The Flag of Ireland, was not adopted as the official flag of Ireland until after the country became a free state on December 6, 1921. The flag had been around for nearly 80 years but the colors were rearranged. It was first flown by Thomas Francis Meagher, a militant nationalist, at the Wolfe Tone Confederate Club, in 1848. Explaining the significance of the tri-color flag, Meagher expressed a hope for his Country: “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 generous and heroic brotherhood.” After being convicted of sedition, Meagher was first sentenced to death, but received transportation for life to Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania in Australia). In 1852 he escaped and made his way to the United States where he became a Brigadier General in the U.S. Civil War as part of the Irish Brigade and served as acting governor of Montana.
The design of the Irish flag was inspired by the 1848 Revolution in France, in which King Louis Philippe was overthrown. The blue, red and white of the French flag was flown beside the Irish flag at gatherings there, in recognition of their achievement. It was a year of upheaval, as many revolutions took place in cities across Europe. An alternative theory suggest that the tri-color design was influenced by the flag of Newfoundland, Canada, where Meagher’s father was from.
There are special rules for using the National flag of Ireland and many are similar to the United States Flag Code. The main rule is that no other flag or pennant should be flown above it. Care must be taken to not let the flag touch the ground or become entangled with trees. The rules also say that the national flag should never be defaced by placing slogans, logos, lettering or pictures of any kind on it, even at sporting events. The rules also state that the national flag should be replaced if it has become worn or frayed, as it is no longer fit or display in a respectful manner.