When I think about a country, one of the first things that it comes to my mind is the flag, but when the conflicts go beyond religion and political perspectives, even this symbol becomes a subject of discussion.
While I was searching some information for Ireland’s map, I realized that Northern Ireland is the only one constituent country of the United Kingdom that doesn’t have its own flag. My confusion got bigger when I found out the many different flags that can be used.
Saint Patrick’s saltire was representative of the Kingdom of Ireland, but when it was divided, the Republic of Ireland adopted The Tricolour and started to use the flag of Ulster to represent the north province. In 1953, the Government of Northern Ireland stablished the Ulster Banner as the official flag, but in 1973 the parliament was abolished and so it was the flag. Since then, the ‘’Union Jack’’ has been the official emblem. Nowadays, the Ulster Banner represents Unionists (Protestants), but Republicans (Catholics) prefer the flag of the Ulster Province.
Although the differences, I found out that the red hand of Ulster, which represents the bloody hand of a member of the O’Neill family, it seems to be the one who symbolizes Northern Ireland without any complaint, because it’s the result of an ancient legend about how a man became king.
Something that caught my attention was the fact that even the sports have been affected by this confusion, for example, the national football team uses the Ulster Banner, but the rugby team shows the Four Provinces Flag or the IRFU Flag.
So, what flag should I use to represent this country without being rude to anyone? This disagreement has caused street protests, fights and even more polarization.
|Saint Patrick's saltire and the Union Jack|
|The Flag of Ulster|
|The Ulster Banner|
|The Four Provinces Flag of Ireland|
The IRFU Flag
By Carla Menares