Raising the Banners of War

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The banners of 1916 have figured prominently in Irish song and folklore over the past century. They have also been regarded as powerful emblems of national identity and symbols of an independent Ireland. Flags flown in Easter Week included the uncrowned gold harp on a green background, the 'Irish Republic' Flag over the GPO and the Plough and the Stars, flag of the Irish Citizen Army, over the Imperial Hotel. This work discusses the conflicting stories surrounding these flags - who made them, who raised them and what happened to them. The information now available from the Bureau of Military History has made it possible to throw light on these stories. The flags that have survived - the majority of them in the National Musuem of Ireland, serve as iconic emblems of revolutionary Ireland and as powerful reminders of a violent and turbulent period in Irish history.