SEP 23, 2014

Why did green become the colour of Ireland?

Ever wondered why green and Ireland seem to go hand-in-hand? With spots of green dotted throughout the country, it seems hard to separate the island from this traditional colour. Things weren’t always the same though. A royal blue colour was first associated as the ‘true colour’ of Ireland. With no truly comprehensive reason why blue was lost though, here at Giftware Ireland we’ve come up with a few ideas as to why green is so important to Ireland today.


The Emerald Isle

Often referred to under this name, Ireland’s lush countryside and expansive pastureland are perhaps partly responsible for the country’s association with green. In order to celebrate the land above all other rural landscapes around the world, green has become a strong and lasting symbol of Ireland.


United Irishman William Drennan wrote a poem referencing Ireland as the ‘Emerald Isle’ in 1795:

The cause it is good, and the men they are true,

And the Green shall outlive both the Orange and Blue.

The orange and blue of the poem represented the Protestants and Roman Catholics, whilst green was the colour of the Catholics and United Irish Volunteers militia, a group looking for Irish independence.



Commonly featured on the uniforms or motifs of the United Irishmen, shamrocks have long been an Irish emblem. Dating back a lot further green was considered the colour of Irish Catholics with St. Patrick, Ireland’s Patron Saint, using a shamrock to teach the Irish about the Trinity. The green leaf became a lasting motif of the country.



National flag

The Irish flag captures a lot of the country’s heritage. Ireland’s Constitution defines the green-white-orange tricolour: green corresponds to the Nationalist party and orange to the Unionists. The white in the middle of the flag symbolises bringing together both parties, in a peaceful settlement.


In religious terms green represents the Catholics and orange the Protestants, thus creating peace between the two with the white divide. Another interpretation suggests green as the Gaellic tradition, orange as the supporters of William of Orange, and white as their truce.


Another concern for the Irish was to differentiate themselves as a nation separate from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The green and orange stand apart from the reds and blues used by and associated with the other nations.


Check out our wide selection of Irish giftware here at Giftware Ireland to capture a little bit of Irishness. From clothing to toys, confectionary to sporting equipment you will be sure to find whatever you are looking for. Don’t miss out on our range of Guinness products too. All purchases will be shipped straight away.  Enjoy Ireland!

Created on 23rd September 2014
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