FreshNI.org

Proposals for agreed symbolism in Northern Ireland and throughout the isles.


Questions & Answers



Is the focus of this site for Northern Ireland or further afield?

Both, but the primary focus above all is to propose a fresh flag for Northern Ireland, an all-Ireland flag to be used to represent north and south as a whole, and an Ulster-Scots flag; designs all of which should share commonalities so that they integrate with each other. The proposed Republic of Ireland flag is an extra optional suggestion.
Possible Northern Ireland flags arrangement


How is the Red Hand of Ulster / Red Hand of Uí Neill suitable as the centre-piece for a fresh Northern Ireland flag?

Red hand of UlsterIn any new flag design it is essential to pay homage to existing local heritage, and there is no better symbol to do so. The red hand dates back millennia, and it is quite a commonly used symbol across the local community in Northern Ireland. For some excellent examples of this, take a look Mark Thompson's excellent Red Hand Shared Hand photo collection.


How is the St. Patrick's Saltire suitable as as the basis for a fresh Northern Ireland flag?

St. Patrick's SaltireThe St. Patrick's Cross already represents Ireland in both British and Irish contexts and hence makes an excellent basis for a fresh flag. This site also uses it as the basis for a new all-Ireland flag, and is a simple design for creating a common basis for Irish flags. Again, take a look at another excellent photo collection on various existing uses of the Cross of St. Patrick by Mark Thompson.


Surely the Northern Ireland flag should still have a crown?

The point in removing it is that the symbol should represent Northern Ireland alone locally, and could still be valid in any political circumstance (e.g. could still be used in a hypothetical independent Northern Ireland!). Some consolation for this is that the proposed Northern Ireland flag now better integrates with the Union Flag. Also, none of the other Home Nations have a crown on their flags, and there is a crown remaining on the proposed Coat of Arms.


Surely the Northern Ireland flag should have a harp?

There is a harp on the proposed Coat of Arms.


Surely the Northern Ireland flag should have a shamrock and a flax flower?

It isn't normal for any of the Home Nations to have their national flowers on their flags. These usually appear on the arms, as they appear in the proposed fresh Coat of Arms for Northern Ireland.


Surely the Northern Ireland flag should have x,y,z, and the kitchen sink?

A good flag design should be simple and easy for a child to draw. Too many symbols ruin the design, and if additional symbols are wanted they are better placed on the Coat of Arms.


Surely Northern Ireland should just use the St. Patrick's Saltire alone?

The St. Patrick's Saltire has been used to represent not only Northern Ireland, but Ireland as a whole, so if you want respectful and unique flags for each territory then that isn't going to work. It also would be wasting a good opportunity to use the St. Patrick's Saltire as the basis of an agreed all-Ireland flag.


Is it intentional that the proposed Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland flags also combine to give the proposed all-Ireland flag?

Yes, very much so! The red (plus white fimbriation) could be interpreted as coming from the Northern Ireland flag, and the green from the Republic of Ireland flag, though that is only intended to be one of several possible interpretations. Another main interpretation being merging the St. Patrick's Saltire with the Tricolour.


How is the Orange of the tricolour present in the proposed all-Ireland and Republic of Ireland flags?

The colour orange is split between the gold in the proposed Republic of Ireland flag and the red of the St. Patrick's Saltire in the proposed island of Ireland flag. Mix the colours gold and red together and you get colour orange!
Orange is also not actually a traditional colour in heraldry, and if the Orange tradition to be represented by the colour don't actually use such a symbol, then better to incorporate the symbols which they actually do use.


How often do you think flags should be flown from public buildings in Northern Ireland?

All year round! Instead of limiting the flying of a particular flag, fly the Northern Ireland flag + sovereign flag, and if desired also fly an island of Ireland and Ulster-Scots flags too. Better to celebrate all facets of identity in an agreed manner rather than hiding them.
One possible arrangement (+ sovereign flag on government buidings):
Possible Northern Ireland flags arrangement


What flags should be flown from public buildings in the Republic of Ireland?

The flag of the Republic of Ireland and optionally the flag of the island of Ireland whenever desired.


What flags should Irish sports bodies like the IRFU and Olympic teams fly?

All-Ireland sports bodies like the IRFU should primarily fly the Island of Ireland flag, and can also fly the flag of the Republic of Ireland and flag of Northern Ireland beside. The Republic of Ireland Olympic team should fly the Republic of Ireland flag.


Be realistic. Not all in Northern Ireland will ever unite behind a single Northern Ireland flag.

Possibly true. This is why it is good to not only attempt to have a common agreed Northern Ireland flag for all, but also to make sure the flag shares commonalities so that it integrates with the other flags around the isles, and allow additional agreed and flags to be flown in a non-contentious manner to allow people to express various aspects of identity in a respectful way.


Any thoughts on Internet domain names?

.ie could be used for the island of Ireland. Northern Ireland should really get a .ul top-level domain name, and the Republic of Ireland could also get a .ei or .eir domain.


When did you design these flags?

I conceptualised all these designs between 2008 and 2009.


Do you have any other designs?

Yes, many of my flag designs have been circulating on the Internet since 2009 (and some duplicated many times by others). You can see some of my other (less favoured) brainstorming designs at commons.wikimedia.org (those by user Palomca).


Can I use/modify your designs?

Yes, I release all these designs to the public domain.


I have a question that isn't answered here.

Please send an email to info@freshni.org, add add a comment, or visit the Facebook page, and I will try to answer.