Eamon Bulfin on the green bannerette 1948 | Origins of the Flag

Irish Republic Flag

Eamon Bulfin had been one of the first students in 1908 to enter St. Enda’s, the school founded by Patrick Pearse in Rathfarnham. While a university student in 1912, he joined the IRB, and proposed the admission of Pearse into the IRB in the same year. On Easter Monday, he was staying in St. Enda’s in 1916 when he received his instructions to report to Liberty Hall. He took up his position on the roof of the GPO, and described his role in raising one of the two flags that few over the GPO during the rising.

There were two flags on the Post Office. One was given to me. It was the ordinary Irish flag, green with the harp, and in white letters (inscribed) across the middle were the words “Irish Republic”. I can't recollect who gave it to me, but I think it was Willie Pearse. The thing I remember most clearly about its hoisting is that I had some kind of a hazy idea that the flag should be rolled up in some kind of a ball, so that when it would be hauled up, it would break out. As a matter of fact, I did it that way because it did open out in the proper manner when hoisted.

Eamon Bulfin Signature
Eamon Bulfin Signature

That flag was floating on the Prince's Street corner of the G.P.O. I think Willie Pearse was there when it was being hoisted. Whatever number of men we had - twenty or twenty-five - were all actually present. It was in the corner of the Post Office, behind the balustrade. I think both flags were put up about the same time.

I have no recollection as to who put up the other flag, but I think it was a chap whom we afterwards knew as Redmond. He was one of the Liverpool-Irish in the Kimmage Garrison, and I think his real name was Joe Gleeson. I don't remember Gearóid O'Sullivan being there, but I did not know him at the time and he may have been there.

The tricolour was hoisted over the GPO, according to Diarmuid Lynch, at 12.30 pm on Easter Monday, and flown from the Henry Street corner of the GPO roof. He claimed that he received confirmation of this from “civilian onlookers”.

(Diarmuid Lynch, Bureau of Military History, witness statement 120, p4)

In Your Opinion

  1. Why did Bulfin describe the green flag as the “ordinary Irish flag”?
  2. What was special about the words, Irish republic, that were added to the green flag?
  3. What method did Bulfin adopt to ensure that the flag would fly correctly from the flag pole?
  4. Bulfin gave this statement to the Bureau of Military History in 1951. Are there any features of his statement that show some doubt about events took place 35 years earlier?

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