Thursday, 24 January 2013

Some other NI flag designs

Unlike other posts none of these flags are my designs. I have been too busy recently with work to even think about that. But in the recent weeks and days some very interesting designs have appeared on social network site pages.

First is a very interesting if not controversial design by Rev Ivan Dinsmore:
This combines both Unionist and Republican symbolism. It takes the form of a UK blue ensign with the 'big dipper' star formation in the shape of an old fashion plough in the fly. As the Union Flag is in the canton it represents British Sovereignty and so would (in theory) please Unionists. The Stary Plough is a leading Republican symbol that often appears on both flags and murals. Although there is well meaning behind it  I doubt this would work as Nationalists won't accept anything with a union flag in it, and the stary plough has links to Republican terrorist groups which will throw Unionists. Personally I like it, but I wouldn't like it as my flag as I think it is more like the flag of an overseas territory rather than one of the UK home nations.  

The fallowing designs are from Chris Connolly, firstly:
As is often seen on these NI flag designs the red hand is central. This design features a combination of the Cross of De Burgh and Cross of St George combining the unofficial de facto NI flag, the Ulster Banner and Provincial Ulster Flag. What I really like is the use of symbols representing the two main traditions  The lower fourth quarter has a harp on green field, a nationalist symbol. Was used the Irish Catholic Confederation by Nationalists as an unofficial de facto flag for Ireland in the 19th century. The top second quarter has a banner of the coat of arms used by the House of Orange, around the time King William III (Prince of Orange) was joint monarch of the three Kingdoms. It is interesting that in other designs where the connection to the House of Orange is used to represent Ulster and Irish protestants the colour is used (such as the Irish Republic's tricolour) but this is the first version I have seen using the coat of arms. I don't even think the Orange Order uses the coat of arms. A version on St Patrick's Saltire with the arms facing each other is below:
I like this flag, the symbolism is good and the idea of the Orange coat of arms is very original.
Chris Connolly then made two further versions of this theme replacing the Orange coat of arms with the Royal Arms of Scotland reflecting the Scots ancestry and elements of that culture in Unionist identity as well you could argue loyalty to the crown:
Another version using the late-medieval Gaelic Harp as used on the coat of arms of the Republic of Ireland:
I like the latter better than the former as it can represent NI with its two closest Neighbours on each side as well as loyalties. The colour scheme of yellow and blue I think works better than yellow and green. 
Another version with both yellow that could reflect the Ulster Flag colours. I am not sure if I like this one.
 I think I pre-fare the version with the Orange arms rather than the Scottish.

Peter Collier has designed some very good ones, Which I will show you, firstly:
The red hand in the hoist, with a red and yellow fly not sure I like the colour scheme, but the white hoist to me looks like half a hexagon which for some reason I like. Next up is a Union Jack type design:
Now it is too cluttered to work but I like the central design of four hexagons resembling the Giant's Causeway, with red hand and flax flower in the centre and a harp and crown to the sides, again resembling the two traditions, cross of De Burke is also in there. the blue saltire is also very unusual.
 Now for my favourite design of the lot also designed by the designer of the two above flags:
Six Flax flowers forming a hexagon representing the six counties. The blue and gold bands are really just to make the design interesting with the colours from the flax plants, with no symbolic significance. Although you could say the blue is St Patrick's blue and the gold is from the Ulster Flag. 
Another version of the above design is below:
I am not sure but I think I like the first of the two better. 
All Comments welcome.

None of these designs belong to this site or publisher but to their respective designers who are already mentioned in the above text. 


  1. Sorry, I can't see with good eyes the use of arms of House of Orange (still sounding on the arms of Netherlands). It's like using the arms of Vatican to represent the nationalists.

    1. I don't think the exact arms are used but rather a historical version of them. I think (although I am not sure) the modern coat of arms has a seashell and a sword on them. But a fair and valid point.

  2. I'm glad you liked some of my ideas. The tricky part is coming up with something that is both symbolic - so it will mean something to the people it represents - but at the same time neutral/equal so no-one feels it represents one community more than the other. I tried a lot of ideas more closely linked to past and present flags and symbols but, ultimately, all of my preferred designs were ones like these that moved past history and Irish/British symbolism and came up with something new and shared for the future. A philosophy for Northern Ireland that would probably work with more than just flags.