Starry Plough (flag)
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The Starry Plough banner was originally used by the Irish Citizen Army, a socialist, Republican movement. James Connolly, co-founder of the Irish Citizen Army with Jack White, said the significance of the banner was that a free Ireland would control its own destiny from the plough to the stars.
The original Starry plough was unveiled in 1914 and flown by the Irish Citizen Army during the 1916 Easter Rising. The flag depicts the constellation of Ursa Major, known as The Plough in Ireland and Britain, or in the US, the Big Dipper. Ursa Major (Latin for "Great Bear"; orig. Greek: "Megali Arktos", "Μεγάλη Άρκτος") is one of the most prominent features of the night sky over Ireland throughout the year.
While similar to the state flag of Alaska, it predates Alaska's by more than a decade.
Starry Plough, 1930s to present
The original Starry Plough showed silver stars on a green background. During the 1930s the design changed to that of the blue banner on the right, which was designed by members of the Republican Congress, and was adopted as the emblem of the Irish Labour movement, including the Irish Labour Party. Labour adopted the rose as its official emblem in 1991 but continue to use the Starry Plough for ceremonial occasions. It is also claimed by Irish republicans and has been carried alongside the Irish tricolour and Irish provincial flags and the sunburst flag, as well as the Red flag at Provisional IRA, Continuity IRA, Official IRA and Irish National Liberation Army rallies.
The flag, and alternative versions of it, are also used by éirígí, the Connolly Youth Movement, Labour Youth, Ógra Shinn Féin. Communist Party of Ireland the Republican Socialist Youth Movement, and socialist Celtic F.C. supporters. The flag was draped on the coffin of the Independent TD Tony Gregory during his funeral. The older banner featuring the plough is still occasionally used today by the Irish Republican Socialist Party, Sinn Féin and the Workers' Party of Ireland, formerly Official Sinn Féin.
- "History of Starry Plough Flag". Angelfire.com. 1914-04-05. Retrieved 2010-07-23.