What is the Official Flag Northern Ireland? Is there such thing?

One of the first things I noticed when we first moved to Northern Ireland was the plethora of flags.

Being a Greek country girl,I am used to one and only.

Even worse, the children started asking questions. As a homeschooling mum, I had to provide the answers!

Chances are you will notice many flags flapping when you visit, so here is a bit of information about the many flags of Northern Ireland.


Official Flag Northern Ireland? Yes or No?

The answer is No and Yes.

No, because strictly speaking Northern Ireland does not have its own unique flag sanctioned by government.

In official functions the Union Jack is used, the official flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

xulster-banner-jpg-pagespeed-ic_-b-zelv0hgx-7141905 However, Yes, because from 1921 to 1972 Northern Ireland did have an official flag, the Ulster Flag or Ulster Banner

Why then and not now?

In 1920 the Government of Ireland Act 1920 was voted by Westminster and came into effect in 1921. It divided Ireland into two autonomous regions.

The region of Southern Ireland eventually became the Irish Republic.

The region of Northern Ireland remained an autonomous region of the UK until 1972 when the arrangement was first prorogued and then suspended under the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973. To put it simply, in 1972 Northern Ireland came under more direct British rule as a response to the Conflict that had recently erupted.


So, what happens now?

the Flag Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000 forbids the flying of any flag on government buildings other than

  • the Union Jack
  • the European Union flag
  • the flags of visiting heads of state
  • the Royal Standard
  • Ulster Flag: Northern Ireland ‘s ex-official flag

    There was a time when Northern Ireland had its very own flag. That was the Ulster Flag or Ulster Banner or Red Hand of Ulster. You can read more about the Ulster Flag here.

    Unofficial Flags of Northern Ireland

    If you think you know all about the flags in Northern Ireland, you haven’t seen nothing yet!

    Have a look here for some of the many Northern Ireland flag varieties…


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