Flag Type:  Provincial Flag
Flag Date:  Unknown
Flag Designer:  Unknown
Adoption Route:  Traditional
UK Design Code:  UNKG7448
Aspect Ratio:  3:5
Pantone® Colours:  Gold 123, Red 485, Dark Red 201, White
Certification:  Flag Institute Chief Vexillologist, Graham Bartram

Ulster is a traditional Irish province which covers 3 counties in the Republic of Ireland and 6 in Northern Ireland. The flag of Ulster is therefore representative of part of the UK, though Ulster itself extends beyond. It is included in the UK Flag Registry in agreement between the Flag Institute and it’s counterpart Vexillology Ireland / Brateolaíocht Éireann. The Ulster flag is different from the Ulster Banner, which was the former flag of Northern Ireland but now holds no official status.

The flag features a red cross on gold from the coat of arms of the de Burgh family, mediaeval Earls of the Province, upon which is placed an escutcheon featuring a red hand on white, known as the red hand of Ulster. This emblem is associated with the O’Neill family with ties to the ancient kingdoms in the area and has many legends as to its origin, often involving the amputation of a hand to help claim and secure the ancient crown of Ulster.

5 Responses to Ulster

  1. John 23 May 2016 at 12:48 am #

    How incredibly obnoxious of the Flags Institute to list this flag, but not list the Northern Ireland flag.

    This flag represents a political entity which no longer even exists, and is used by the IRA and their supporters.

    The Northern Ireland flag is not a “former” flag in Northern Ireland as is still flown by councils, our commonwealth games team, football team, practically every sports team representing us internationally, by local government, and during royal events such as during the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations.

    • Lynn McReynolds. Hawkins 17 March 2018 at 9:29 am #

      The Ulster Flag with the crown will always be the flag of Northern Ireland along with the Union Jack, the Republic of Ireland has it’s own flag, they should have no say about Ulster-Scots heritage and culture in Northern Ireland. People like Tony Blair liked to play the corrupt political correct game, since he served the Republic first.

      In America the Irish authors and Irish historians have tried to claim famous Americans such as David Crockett, Sam Houston, Mark Twain, Dolly Parton, President Andrew Jackson, General “Stonewall” Jackson, President James Knox Polk, President U.S. Grant, President Andrew Johnson, Jim and Jesse McReynolds, President Woodrow Wilson, U.S. Supreme Court Justice James McReynolds, General Andrew Lewis, Loretta Lynn, Stephen Foster, Elvis Presley, Jimmy Stewart, and several more Presidents, many Generals, singers, authors, actors, actresses, Singers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the U.S. of A. The Ulster Scots came to America in waves from 1717 to the latter 1700’s. Many ended up being the earliest settlers in Southwest Virginia, North and South Carolina and what’s now Eastern Tennessee. In fact prior to the American Revolution, English Army officers called the Ulster-Scots, the people who lives in the hills and their fathers and grandfathers fought with King Billy (William of Orange) and that where the term “HILLBILLY” got started.

      Since St. Patrick was neither a Protestant or Roman Catholic and was a Celtic Christian, the Ulster-Scots in Ulster, aka Northern Ireland, U.K., observes St. Patrick’s Day. The Protestants main wear orange and have orange colour beer. The orange colours are now being seen at St. Patrick’s parades and events in the U.S. Ulster is part of the United Kingdom, along with England, Scotland and Wales. The Republic of Ireland is a Roman Catholic state, their national language is Irish Gaelic, even on their passports Ireland is spelled “ERIC”, there are English and Gaelic TY, radio, and newspapers.

      The Ulster-Scots were Scottish Protestants who came to America by way of the northern part of the Isle of Ireland, know as Ulster, when many Protestants fled Scotland. There were even French Protestants had fled France, mainly settle in Lisburn, close to Belfast.

      And Happy St. Patrick’s Day to the Orange and Green.

  2. I MacAulay 23 March 2017 at 5:26 pm #

    History lesson: The Ulster banner, commonly known as the Northern Ireland flag, is the banner of the Northern Irish parliament, not the country, just the parliament, which was dissolved in 1972, whereas the Ulster flag was the standard of an administrative division of Ireland, rather than its ruler or ruling body. It was announced by Home Affairs, upon the banner’s introduction, that the Union Flag remained the only recognised standard, but permitted the banner’s use. The banner ceased to have any official recognition upon the abolition of the parliament. It’s current use continues in very much the same manner as the Ulster flag, namely as a unifying symbol at various sporting events, and a divisive one in the political context, also being used by various paramilitary organisations and their supporters. The political basis for both banner and flag is historical, but the cultural relevance remains current; neither flag not banner have any official recognition.

  3. Paul Rainey 26 February 2018 at 12:39 am #

    History lesson No.2: The flag of Northern Ireland comes from the Ulster Banner. The Ulster Banner is only the Ulster Banner while it is part of the Northern Irish coat of arms. Outside the coat of arms, it is the flag of Northern Ireland – it is the de facto civic flag of Northern Ireland and the existence of a devolved government became not particularly relevant. The coat of arms was granted for usage by the Northern Irish government, but that grant did not preclude the flag becoming the de facto civic flag which represents both the territory and the people.

    The flag of England and of Scotland had no “official” recognition ether (define that anyway, please), but continue to be used “officially”. They both became the de facto flags of their respective territories – despite the fact that neither England nor Scotland had (until the late 1990s for Scotland) no devolved government bodies.

    John is correct when he suggests that it appears to be some kind of double standard to include a flag such as the Ulster Flag, but not the Flag of Northern Ireland. The Ulster Flag has even less “official” status. Also, the flags of Scotland and England, and even that of the UK – the Union Jack – had no “official” status for the largest part of their existence. yet they continued to be the de facto civic flags anyway.

    So, either include the flags of Ulster, Northern Ireland, England and Scotland (as well as the wealth of other British flags which have no “official” status), or do not include any of them.

    The only problem with the flag of Northern Ireland is that a certain proportion of a political grouping objects to it. However, these same people also reject the notion of Northern Ireland itself. That is not reason enough to ignore it. If that were the CONSISTENT case in the flaginstitute site, then we should ignore the Union Jack also, as a certain proportion of people reject the flag and the notion of a United Kingdom.

  4. Alex 22 June 2019 at 9:31 am #

    There is no official flag representing Northern Ireland. At UK Embassies across the world, the flags of England, Wales and Scotland are flown on the relevant Saint’s days, they have official recognition. No flag representing Northern Ireland is flown on St. Patrick’s Day on Embassies or any other UK Government buildings including those in Northern Ireland, instead the Union Flag is flown. However, some local councils including Belfast City Council chose to fly St. Patrick’s Cross (red saltire on a white field) alongside the Union Flag. St. Patrick’s Cross is also flown on Cathedrals and other institutions without any official recognition given. The Ulster Banner, I shall call it the Northern Ireland banner for ease of description, is taken from the Coat of Arms granted to the Northern Ireland parliament when it was created following the partition of Ireland. The grant of arms was made from Dublin, by the then Ulster King of Arms, now the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland. As mentioned in other posts, the Northern Ireland banner ceased to have any official status following the dissolving of the parliament in 1972. The Northern Ireland banner is controversial for many, as it bears a crown and what is effectively St. George’s Cross. The hexalpha or six pointed star is also used widely in free masonry, although it cab be interpreted that the six points represent the six counties of Northern Ireland. Despite the red hand being an old Irish Gaelic symbol and the arms of the Gaelic Kings of Ulster, the O’Neills, the Northern Ireland banner is definitely not a widely accepted representative flag of Northern Ireland by the people who live there. The Ulster Banner / Flag, that representing the 9 counties of the historic province of Ulster, again has no official status, but is used widely, including on the provincial arms of Ireland and was used widely by Unionists prior to the partition of Ireland and creation of Northern Ireland. The UK Government has relinquished all responsibility in relation to granting or recognising a flag for Northern Ireland. Instead, following the Good Friday Agreement and establishment of the devolved administration, it was left to the political representatives and Stormont to agree a suitable flag. They have never done so and it is unlikely any time soon. What is clear is that a new flag must have cross community support. The Northern Ireland banner will clearly never draw that support. So, until the politicians feel the urge to choose a new flag, with red hand or not, Northern Ireland will remain without any official flag.

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