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History of the St Patrick’s flag

8th Mar 2017
By sarah-jane grainger |
News |

Did you know that the St Patrick’s flag dates all the way back to 1782? This is when Britain acknowledged the exclusive right of the Irish parliament to legislate for Ireland. A year later the Order of St Patrick was established to reflect the country’s enhanced constitutional status. The regalia worn by the knights of this order was a red saltire (a diagonal cross) on a white background.

After its adoption by the order of St Patrick the flag began to be used by other institutions. In 1800 the act of Union came into play which joined the Kingdom of Ireland with the Kingdom of Great Britain and the saltire was then added to the British flag to form the Union Flag. The Union flag is still used in Great Britain today and is one of the most recognised flags across the world.

It is still unclear where exactly the St Patrick’s flag originated. Some people believe it’s to do with the Duke of Leinster, the founding member of the Order of St Patrick. This is because he had a red saltire on a white background within his coat of arms. Others believe that the saltire was an old symbol used for Ireland, whilst some people dispute these accusations. They state that there had been a tradition of wearing a ribbon cross on clothing to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. However, there was no fixed colour or alignment for the cross.

The St. Patrick flag today

Today, the St Patrick’s flag is sometimes seen during the St Patrick’s Day parades in Northern Ireland and Britain. Flags are also handed out to the crowd before the Downpatrick parade, near St Patrick’s burial place at Down Cathedral, in an attempt for the council to engage the community in the parade.

With St Patrick’s Day approaching on the 17th March make sure to check out our products to ensure you are flying your flag in time. We can also meet any bespoke requirements so contact one of our experts on 01325 390 192 or at enquiries@weareharrisons.com to discuss the details.

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