The best-known flag of the Easter Rising is not the Tricolour that flew over the GPO in 1916 but the Irish Republic one currently on display by the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks, Dublin, in an exhibition that can be viewed online.
It is something of an achievement that the Irish Republic flag still exists. It hung from the flagpole closest to the Prince’s Street side of the GPO and was shot at many times. It bears the scorch marks of the inferno inside.
The flagstaff was hit on the last day of the Rising and the flag was found lying on the roof of the GPO.
It was made from wool and house paint and bore the letters “Irish Republic” in white and orange on a green background.
A man named Theobald Wolfe Tone Fitzgerald painted it in the home of Constance Markievicz in Rathmines.
The flag was taken down from the roof on the day after the Rising and was regarded by the troops as quite a trophy.
A famous photograph of the time shows troops from the Royal Irish Regiment posing with it at the Parnell Monument.
It was taken to Britain, but given to the State by the Imperial War Museum to mark the 50th anniversary of the Rising in 1966.
It needed serious restoration before being exhibited in the National Museum of Ireland’s Proclaiming the Republic exhibition in 2016.
The house paint had to be consolidated and preserved to make it safe for display as the prime exhibit.
Also included in the exhibition is the Starry Plough flag, the symbol of the Irish Citizen Army, which flew opposite the GPO at the Imperial Hotel.
What remains of the Tricolour that flew over the GPO is also on display, but it consists of only a couple of butterfly-shaped torn fragments. It was scorched in the fire and then rubble fell on it.
The Museum retains one of the largest displays of materials from this period in an exhibition entitled Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising.
It opened on 3 March, 2016 and is due to continue until September 2020, although is currently closed due to the coronavirus. A virtual tour is available by clicking here.