The national flag of Ireland (frequently referred to as the Irish tricolour) is a vertical tricolour of green (at the hoist), white, and orange.
The proportions of the flag are 1:2 (that is to say that, as flown horizontally, the flag is half as high as it is wide). The Irish government has described the symbolism behind each colour as being that of green representing the Gaelic tradition of Ireland, orange representing the followers of William of Orange in Ireland, and white representing the aspiration for peace between them.
Presented as a gift in 1848 to Thomas Francis Meagher from a small group of French women sympathetic to the Irish cause, it was not until the Easter Rising of 1916, when it was raised above the General Post Office in Dublin, that the tricolour came to be regarded as the national flag.
Meagher was the son of Newfoundland-born mayor of Waterford, Thomas Meagher Jr, however there are two theories on his inspiration for the flag; the similarly-coloured Newfoundland Tricolour credited in legend as having been created in 1843, though this seems unlikely given the actual known history surrounding the Newfoundland Tricolour, and the French Tricolour.
The flag was adopted in 1919 by the Irish Republic during its war of independence, and subsequently by the Irish Free State (1922–1937), later being given constitutional status under the 1937 Constitution of Ireland. The tricolour is used by nationalists on both sides of the border as the national flag of the whole island of Ireland since 1916. Thus it is flown by many nationalists in Northern Ireland as well as by the Gaelic Athletic Association.
As there are no further statutory requirements in relation to the flag, the Department of the Taoiseach takes general responsibility over matters relating to the flag. In its advisory role, the Department has issued guidelines to assist persons in their use of the national flag. The flag should be rectangular in shape and its length should be two times its width, translating into an aspect ratio of 1:2. The three coloured pales — green, white and orange — should be of equal size, and vertically disposed. The precise colours of the flag as set by the Department of the Taoiseach are: