic" in white and orange on a green background. A man named Theobald Wolfe Tone Fitzgerald painted it in the home of Constance Markievicz in Rathmines. The flag was taken down from the roof on the day after the Rising and was regarded by the troops as quite a trophy. A famous photograph of the time shows troops from the Royal Irish Regiment posing with it at the Parnell Monument. It was taken to Britain, but given to the State by the Imperial War Museum to mark the 50th anniversary of the Rising in 1966. It needed serious restoration before being exhibited in the National Museum of Ireland's Proclaiming the Republic exhibition. The house paint had to be consolidated and preserved to make it safe for display as the prime exhibit. Also included in the exhibition is the Starry Plough flag, the symbol of the Irish Citizen Army, which flew opposite the GPO at the Imperial Hotel. The National Museum of Ireland has gathered, for the first time, all the remaining flags that flew over the rebel garrisons during Easter Week 1916, with the exception of the flag which flew over the College of Surgeons. That is in private hands.

Tricolour
What remains of the Tricolour that flew over the GPO is also on display, but it consists of only a couple of butterfly-shaped torn fragments. It was scorched in the fire and then rubble fell on it. The exhibition includes the Red Cross flag which was placed on the back of a Guinness lorry that was used to ferry the injured people to hospital during Easter Week.

David B. Lawrence, 28 September 2016


Erin Go Bra flag

[early Irish Republic flag] image by Jaume Ollé after a photo by Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 May 2005

A flag flown by insurgents during the 1798 rebellion at an engagement near Kilcullen, County Kildare. The "IU" may stand for "Ireland United" (The United Irishmen were part of the revolutionary movement). The lower inscription is ERIN GO BRA (Ireland for ever - in poor Irish. The usual spelling for the last word on flags of the period is BRAGH) (Hayes-McCoy 1979).
Laurence Jones, 27 December 2005

[early Irish Republic flag] image by Jaume Ollé after a photo by Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 May 2005


Green Harp Flag

[early Irish Republic flag] image by Jaume Ollé after a photo by Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 May 2005

The green harp flag believed widely flown during the 1798 rebellion (Hayes-McCoy 1979).
Laurence Jones, 27 December 2005


Carpet Weavers Flag

[early Irish Republic flag] image by Jaume Ollé after a photo by Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 May 2005

The banner of the carpet weavers guild, 1840s.
Laurence Jones, 28 December 2005


Davis Club Flag

[early Irish Republic flag] image by Jaume Ollé after a photo by Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 May 2005

Flag of the Davis club, London 1848. Named after Thomas Davis (1814-45), the club was part of the "Young Ireland" movement.
Laurence Jones, 28 December 2005


De Valera Flag

[early Irish Republic flag] image by Jaume Ollé after a photo by Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 May 2005

Banner (sic) of Bailieborough, Co. Cavan, Sinn Fein Club 1917 (Hayes-McCoy 1979).

De Valera was a commander in the Easter rising of 1916 but escaped execution as there was uncertainty over his American citizenship. He went on to be leader of anti-treaty Sinn Fein, prime minister (under 2 different titles) and President of Ireland.
Laurence Jones, 28 December 2005


Fenian flags

[early Irish Republic flag] image by Jaume Ollé after a photo by Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 May 2005

From the 1860's, based on the US flag, the 32 stars are supposed to correspond to the 32 counties of Ireland, as featured in the trial of Michael Moore, arrested in 1865.
Laurence Jones, 31 December 2005

A photo of this flag is available here.
Joseph Cully, 12 April 2009

[early Irish Republic flag] image by Jaume Ollé after a photo by Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 May 2005

Flag carried by insurgents raising a barracks at Stepaside, Co. Dublin 1867.
Laurence Jones, 31 December 2005

[early Irish Republic flag] image by Jaume Ollé after a photo by Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 May 2005

Flag captured by British forces at Tallaght, Co. Dublin 1867.
Laurence Jones, 31 December 2005

[early Irish Republic flag] image by Jaume Ollé after a photo by Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 May 2005

Fenian flag flown Battle of Ridgeway, Canada 1866.
Laurence Jones, 31 December 2005

The book called "The Voyage of the Catalpa" (written by Peter Stevens and published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson of London, 2002) is an historical account of six Irish Fenian rebels who were sentenced to penal servitude for life in a prison in Fremantle, Australia in 1866, and whence they escaped by meansof the Catalpa - a three masted whaling bark from New Bedford - in 1876. On the back cover of the book are two crossed flags on pikes. The left hand flag (from the observers point of view) is a standard green harp flag with the words 'GOD AND OUR COUNTRY' above the yellow harp and there below, the words 'REMEMBER EMMET', all in yellow also. This is shown by Hayes-McCoy to have been a flag used during the Fenian Uprising.

The interesting flag is the one on the right. This is a green and yellow Stars and Stripes with 32 yellow stars (eight five pointed stars per row in four equal rows) on a green canton, and eight white and green stripes starting with white at the top. I could not find it in Hayes-McCoy's 'History of Irish Flags from Earliest Times'. He does show a green flag with the same number and arrangement of stars covering the whole flag (iow, no stripes), but with eight-pointed stars, which was also a Fenian flag during the uprising. It is known that a large number of Irishmen who fought on both sides during the American Civil War, went to Ireland after Appomatox to lend their support to the planned uprising. The natural assumption is therefore that this might have been a flag used by the American Irish contingent, missed by Hayes-McCoy? If so, what would the significance of the 32 stars and the eight stripes have been?
Andries Burgers, 31 January 2007

The 32 stars stand for the 32 counties of Ireland. I don't know what the stripes stand for [just a wild guess- maybe the 4 green stripes are for the 4 provinces and the white stripes are merely to separate them????].
Ned Smith, 31 January 2007

Several others have established beyond doubt that eight-pointed star were common [at the time]. This is, however, not true in the Irish context. Apart from the Fenian flags, I could find only one flag with an eight pointed star in Hayes-McCoy and that was the colour of the 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards, but this is more of a badge used as a charge on the field of the colour. Having now carefully reread Hayes-MCCoy's chapter on the Fenian flags, I find that he is of the opinion that the two Fenian star flags were directly inspired by the US S&S (Not surprising either as the Fenian movement originated in the US). As was already pointed out, the 32 stars were declared at the trial of Michael Moore, who claims to have drawn and made the Irish S&S, to represent the 32 counties and the four green stripes the four provinces. The white stripes were evidently not counted. Hayes-McCoy makes no mention of the eight-pointed stars apart from describing them as very crudely sewn on the original flag which is preserved.
Andries Burgers, 1 February 2007


Repeal Flag

[early Irish Republic flag] image by Jaume Ollé after a photo by Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 May 2005

This is a repeal flag of 1845.
Laurence Jones, 31 December 2005


Famine Flag

[early Irish Republic flag] image by Jaume Ollé after a photo by Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 May 2005

Flag seized 1848 in Dublin.
Laurence Jones, 31 December 2005


Joseph Holt's Flag

[early Irish Republic flag] image by Jaume Ollé after a photo by Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 May 2005

Flag of Joseph Holt, Co. Wicklow , 1798 - the other side bore a yellow harp.
Laurence Jones, 31 December 2005


Maid of Erin flag

[early Irish Republic flag] image by Jaume Ollé after a photo by Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 May 2005

Green harp flag associated with nationalists / home rulers.
Laurence Jones, 31 December 2005


Meagher's flag

[early Irish Republic flag] image by Jaume Ollé after a photo by Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 May 2005

Meagher's first Irish tricolour 1848.
Laurence Jones, 31 December 2005


Mitchell's flag

[early Irish Republic flag] image by Jaume Ollé after a photo by Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 May 2005

Plain green flag associated with John Mitchell, active in Ireland and America 1848 - 1875.
Laurence Jones, 31 December 2005


Father Murphy's flag

[early Irish Republic flag] image by Jaume Ollé after a photo by Nozomi Kariyasu, 5 May 2005

Flag of Father Murphy, Arklow, 1798.
Laurence Jones, 31 December 2005


 
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