St. Patrick's blue
St. Patrick's blue is a name applied to several shades of blue considered as symbolic of Ireland. In British usage, it refers to various sky blue shades associated with the Order of St. Patrick. In modern usage in the Republic of Ireland, it may be a darker shade. While green is now the usual national colour of Ireland, "St. Patrick's blue" is still found in some symbols.
In Irish mythology, Flaitheas Éireann, the sovereignty of Ireland, was represented as a woman in a blue robe. Although the flag of the province of Mide has a blue field, when its device was used as the arms of Ireland, the field was sable.
The Order of St. Patrick was established in 1783 as the senior order of chivalry in the Kingdom of Ireland. The colour of its honours needed to differ from those of the Order of the Garter (dark blue) and the Order of the Thistle (green). Orange was considered, but felt to be too sectarian, so the lighter blue of the Irish arms was chosen. Knights and officers of the order wore a "sky blue" mantle and riband, a hat lined with "blue", and a badge ringed with "blue" enamel. The name "St. Patrick's blue" was common but never officially used by the Order. The exact shade of blue used varied over time. A sky blue tinged with green was used by Lord Iveagh in 1895 and confirmed in 1903. This is still the usual colour in Britain. Although the last surviving knight died in 1974, the order technically still exists.
There has been debate over the extent to which blue was a national colour of Ireland prior to the creation of the Order, and whether it was associated with Saint Patrick himself independently of the Order. Shane Leslie speculated that the green-blue of St Patrick's blue might be "but a reminiscence of the woad-stain used by all colour-loving Celts". Constance Markievicz believed blue was "the old colour of Ireland" and incorporated it in the regalia of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA). The ICA banner, the Starry Plough, has a blue field. Antiquarian nationalist Francis Joseph Bigger considered St. Patrick's blue a "fake colour" and Saint Patrick's Flag a "fake flag". More recently, Peter Alter and Christina Mahony have supported the historicity of the colour, while Brian Ó Cuív questioned it. The Irish College in Paris, completed in 1776, was renovated in 2002; St Patrick's blue was found on the walls of the chapel. As regards green in association with Patrick: in 1681, Thomas Dineley reported people wearing crosses of green ribbon in their hats on Saint Patrick's Day.
Former use 
At a "National Ball" during Edward, Prince of Wales' 1868 visit to Ireland, his wife Alexandra wore a dress of "St Patrick blue". In 1886, a garden party given by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to showcase Irish manufacturing had an Irish-themed dress code. The Freeman's Journal criticised some of the code as difficult to comply with, but said 'Irish poplin ties of "St Patrick's Blue"—which we think looks rather green in a certain light—may [...] be had without much strain.' The Guardian's report of the party stated 'the display of the new colour, "St. Patrick's Blue," was everywhere visible.' The Lord Chamberlain's dress code in 1912 specified that the household of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland should wear St. Patrick's blue, as should Pages of Honour when the King was in Ireland.
The Ireland association football team organised by the Irish Football Association (IFA) wore St Patrick's blue jerseys from 1882 until 1931, when they switched to green. The IFA team is now the Northern Ireland team. The Football Association of Ireland sent an Irish Free State team to the 1924 Olympic football tournament; it wore a St Patrick's Blue change strip against Bulgaria, whose strip was Ireland's usual green.
In the 1930s, the Army Comrades Association's Saint Patrick's blue shirts earned it the nickname of Blueshirts. It was a quasi-Fascist shirted movement which rejected green as associated with its republican opponents. The saltire flag of the Blueshirts was a variant of Saint Patrick's Flag with the white background replaced with a blue background. W. T. Cosgrave described the colour as "in perfect, traditional, national accord with our history and in close association with the most revered and venerated memory of our patron Saint".
The Irish Army Band's first uniform was St Patrick's blue, but this was soon changed to navy. The Mounted Escort ceremonial cavalry of 1932–48 were nicknamed "Blue Hussars" from their uniforms, whose colour was sometimes described as St. Patrick's blue. The uniform introduced in 1970 for Aer Lingus air hostesses and ground crew combined green and St Patrick's Blue, described in The Irish Times as "a sparkling new colour". The 1970 uniform was replaced in 1975, after a design consultancy developed a common corporate image with a colour scheme of dark bottle green, bright green, and "a strong blue".
Modern use 
The coat of arms of Ireland and the Standard of the President of Ireland are a gold Irish harp with silver strings on a field of azure blue. The arms were granted by the Chief Herald of Ireland on 9 November 1945. Horses owned by the Irish National Stud are regarded as owned by the President and entitled to run in the Presidential colours. The colours are "Saint Patrick's blue with gold sleeves, and a St Patrick's blue cap with gold tassel". One such horse is Suailce, which won the 2008 Irish Cesarewich.
The official sporting colours of University College Dublin are "St. Patrick's Blue and Saffron", adopted in 1910. The blue is commonly interpreted as 'light' or 'Dublin' blue; the GAA county colours of County Dublin include light blue jerseys. In the National University of Ireland's academic dress code, "Saint Patrick's Blue" is the colour of the faculty of Science; Veterinary Medicine has a darker "Celtic Blue". The academical dress of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland also features St Patrick's blue. The Trinity College Dublin fencing club specifies that the azure in its colours is "St. Patrick's Blue (Pantone 295 as the Presedential [sic] Pennant)".
Among Irish regiments of the British Army, a hackle of St. Patrick's blue is worn in the bearskins of the Irish Guards and in the caubeens of the London Irish Rifles. The Guards' blue was chosen in distinction to the Royal Irish Fusiliers' green hackle. St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin commemorates its historic association with the Order of Saint Patrick with St Patrick's blue on the cassocks of the choristers and under the clerical collars of the Dean and the Vicar.
A cross-border flag for Ireland may be required where a sporting team combines athletes from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The arms of the four provinces of Ireland on a background of Saint Patrick's blue has sometimes served this purpose.
See also 
- Seaby Coin & Medal Bulletin (B.A. Seaby) (653–664): 41. 1973. "[Describing the ribbons of] the Service Medal, and the Reserve Defence Forces Service Medal, as "St. Patrick's blue" seems strange to British collectors, to whom the description means a very pale, slightly greenish blue, but perhaps the Irish attribute a rich dark blue to their patron saint."
- Ó Cuív, Brian (1976). "The Wearing of the Green". Studia Hibernica (17–18): 106–119.
- Carragin, Eoin (2007-04-18). "Heraldry in Ireland" (PDF). National Library of Ireland. p. 3. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
- Morris, Ewan (2005). Our own devices: national symbols and political conflict in twentieth-century Ireland. Irish Academic Press. p. 12. ISBN 0-7165-2663-8.
- Galloway, Peter (1999). The most illustrious Order: The Order of St Patrick and its knights (2nd ed.). London: Unicorn. p. 172. ISBN 0-906290-23-6.
- Order of St. Patrick (1831). Statutes and ordinances of the most illustrious Order of Saint Patrick. G.A. and J.F. Grierson. pp. 24, 29, 58, 59, 60, 61, 64, 67, 68, 69, 83, 104, 112, 116, 119, 120.
- Galloway, p.174
- Stewart, Georgiana L. (14 August 1893; Issue 34029). "Protest To The Queen From Irish Women Against Home Rule.". The Times. p. 6; col E. "The whole was contained in a very handsome walnut casket lined with Irish poplin of the shade known as St. Patrick's blue, which is the colour of the riband worn on the robes of the Knights of St. Patrick."
- Leslie, Shane (1917). The Celt and the World: A Study of the Relation of Celt and Teuton in History. New York City: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 35.
- O'Casey, Sean (1946). Drums under the windows. Macmillan. p. 338.
- Bigger, Francis Joseph (1927). In John Smyth Crone, F. C. Bigger. In Remembrance: Articles & Sketches : Biographical, Historical, Topographical. Talbot Press. p. 65.
- Alter, Peter (1974). "Symbols of Irish Nationalism". Studia Hibernica (14): 104–23.
- Vernon, Jennifer (15 March 2004). "St. Patrick's Day: Fact vs. Fiction". National Geographic News. National Geographic Society. p. 2. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
- "Collège des Irlandais". Structurae. Nicholas Janberg. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
- Lyng, Marlene (13 October 2002). "An oasis for saints and scholars in Paris". Sunday Tribune. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
- Shirley, E. P. (1858). "Extracts from the journal of Thomas Dineley, esquire, giving some account of his visit to Ireland in the reign of Charles II". Journal of the Kilkenny and South-East of Ireland Archaeological Society. new series (1): 143–6, 170–88.; cited in "Patrick (St Patrick, Pádraig)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/21562. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- "This Evening's News: The Royal Visit to Ireland". Pall Mall Gazette (London). 24 April 1868.
- "The Royal Visit". Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser (Dublin). 23 April 1868.
- "our own correspondent" (23 May 1886). "Viceregal garden party". The Guardian (ProQuest). p. 3.
- Trendell, Herbert A. P (1912). Dress worn at His Majesty's court. Vol. 1. London: Harrison & Sons. p. 161.
- Trendell, p.9
- Byrne, Peter (16 November 1996). "From Belfast Celtic to Shelbourne". The Irish Times. p. 2, Sport. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
- Howard, Paul (30 July 2000). "The first tango in Paris". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2009-11-08.
- Cronin, Mike (1997). The Blueshirts and Irish politics. Dublin: Four Courts Press. p. 47. ISBN 1-85182-312-3.
- "Public Business. - Wearing of Uniform (Restriction) Bill, 1934—First Stage.". Dáil Éireann - Volume 50. 23 February 1934. p. col.2121. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
- Kelly, Olivia (22 February 2003). "Changing of colours for the Army Band". The Irish Times. p. 2, Weekend. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
- "St. Patrick's Day parade. March-past in the rain. "Hussars" again on view.". The Irish Times. 18 March 1933. p. 9. Retrieved 2009-05-14. "the army's own flag of St. Patrick's blue trimmed with gold ... The same colours were worn by the little guard of horsemen who rode in advance."
- "A colourful ceremony: French minister's credentials". The Irish Times. 15 May 1933. p. 4. Retrieved 2009-05-14. "a troop of Free State cavalry clad in the attractive St. Patrick's blue and gold uniforms which were introduced for the Eucharistic Congress last June"
- McIntosh, Gillian (1999). The Force of Culture: Unionist Identities in Twentieth-century Ireland. Cork University Press. p. 42. ISBN 1-85918-205-4.
- "New uniform for Aer Lingus staff". The Irish Times. 4 July 1970. p. 13.
- "Women First". The Irish Times. 13 February 1970. p. 6.
- "'Corporate image' for Aer Lingus". The Irish Times. 2 December 1974. p. 13.
- Office of the Chief Herald, Arms of Ireland, The National Library of Ireland (Grant Type: Registration; Register volume: G.O. MS 111G; Folio number: 20; Date: 9 November 1945)
- "Grant of Arms (Registration): Arms of Ireland". Catalogue. National Library of Ireland.
- "Rules of Racing and Irish National Hunt Steeplechasing Rules". The Curragh, Co. Kildare: Irish Turf Club. 12 February 2009. p. 57; §105. Retrieved 4 March 2010. "Horses the property of the Irish National Stud Co. Ltd. may be raced under these Rules in the name of the President of Ireland, who shall be deemed to be the lessee of such horses."
- "4.15: At The Races Curragh Cup". Race Card: Audi Pretty Polly Stakes. Curragh Racecourse. 27 June 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
- O’ Reilly, Chryss Goulandris. "Chairman's Statement 2008". Reports and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2008. Irish National Stud Co. Ltd. p. 5. Retrieved 4 March 2010. "In addition the Irish National Stud owned Suailce. Racing in the colours of H E the President and trained by our director Dermot Weld, she was a high class winner here at home."
- O'Hehir, Peter (24 August 2008). "Ten Acious". Irish Daily Mirror. p. 43.
- "The Colours of the University". UCD Sport. UCD. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
- "Academic dress of the National University of Ireland". National University of Ireland. 2006. pp. 10, 20. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
- "Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland: Academic Costume". British Medical Journal: 1294. 28 May 1904.
- "Dublin University Fencing Club". Trinity College Dublin. 2005. Retrieved 2009-04-15.
- Taylor, Bryn (2006). "A brief history of the regiment". Retrieved 2009-04-15.
- "The story of the 'Caubeen'". London Irish Rifles Regimental Association. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
- MacLeod, Olaf (1986). Their Glory Shall Not Be Blotted Out: The Last Full Dress Uniform of the British Army. Lutterworth Press. p. 36. ISBN 0-7188-2673-6.
- Byrne, Roy H. (27 August 1993). "St Patrick's blue". The Irish Times. p. 13. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
- Morris, p.194
- Stud Success by the Irish National Stud includes a picture of stallion Cairdeas being ridden by a jockey in the Presidential colours.