The flag of the Republic of Ireland represents the British in Northern Ireland, peace and Ireland's native people. It is a rectangle broken up into three equally sized sections of green, white and orange. The flag first flew in Ireland in 1848 and is a tricolor similar in layout to the flags of France and Belgium.
The green rectangle stands for Ireland's native people, while the orange rectangle stands for the British who came to Northern Ireland during the 1600s. These supporters of William of Orange were mostly Protestant, but many of the natives of Ireland are Roman Catholic. The white rectangle, sitting in between the other two, stands for peace between the two groups, which has been elusive over the past few centuries.
Thomas Francis Meagher was the first to introduce the flag in 1848 as he promoted the Young Ireland movement. Initially, the flag appeared next to the French revolutionary flag (a red, white and blue tricolor), but it was not seen as the national flag in Ireland until the Rising of 1916. Before the war of independence, which raged from 1919 to 1921, the official flag of Ireland was the same as that of the rest of Great Britain.