Flags in my part of the world can often be a delicate and controversial subject. The Fact is that Northern Ireland is the only constituent country of the United Kingdom that does not have its own official legal flag.
The story of the Northern Ireland flag really begins with the creation of Northern Ireland as a constituent country of the UK. The Irish Free State(later the Republic of Ireland) broke away from the UK in 1921/2. In 1925 the local Northern Ireland government was its own coat of arms by Royal Warrant. Shown below:
The NI government was also granted the right to display their arms on a flag or banner. However this was not done until 1953 the year Elizabeth II was crowned. This is what it looks like:
This served as the official flag until the Northern Ireland was brought under direct rule from London due to the NI government failing to control a recent outburst of violence and was abolished in 1973. This flag is still used by sporting bodies that represent NI international such as the International football team and Commonwealth Games team for example. But since the new Local Assembly has been established it has failed to adopt or readopt any flag. Part of the problem is political sensitivity.
I have drawn up several designs most spread across the internet. But here is my first design of a flag and coat of arms:
St Patrick's Saltire and Ulster Flag. The symbolism of the tricolour is to represent more than peace between Unionism and Nationalism but as fallows:
Blue: Unionism, Royalty, Close links with Scotland, Maritime heritage, the Sea, beauty of the inland waterways,constancy, faith, good health, truth, clean air,healing, hope, friendship,patience, wisdom, peace, loyalty.
White: Peace, truth, purity, peace, protection, happiness,joy, glory
Green: Nationalism, natural beauty, countryside, agricultural heritage,reshness and renewal, fertility and growth,harmony, vitality, healing,Green is associated with the direction of North.hope
The symbolism of the crowned harp is important, the harp is mostly an Irish Nationalist symbol but also appears of the UK coat of Arms and the Royal Coat of arms and flag. Its also been incoperated into the badges of police and Irish regiments in the British Army. The crown is based on an ancient Irish crown. The inspiration for this was the Scottish crown which replaces the UK crown on many symbols. The Royal Mail in Scotland has the Scots crown but the UK crown everywhere else. Hopefully creating a N.Irish identity that does not conflict with Irishness or Britishness, but weaves into both.
I also picked these colours as they are prominent in (mostly unionist supported) Northern Ireland Football team supporters flags. I have played about a little though and come up with the fallowing flags in case a tricolour based flag even if different from that of the Irish Republic is rejected by unionists(even though I designed it):
This demostrates how it can be turned on its side. The Red hand and hexagon is symbolic of not only the 6 NI counties but also the Giant's Causeway. the last flag with text bears "Northern Ireland" in English, Irish and Ulster-Scots the three main languages and dialects spoken in the province.
St Patrick's Saltire has been used to represent Ireland for centuries and features in the UK flag(the only flag with any legal status in NI) and the badge of the reformed police service(below) which all political parties agreed on:
One wonder's why a design based on this cross was not used in the first place? Most importantly this design is politically neutral (supposedly) and I have incorporated it into some designs. The first one:
The crown of state symbolises the British identity of Northern Ireland and its relationship with and place in the United Kingdom. The Harp symbolises the Irish identity of Northern Ireland and its relationship with the rest of the island. The flag on the flag staff represent the Loyalist and Republican traditions the orange flag with the purple star is based on the 'Boyne Standard' associated with the Orange Order. The green flag is a prominent Nationalist symbol.
I have also designed a yellow version of the flag making it more like the Ulster Flag and a version that replaces the Unionist/Nationalist symbols with symbols of peace:
Royal Standard and personal flag of the president of the Republic. So if you look to London or Dublin you should be able to associate with these arms. I also included an olive wreath in the design of the shield representing the peace process which I think goes very well. I also used a lighter paler yellow which does not conflict with the red too much.
These are what I consider my best designs. I might post the other ones in a later post, I will also make a guide to flags in Northern Ireland in a later post. Bye for now.