List of flag bearers for Ireland at the Olympics

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Ireland at the
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IOC code IRL
NOC Olympic Council of Ireland
Gold Silver Bronze Total
0 0 0 0
Summer appearances
Winter appearances
Other related appearances
 Great Britain (1896–1920)

This is a list of flag bearers who have represented Ireland at the Olympics. Flag bearers carry the national flag of their country at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. Men and women from across the country and from a variety of sports have carried the flag at both the Summer Olympic Games and the Winter Olympic Games.


Athletes from Ireland competed alongside Great Britain for the first Olympic Games, entering their own team for the first time in 1924. Many Irish Americans competed for the United States, achieving significant success particularly in athletics.[1] Pat McDonald, who had moved to the United States at a young age, won the shot put at the 1912 Games and was chosen to carry the U.S. flag at the opening ceremony of the 1920 Games in Antwerp, Belgium.[2][3]

John O'Grady was the first athlete to bear the Irish tricolour in 1924. Ireland did not compete in the Winter Olympics until 1992, with Pat McDonagh, a former Summer Olympic rower turned bobsledder, leading out the team.[4]


The 1980 Summer Olympics boycott, initiated by the United States to protest against the Soviet war in Afghanistan, saw many countries pull out of the Games and only 16 nations appeared at the opening ceremony. Prime Minister Charles Haughey declared his support for the boycott but the Olympic Council of Ireland still chose to send their team to Moscow. Ken Ryan, manager of the Olympic team, said that they supported the government but wanted to participate in the games "purely from the sporting point of view". At the opening ceremony Ryan was the sole representative of the team and marched under a white flag with bearing the Olympic rings.[5] The Soviet cameramen avoided the protesting marchers and few Soviet commentators mentioned it. Only one comment was recorded: "There is the clumsy plot that you all can see, against the traditions of the Olympic movement."[6]

Other notes[edit]

The McGarry sisters, Tamsen and Kirsten, both carried the flag for Ireland. Tamsen was the elder sister, born in 1982 in Bolton, England, and was selected as the flag bearer for the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City. It was the only time that she would compete at the Olympics. Kirsten was chosen for the 2006 Games in Turin. Both sisters were alpine skiers.[4][7][8]

List of flag bearers[edit]

List of flag bearers:[4]

# Event year Season Flag bearer Sport
28 2016 Summer Barnes, PaddyPaddy Barnes Boxing
27 2014 Winter Lyne, ConorConor Lyne Alpine skiing
26 2012 Summer Taylor, KatieKatie Taylor Boxing
25 2010 Winter Hoey, AoifeAoife Hoey Bobsleigh
24 2008 Summer Peelo, CiaraCiara Peelo Sailing
23 2006 Winter McGarry, KirstenKirsten McGarry Alpine skiing
22 2004 Summer Griffin, NiallNiall Griffin Equestrianism
21 2002 Winter McGarry, TamsenTamsen McGarry Alpine skiing
20 2000 Summer O'Sullivan, SoniaSonia O'Sullivan Athletics
19 1998 Winter McHugh, TerryTerry McHugh Bobsleigh & athletics
18 1996 Summer Barrett, FrancieFrancie Barrett Boxing
17 1992 Summer Smith, MichelleMichelle Smith Swimming
16 1992 Winter McDonagh, PatPat McDonagh Bobsleigh & rowing
15 1988 Summer McCullough, WayneWayne McCullough Boxing
14 1984 Summer Mullins, GerryGerry Mullins Equestrianism
13 1980 Summer Ryan, KenKen Ryan Team manager[5]
12 1976 Summer Moore, FrankFrank Moore Rowing
11 1972 Summer McMahon, RonnieRonnie McMahon Equestrianism
10 1968 Summer McCourt, JimJim McCourt Boxing
9 1964 Summer Lawlor, JohnJohn Lawlor Athletics
8 1960 Summer Delany, RonRon Delany Athletics
7 1956 Summer Byrne, TonyTony Byrne Boxing
6 1956 Summer Barry, KevinKevin Barry Equestrianism
5 1952 Summer Carroll, PaddyPaddy Carroll Team Official [9]
4 1948 Summer Carroll, PaddyPaddy Carroll Team Official [10]
3 1932 Summer O'Callaghan, PatPat O'Callaghan Athletics
2 1928 Summer Flanagan, MattMatt Flanagan Boxing
1 1924 Summer O'Grady, JohnJohn O'Grady Athletics

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dwyer, Ryle. Flying the flag: Reliving Ireland's golden days of Olympic glory. 13 February 2010. Irish Examiner. Accessed 30 October 2011.
  2. ^ Pat McDonald. Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Accessed October 26, 2011.
  3. ^ United States. Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Accessed 30 October 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Ireland. Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Accessed 21 January 2016.
  5. ^ a b Olympics chief feared protests. 30 December 2010. Belfast Telegraph. Accessed 29 October 2011.
  6. ^ Fimrite, Ron. Only The Bears Were Bullish. 28 July 1980. Sports Illustrated. Accessed 26 October 2011.
  7. ^ Tamsen McGarry. Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Accessed 29 October 2011.
  8. ^ Kirsty McGarry. Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Accessed 29 October 2011.
  9. ^ Honorary Secretary of Irish Olympic Council, "Unhappy situation at Helsinki", Irish Times, 2 September 1952, page 3; died 6 December 1975 when President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, see obituary "Death of former Garda Commissioner", Irish Times, 8 December 1975, page 13
  10. ^ President of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association, "I.A.B.A. President criticises Olympics", Irish Times, 4 October 1942, page 2