The origins of the national flag of Ireland, frequently referred to as the tricolour, can be traced back to March 1848. This was when prominent Irish revolutionary Thomas Francis Meagher flew an Irish tricolour flag from the Wolfe Tone Club in Waterford to celebrate the revolution in Paris.
Between 1848 and 1916 the tricolour had a very low profile, and it wasn’t until the Easter Rising of 1916 that the flag once again appeared in the public eye. On Easter Monday 1916, two flags were raised from the General Post Office (GPO) in Dublin to symbolise the occupation of the building by members of the Irish Volunteers, the Irish Citizen Army and the Cumann na mBan. On the Prince’s Street corner of the GPO, the traditional green flag was raised with the words ‘Irish Republic’ inscribed on it. Flying parallel was the more unfamiliar sight of the tricolour flag.
This moment, and the succeeding use of the flag by Irish republicans following the Easter Rising is viewed by many as the catalyst for the Irish tricolour flag becoming strongly associated as a symbol of Irish nationalism.
Despite the tricolour being adopted as the flag of the Irish Free State in 1922, it wasn’t until 1937 that the flag was officially confirmed as the national flag of Ireland in the 1937 constitution that cut off many links to Britain formed by the 1922 constitution.