Meagher and the Irish Tricolour in Dublin, April 1848 1848 | Origins of the Flag

Meagher and the Irish Tricolour
Meagher and the Irish Tricolour

At a meeting in Dublin on 13 April 1848, Meagher, aged 25 years, presented the silk tricolour that he had brought back from France to the citizens of Dublin. In his speech he made the following reference to the new flag, he explained what the colours in the flag stand for.

"From Paris, the city of the tricolour and the barricade, this flag has been proudly borne. I present it to my native land, and I trust that the old country will not refuse this symbol of a new life from one of her youngest children. I need not explain its meaning. The quick and passionate intellect of the generation now springing into arms will catch it at a glance.


"The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the 'orange' and the 'green' — and I trust that beneath its folds, the hands of the Irish Protestant and the Irish Catholic may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood.


"Should this flag be destined to fan the flames of war, let England behold once more, upon that white centre, the Red Hand that struck her down from the hills of Ulster—and I pray that Heaven may bless the vengeance it is sure to kindle!"

In Your Opinion

  1. Why does Meagher describe Paris as “the city of the tricolour and the barricade”? 
  2. What did Meagher say was the meaning of the new tricolour?
  3. Meagher was an opponent of British rule in Ireland. What evidence is there in this speech to show that he was prepared to use violence against the British rulers?
  4. The tricolour would not below a popular flag until after the 1916 rising.

Supporting Material

 T. F. Meagher, Speeches on the legislative independence of Ireland. With introductory notes by Thomas Francis Meagher. (New York: Redfield, 1853, p263)

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