Talk:Saint Patrick's Saltire

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Request to Merge Article[edit]

Based on discussions in the Saltire and Saint Andrew's Cross articles, I request that Saint Patrick's Flag be merged into wherever those two articles eventually become merged into. I propose a new article entitled Saltire Cross; encompassing the heraldic design and origin of the Saltire (also called the St. Andrew's Cross and St. Patrick's Cross), and the design's use on flags such as those of both Scotland and Ireland. This would consolidate similar information, expand overall information on the same subject (the saltire), eliminate confusion, and make things more user-friendly. Thanks! --Dulcimerist 18:33, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

The Wikipedia flag of Amsterdam image page could also be referenced, as that flag contains three saltires. --Dulcimerist 18:56, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
I remove my request for merger, as this article's sister flag article, Flag of Scotland, has kept its own page. The heraldry articles of Saint Andrew's Cross and Saint Patrick's Cross have been merged into Saltire by consensus. --Dulcimerist 01:48, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia Ireland Project[edit]

I've added this article to the Wikipedia Ireland Project; since its sister article, Flag of Scotland is in the Wikipedia Scotland Project. These two articles should be treated in a similar fashion. --Dulcimerist 01:48, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Irish Topic Template[edit]

If someone can correct the code for the Irish topics template, go for it. Thanks! --Dulcimerist 04:12, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

I have never seen such a template, so I removed it from the article. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 14:00, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Sounds good. In the event that the Wiki Project on Ireland has a template such as this, I trust that they will insert the proper template code into the article. --Dulcimerist 23:50, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Flags of the United Kingdom[edit]

Should this be included in the "Flags of the United Kingdom" series; or is that series designated only for current flags, not historic flags? The Saint Patrick's Flag is used in the Wiki diagram of how the Union Jack was formed, so I feel that the Saint Patrick's Flag would be appropriate in the U.K. flags series. --Dulcimerist 23:50, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

You mean {{UKFlags}}, don't you? I don't think it is notable enough; its notability arises primarily from its use in the Union Flag, whose article covers it adequately. However I do think it is British enough to be in List of British flags, which it isn't right now. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 03:32, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Saint Patrick's Flag Not a British Invention[edit]

I didn't add the fact tag to the comment on nationalists seeing saint paddy's being a British invention, however i know many don't associate to it due it being used by the Irish Guards. Yet the flag is an Irish invetion, though of an Anglo-Irish one, if i can dig up the saved webpage it has references that show the flag was used by the Fitzgeralds or Fitz-somethings long before the Order of Saint Patrick ever did. Mabuska 23:06, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

It being worn by the Irish guards has nothing to do with it. See the Flags of the World entry, especially the section on contemporary opinion on the flag (from 1783) e.g. "One press report from February 1783 complained that 'the breasts of Irishmen were to be decorated by the bloody Cross of St Andrew, and not that of the tutelar Saint of their natural isle'. Another article reported that 'the Cross of St Andrew the Scotch saint is to honour the Irish order of St Patrick, by being inserted within the star of the order' and described this as 'a manifest insult to common sense and to national propriety'." It simply was never a flag of Ireland (for nationalist, Anglo-Irish or unionist) and where where it came from is bewildering. The Fitzgerald connection is tenious - there's no evidience to say that it was a symbol of their's, and when that story appeared, nobody knows. The common "cross of Saint Patrick" was a cross pattee, of the kind that you - may or may not - recieve on Ash Wednesday in Ireland.
Also, in 1783 you cannot talk about it being a "flag". It was a badge for the Order of St. Paddy. I have heard people say that it was flown as a flag during this period (a 17-year window before the Act of Union) but I have never seen any evidience, which I would need to believe it - why would a badge for a newly created royal order suddenly become the "flag of Ireland", especially when the badge itself was not liked? The "badge" was integrated into the Union Flag in 1800 and more likely a "flag of Ireland" (which hithertofore did not exist) was 'reverse engineered' from that. Why was it used for the Union Flag? The only reason I can think of is because this is prettier to this - yet, note that the latter is the older by a century-and-a-half.
Today the only organization that I know to use it as a "flag of Ireland" is the Church of Ireland - then with good cause: to avoid flying the tricolour in the South and Ulster banner/Union flag in the North. Ironic though (or proof of the enduring quality of symbols of this kind) that they give the alternative of flying their own logo in its place: a cross pattee. --sony-youthpléigh 08:48, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

National Flags Tag??[edit]

I see that there is a tag at the bottom of this article for National Flags. As St. Patrick's Saltire is not a national flag, nor used by any government to represent a nation on an official capacity, i propose that this tag be removed. --  RÓNÁN   "Caint / Talk"  12:35, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Use on TCD seal[edit]

Is there evidence that the use of a saltire on the TCD seal is as a "flag of Ireland"? TCD is the sole college of the University of Dublin, not of Ireland. Similar motifs are used on the city seals of Cork and Enniskillen, but surely the Dublin press of 1873 would have been familiar with the TCD seal and, if that had originated from a flag of Ireland, would not have be so surprised and angry at its choice for the Order of St. Patrick badge. --sony-youthpléigh 01:14, 2 October 2007 (UTC) TCD is an unexplained acronym. It stands for Trinity College, Dublin. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Akstrachan (talkcontribs) 13:29, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

History pre-1783[edit]

Given the clunking obviousness of the symbolism on the arms of TCD the use of the red satire on the arms of other towns in Ireland and the references to a flag of this character in the seventeenth century up to and including an ascription of precisely this design to Ireland in a number of continental works it is unsustainable and tendentious to ascribe the origin of the flag to the creation of the order of St Patrick. It is certainly true that the controversy in 1783 is significant and needs to mentioned and discussed in an article of this nature but it is not on to decide in advance to disregard the clear evidence that this flag was used before 1783. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:56, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

This is discussed in the article. There were definitely red saltires flown in Ireland prior to 1783, and discussion about that is important, but it is far from certain that these were related to St. Patricks flag - a red saltire is not the most unusual of flags. If it it existed prior to 1783 then it certainly was not well known and not very strongly associated with Ireland as a national flag. (For all the groups that have ever flown flags in Ireland during the time, surely one would have used a saltire, if it had had a strong association.) Even after 1783, I've never seen any evidience of it been used as a flag before the Act of Union. In fact, 19th century official British sources say that Ireland never had a flag before the Union flag (I'll try and dig this source up if you need).
If it were in use before 1783 then it would surly have been the natural choice for the protectorate flag in 1658, producing the current Union Flag, instead of the 1707 Union Flag with the Irish arms superimposed. Likewise, the 1649 commonwealth flag uses the harp rather than a saltire, which surely would have made more sense if it had existed.
Certainly, the Dutch book of 1693 put a red saltire as a flag of Ireland, but there is no evidence for this on the ground in Ireland. What's more, in (co-incidentally) 1783, and English author copying from that book either 'corrects' or 'mistranslates' Ierse (the caption used in the book) as being Jersey, not Ireland (the Flag of Jersey was an identical saltire until 1981). Someone a little closer to home, correcting an obvious mistake, maybe? --sony-youthpléigh 18:37, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

If we are to call it a Hanoverian invention that doesn't take us very far we still need some explanation for the invention. As it is the TCD seal is so clear it is very hard to support the Hanoverian view. Once we admit that it did exist in 1612 the grounds for dismissing the rest of the evidence as a Burgundian Cross of St Andrew becomes very weak. If the red saltire was new it is hard to explain all this evidence. If it wasn’t new it is hard to explain why people were annoyed in 1783. Unless some alternative explanation for the arms of TCD can be produced the burden of proof is very firmly on those who deny its status as an historic Irish flag. If we knew why the Fitzgeralds have the arms they do (they must have some symbolism) and how old their arms are that might be interesting. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

On the contrary, the burden of proof is on the person adding a statement, see policy: "The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material. All quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged should be attributed to a reliable, published source using an inline citation."
"Once we admit that it did exist in 1612 the grounds for dismissing the rest of the evidence as a Burgundian Cross of St Andrew becomes very weak." The TCD seal has a red saltire, sure - but is this the same flag - a 'flag of Ireland' - or just a red saltire? No one knows. If the Dublin writers in 1783 didn't link the two (remember, TCD was important institution to them) then surely it's a leap for us, over two centuries later, to say that the link is obvious.
I've redone the intro, which not not NPOV on the matter. I hope it's better. --sony-youthpléigh 19:44, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

I was speaking of logic not of the editorial rules of Wikipedia. On the one hand we have the use of a flag matching the exact description of the St Patrick’s Cross on the arms of Trinity College Dublin in 1612 with the probability that it dates to the foundation of the College in 1592 and that this flag was already a recognisable symbol at that time (else it would not have been incorporated into the arms). On these arms it is placed under a recognised symbol of Ireland and juxtaposed to a St George’s Cross under a recognised symbol of England. We have the complete absence of any alternative explanation for the meaning of this flag or of any evidence with which to construct any alternative explanation (it cannot be a Burgundian symbol in the context). We have the appearance of the same flag on the arms of Cork and Enniskillen, again without alternative explanation. We have a reference to the naval use of the ‘fflagg of St Patericke’ as the Flag of Ireland in "The Voyage to Cadiz in 1625" by John Glanville. We have a contemporary illustrated map of the siege of Duncannon Fort in County Wexford ( 1645) showing Irish Catholic forces marching behind a Red and White Saltire. We have ‘Neptune Francois’ published in the Netherlands in 1693, illustrating the flags of Europe which shows the ‘Ierse Irlandois’ as a red saltire on a white background and we have ‘De Doorliughtige Weerld’ (1700) which say the flag of Ireland is a ‘white flag with a red St Andrew’s Cross’. We have the use of this design as if it were an historic symbol of Ireland and St Patrick in 1783 itself. In only one of these cases(1645) is the Burgundian explanation even remotely plausible and in the context of the other cases this plausibility melts away entirely. On the other hand we have two letters to a newspaper in 1783 and one other protest. These indeed require some explanation but they are far outweighed by the rest of the evidence. It is quite possible that the red saltire was rare and unrecognised in Dublin in 1783 and/or that those who did recognise it didn’t bother to say anything. It could be that it was seen as a Catholic symbol (a la 1645) and the ascendency did not like its use in an official capacity. It has certainly been used in Roman Catholic ecclesiastical architecture as a symbol of St Patrick after 1800. There could be many explanations, but in the face of eight counter citations (nine if the Fitzgerald arms are supposed to themselves symbolise the family's Irish connections) the burden of proof is squarely on those who would seek to deny the existence of the St Patrick’s Cross before 1783. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:07, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

I'm not interested in arguing. Just have a read through policy on the use of sources and what is meant by keeping a neutral point of view on Wikipedia. There are two view (three if you include the Fitzgerald), all three need equal representation and we are not here to judge one way or the other. Let the facts speak for themselves and let the reader decide. sony-youthpléigh 16:30, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:Img psnibadge.gif[edit]

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Dubious statements[edit]

I've tagged some dubious assertions:

The cross pattée was used on 15th century Irish coins and is today used as a symbol by the Church of Ireland. It is also uniquely used by Irish Roman Catholics and Anglicans (Church of Ireland), being pressed onto their foreheads during Ash Wednesday services.[dubious ]
  • Is someone seriously contending that the smudge seldom recognisable as a cross of any sort is actually meant to be a cross pattée?
It is one of a few flags, probably second only to the Four Provinces Flag,[dubious ] that are considered relatively neutral in terms of the symbolism of Ireland[dubious ]
  • The Four Provinces Flag is a nationalist flag for sale in the Sinn Fein bookshop. The IRFU has a different "four provinces" flag which is neutral but rugby-specific.
  • Those who fly Saint Patrick's Flag may intend it as a neutral symbol, but then apologists of the Tricolour equally point to the symbolism of the colours for the same purpose. The majority of southerners (i.e. non-Anglican nationalists) do not identify with the flag at all.

jnestorius(talk) 23:49, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

References please[edit]

There are a number of articles that state that this flag represented Ireland, and represented the Kingdom of Ireland. The references provided so far do not support this - can anybody provide a reference? The various assertions I have seen made are:

  • The flag represents Ireland in the Union Jack (correct)
  • The flag represented Ireland sometime in the past (no references)
  • The flag is used by some Irish organizations, institutions, and Sporting Bodies (correct)
  • The flag represented the Kingdom of Ireland (incorrect)

--HighKing (talk) 15:03, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

I am in full agreement with the above user HighKing. There are assertions that the symbol was used in the coat of arms of the cities of Cork and Enniskillen, with no source. And then that it was used on the seal of TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN in 1612, which was an English establishment in "the Pale" - which surely is reason to show that it was NOT an Irish symbol.
Worst of all is the claim that "Throughout the 19th century until the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922, it served as an unofficial Irish flag" which is so obviously bogus it doesn't even warrant proper debunking. Anyone who doesn't know what they're talking about can look up the history of "The Green Flag". Ledenierhomme (talk) 02:52, 27 May 2009 (UTC)


Well done! Thanks to jnestorius for a re-working of this often contentious article, and for the much-improved citation, etc. While I might like to see the very first lines qualified with "sometimes" (maybe a little "weasally" and anyway, it is used), I like very much the flow of the article and the very balanced approach. SeoR (talk) 20:41, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. By "considered as..." I meant to suggest that a red-saltire-on-white need not be so considered, and that, when it's not, it's not called "St Patrick's Cross"; e.g. the flag of Alabama. If this can be better worded, good. jnestorius(talk) 21:45, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
I don't like the way the opening paragraph reads. It sounds awkward and I thought my edit was a little better TBH. Your logic to include the "considered as..." is difficult to follow since the article only discusses the flag in the context of it being St. Patrick's Flag. The article is specifically about the flag, not about a generic red saltire. Looking at similar articles like St. George's Cross and The Saltire, they read much better. Was there a reason for reverting from what I thought was a more readable version? --HighKing (talk) 18:11, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
It's a fair point that it sounds a bit clunky and could perhaps be reworded better. But I want to avoid, not just the danger of suggesting that any red-saltire-on-white is a Patrick's cross, but also the danger of asserting that [St Patrick's cross] is [St Patrick]'s [cross]. One way to avoid that asserting would be to start with:
The so-called "Cross of St Patrick" is a red saltire on a white field...
but that seems to go too far in the opposite direction of dismissing the symbolism of the flag. There is no such controvesy over the symbolism of the Cross of St George. St. Andrews Cross is currently a dab. jnestorius(talk) 20:55, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
Yeah - that's not a great opening sentence. Still think my edit was better than the current text :-) So what we're trying to say is basically that:
  1. St. Patrick's Flag is composed of a red saltire, etc, etc,
  2. The red saltire is sometimes also referred to as St. Patrick's Cross
  3. The flag and cross are sometimes associated with St. Patrick and Ireland
  4. The exact association is lost in the mists of time, etc...
I think something like that reads better and perhaps some well written text would also avoid some of the awkwardness and makes it sound more encyclopedic? --HighKing (talk) 00:38, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
As regards flag vs. cross, I want to mention "cross" first —and indeed I would like to see the page moved to "~cross"— because the article covers not just the bare flag, but also other flags and crests which incorporate the cross. ("Saltire" is a less common name, even if more accurate.)
Would a minor tweak suffice, such as:
Saint Patrick's Cross or Saint Patrick's Saltire is a red saltire (X-shaped cross) on a white field, which has been used< as a symbol of Ireland or of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.
jnestorius(talk) 01:09, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I'd like to move the "used as a symbol" part out of the opening paragraph, and for the first paragraph to simply state what the symbol looks like. I believe it makes for a better read. We can than introduce what it's used for in the 2nd paragraph. That's what I was trying to achieve with my edits. --HighKing (talk) 13:18, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Other possible uses[edit]

Red saltire on white field occurs in the arms of:

jnestorius(talk) 21:42, 7 July 2009 (UTC)


Ballina was founded in 1723, so what sort of cross is on its modern arms is irrelevant. (talk) 12:44, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

I don't follow you. The relevant section is "Other Saint Patrick's Crosses"; the relevant sentence is 'The arms of Ballina, County Mayo, adopted in 1970, include an image of "St Patrick's cross" carved on a rock in Leigue cemetery, said to date from Patrick's visit there in AD 441.' Are you saying the entire "Other Saint Patrick's Crosses" section is irrelevant, or have you a problem specifically with Ballina? jnestorius(talk) 14:20, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: No consensus R'n'B (call me Russ) 17:42, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Saint Patrick's FlagSaint Patrick's CrossRelisted. Vegaswikian (talk) 23:47, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

  • As the article demonstrates, the device of a red saltire on a white field has very rarely been used as a flag (at least in connection with Ireland or St Patrick). It has far more often been combined with other features, whether on a flag, coat of arms, badge, or other type of symbol or logo. Therefore the name "S[ain]t Patrick's Cross" is more appropriate for an article discussing the underlying symbol, whether used on a flag or elsewhere, whether used alone or in combination. I have no opinion on whether the title should use "Saint" or "St". jnestorius(talk) 20:44, 1 March 2011 (UTC) jnestorius(talk) 20:44, 1 March 2011 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's policy on article titles.


Any additional comments:
  • Oppose. The cross is only part of the flag; the rest of the flag is the background. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 17:16, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
    • I think we both agree that the cross and the flag are different. The article discusses e.g. the blueshirt flag, which has the same cross on a different background. So it's not just about the flag. jnestorius(talk) 18:10, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Suggest alternative Move to Saint Patrick's saltire, that would refer to both the flag and the motif. --RA (talk) 22:43, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
    • It's a far less common phrase than "St Patrick's Cross". I'm not sure there's any compensating advantage. jnestorius(talk) 23:53, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
      • "Cross" is considered incorrect because St. Patrick was not a martyr and thus is not entitled to a cross in heraldry. Cannot say that I would consider either word ("flag" , "cross" or "saltire") as being any more or less a common that each other. --RA (talk) 20:41, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
        • That's a fair pint, but IMO a minor one. The "no-martyr no-cross" line has been trotted out by a few people, and is mentioned in the article; but I wouldn't lend much weight to it, considering the very association with Patrick has itself been more widely doubted. As to commonness, Google books has 27 hits for "Patrick's saltire" and 1480 for "St patrick's cross". Granted many of the latter are false positives not related to the saltire, but it's still an order of magnitude or more. jnestorius(talk) 10:55, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
          • ...and the "correctness" or otherwise alone of one title should not be what should determines a page title. I think choosing between them sounds like a straw poll thing, if you really want to press it. It's much of a muchness. In the meantime, I'm sure we can both agree that the capital should go from "flag" in the current title though i.e. Saint Patrick's FlagSaint Patrick's flag. --RA (talk) 13:28, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
            • I'm not sure what to make of ...and the "correctness" or otherwise alone of one title should not be what should determines a page title. I agree? I have no strong opinion on capitalising "flag", or "cross" if it comes to that. Is it a proper name? Is there a standard or precedent? jnestorius(talk) 20:16, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Florida: Cross of Burgundy or Saint Patrick's Cross?[edit]

I'm Spaniard, and I must point out that in truth there's no sound evidence to claim that the flag of Florida derives fron the Cross of Burgundy. It's just a guess. It can make sense, but there's no evidence. Governor Fleming (c.1900), who proposed the design, seems to have been of Irish-Scottish stock and a former Confederate officer. Since 1792 the Spanish coastal flag was the 1785 naval ensign (see Flag of Spain)(and before 1785 the coastal military flag was white with the royal arms in the middle and no Burgundian saltire). Spanish population in late colonial Florida was minimal (and in c.1763-80 Florida was under British rule) -in fact, after 1783 most of the 'Spanish' were Loyalist English-speaking refugees from the Thirteen Colonies, and the Spanish governor used to be an English speaking Irish or Spanish-Irish-, and from 1700 onwards there were bellicose Scottish and Irish-Scottish settlers encroaching in Spanish Florida from Georgia and South Carolina. For an instance of Scottish influence, see the flag of Tallahassee. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:57, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

Whitehall during state visits[edit]

HC Deb 25 July 1986 vol 102 c571W:

  • Mr. John David Taylor asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his reply of 22 July, Official Report, column 111, why the flag of St. Patrick for Ireland is flown on public buildings in Whitehall during state visits to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • Mr. Tracey: I shall write to the hon. Member.

Does anybody have details of the reply? jnestorius(talk) 10:49, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

If not Irish, then what?[edit]

"Saint Patrick's Cross is rejected by many Irish nationalists as a British invention.[1]" Is this a majority view in Ireland? Outside of Ireland it is always seen as an Irish flag, though not very well known. It seems that a vocal minority of Irish nationalists like to make it their business to make a fuss about such things. Looking at its history back to the 1600s, their minority view is recent and comes under Wikipedia:Fringe theories. And, as the above section proves, the more British of the Irish (like Mr Taylor) think of it as an Irish flag, not a "British invention". (talk) 05:02, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

It's indisputably NOT a historically-authentic symbol of St. Patrick, as many people have commented from 1783 down to the present day, and so is "fake" in that respect at least. It may have been used from time to time as a symbol in Ireland before 1783, but it was British royalty and high aristocracy who unilaterally plucked it out of semi-obscurity to be suddenly elevated to be a symbol of Ireland, so it's not surprising if those with Nationalist inclinations have never fully warmed to it... AnonMoos (talk) 22:23, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Trinity College Arms[edit]

The statement in the article that a "red saltire on white" has appeared on the arms of Trinity College Dublin since 1612 is supported by two references: a book on the Order of St Patrick by Peter Galloway which appeared in 1999, and G.A. Hayes McCoy's monograph on Irish flags, published in 1979 (see footnotes 11 and 12 in the article).

However, the second (and earlier) of these two sources does not support the article's statement. Hayes McCoy's evidence (reproduced on page 39 of his book) is a wax seal of the college arms dating from 1612. Needless to say, a wax seal cannot reproduce the colours of the arms and the saltire shown on the flag may have been of any colour.

My own guess is that it was a Scottish saltire - in recognition of the regal union of England and Scotland that had taken place nine years earlier, of the reigning monarch who was James VI long before he became James I, and perhaps of the many Scottish planters who were then settling in Ulster.

That is only a subjective opinion, but what is an objective fact is that the Trinity College arms of 1612 show a saltire of unknown colours, not a "red saltire on white" as is stated in the article.

Unless the Galloway book contain some additional evidence not presented by Hayes McCoy, the article should be corrected.

Golamh (talk) 17:30, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

Trinity College, Dublin by W. Macneile Dixon (1912) pp.276-8:
It would appear that the College obtained a grant of arms at the foundation in 1591, but no record of this grant has been preserved. The earliest evidence now extant is that afforded by the seal attached to the document appointing Lord Ormonde first Chancellor of the University, 1612. It should be noted that in the seal the harp is facing towards the sinister ; but this is probably due to a mistake on the part of the seal-cutter.
The first mention if mention it can be called of the arms in the records of Ulster's Office is a rude 'memorandum' sketch, dating circa 1640. This sketch occurs on the back of a leaf in a book which contains many finished drawings, and, although obviously imperfect, is entitled 'The Colledge Arms'. In Ulster's Office is also preserved a book, dating 1720-30, containing a 'tricking' of the coat, and bearing the title 'The Arms of ye Colledg of Dublin'. This eighteenth-century volume was compiled from older records, now destroyed.
The certificate granted in 1901 is based upon the seal of 1612, and is worded in these terms :
To all and singular to whom these Presents shall come I, Sir Arthur Edward Vicars, C. V.O., Ulster King of Arms, and Principal Herald of all Ireland, Registrar and Knight Attendant on the most Illustrious Order of St. Patrick, do hereby certify and declare that the Armorial Bearings above depicted that is to say, Azure, a Bible closed, clasps to the dexter, between, in chief, in the dexter a lion passant, on the sinister a harp, all or, and in base a castle with the towers domed, each surmounted by a banner flotant from the sides argent, the dexter flag charged with a cross, the sinister with a saltire, gules do of right belong and appertain, as appears from the Records of my Office, unto the Provost, Fellows and Scholars of the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth, near Dublin, and their successors, for ever according to the laws of Arms. As witness my hand and seal in the sixty-fourth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lady Victoria, by the grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith, and so forth, and in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and one.
I surmise, but can't aver, that the 1640 and 1720s sketches probably indicate the colours. That would not prove the 1612 colours were the same, but would strongly suggest so. jnestorius(talk) 23:29, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

The earliest reference to the use of a red saltire on the arms of Trinity College in the above quotation dates from 1901. The quotation contains nothing at all to suggest that the surviving sketches of the college's arms from 1640 and 1720-30 are in colour, much less that they show a red saltire. In the absence of any statement to the contrary, it seems more likely that they are simple pen and ink drawings.

I would pose two questions:

1. Where is the evidence that a "red saltire on white" has appeared in the arms of Trinity College since 1612?

2. If no such evidence can be produced, why is the statement retained in the Wikipedia article?

Golamh (talk) 21:04, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

It's retained because a reliable source says so, and no reliable source has published a doubt. The best approach to take is to clarify the section in the article so that the description is based on the 1901 certificate which is based on the seal. --HighKing (talk) 17:33, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

On the contrary: no source for the statement has yet been produced. I would suggest that the current text, which reads:

The arms of Trinity College Dublin, attested from 1612, show flags flying from two castle turrets. One is a red cross on white, interpreted as St George's Cross; the other is a red saltire on white, interpreted as representing Ireland.

Should be changed to the following:

The current arms of Trinity College Dublin show two flags: a red cross on white and a red saltire on white. Although the arms are attested on a seal of 1612, their original colours are unknown. The present colours were described in a certificate issued by the in 1901.

Golamh (talk) 23:58, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Well, one source offers evidence: "I, ... Principal Herald of all Ireland ... do hereby certify and declare that the Armorial Bearings above depicted ... do of right belong and appertain, as appears from the Records of my Office, unto the Provost, Fellows and Scholars of the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity". The 1901 grant claims therefore to be based on earlier evidence. While the 1612 seal is not tinctured, the 1640 and 1720s records or others may well have been.
I agree the current wording is misleadingly certain that the red-saltire dates from 1612, but I think your proposed rewording goes too far in the other direction. For now, pending further sources, I suggest this:
The arms of Trinity College Dublin show two flags: a red cross on white and a red saltire on white. Hayes-McCoy interprets these as representing England and Ireland respectively. The current grant of arms dates from 1901, based on earlier records, including an untinctured 1612 seal.
Hayes-McCoy's cited source is The book of Trinity College, Dublin, 1591-1891 pp.9-11, which doesn't offer any evidence as to colour. Here's another interesting exchange from Notes & Queries, 3rd Series, Vol.II (1862):
  • p.392:
    Heraldic engravers, however, frequently commit gross blunders, especially in tinctures. By my side is a premium obtained by a friend at Trinity College, Dublin; on each of the covers is impressed a medallion of the University arms; and on the printed label, or certificate, which usually accompanies these prizes, on the fly-leaf, there is an engraving of the same arms. Between the two representations, both official, there are several heraldic differences worthy of note. In the arms on the cover, the harp faces to the dexter side: in the certificate, the harp is reversed, or facing to the sinister. On the cover, the large castle has a tower on either flank; each tower is surmounted by a flagstaff, springing out of a conical turret, bearing an ensign to right, gules, charged with a saltire. In the certificate, the place of these ensigns, flagstaves, and turrets, is supplied by flames. On the covers, the book is gules charged with a saltire; in the certificate there is no saltire on the book, but there is an ornament which might be described as a bordure per saltire — if there is such a term in heraldry. Another official authority—namely, the University seal, appended to the Certificates of Degrees— presents us with a new variety. In this the harp faces to right, or dexter side of shield. The towers are surmounted neither with turrets, flags, nor flames.
    The Dublin University Calendar, also official, gives us a fourth variety: here the harp faces to left, or sinister. There are no turrets on the towers, and the ensigns float to the left. On the book there is an ornament like that in the premium certificate; but within the bordure per saltire is a cross cercelee pierced. A sixth variety is found in the seal of the University Club, which has the flagstaves springing out of conical turrets, with ensigns to right; but the harp faces to left of shield. And Hanhart's chromolithograph, referred to above, provides us with a seventh, in which the field is argent (an undoubted error); the ensigns, flying to right, are argent, a cross gules. The harp is facing to left; and the book is gu. (without device) clasped, and edged or.
    I observe that several of your correspondents write from the sister Isle. Perhaps they will take the trouble to inform me, in heraldic phraseology, what are the exact bearings in the arms of the University of Dublin. I have produced seven varieties: five of which, at least, seem to have received official sanction. And of these five, three bear ensigns on the towers: one flames instead of ensigns, and the fifth neither flames nor ensigns. Surely this is a matter that should be looked to; and for the credit of the University, to which I have the honour to belong, no such glaring differences in the representations of its armorial bearings should be allowed to continue, as that between the coat as stamped on the outside, and as engraved on the inside of every book premium that issues from the shop of the University booksellers. Our excellent friend, Dr. Sir Bernard Burke, should present to the senate an accurate drawing of their arms, as the most fitting "exercise" on his admission to the degree of LL.D.
  • p.438–9:
    As for the arms of Trinity College, Dublin (are these also those of the University? they certainly are those of the former), I have by me a premium book of the year 1820: on the cover the harp faces the dexter side. The towers of the castle have conical tops; the flags are square, bearing each a saltire, and floating in opposite directions: the dexter to the dexter side, the sinister to the sinister. No tincture is marked, except on the book, which is gules with two lines saltire wise. On the certificate, the tops of the castle are hemispherical. The flags are pennons of two points, not charged, and both floating dexterwise. The book has no tincture; but has an oblong bordering in centre, and thereon lines at each angle to the corners; representing, of course, a common sort of binding. The only tincture is that of the field, azure.
    In the Dublin University Calendar for 1834 and 1836 (the only number I have by me), there are no tinctures. The turrets are hemispherical at top the square flags, charged with crosses, float dexterwise. No bases to the towers as in the former cases. The book quite plain; no charges on it, faces sinister.
    In premium books, also in my possession, of 1795, &c. The medallion on the covers are from a different mould from those of 1820: the harp turns to the dexter side; the towers are domical, but without bases. The flags exactly as in 1820. The charge on the books is indistinct; but I think is merely a double square bordure. The certificate, very slightly executed from a much worn plate, has an azure field; the harp to the dexter side; the towers sloping upward, with bases; the pennons (without charges) floating to the sinister side. The book without tinctures or charges.
I wonder if "an ensign to right, gules, charged with a saltire" is a mistake by the writer; it would be very noteworthy if the field rather than the saltire was red. He doesn't say what the other tincture is. The confusion of arms in official 19C documents might indicate that the TCD authorities were slapdash in departing from the officially recognised arms, or it might mean that there was no official recognition prior to 1901, and it was a free-for-all.
jnestorius(talk) 08:35, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Further 19th century datapoints:

We really need to know about the the 1640 and 1720s sketches. If those do not show the colours, the red-on-white may well only date to 1901, when Vickers would have chosen them for the obvious symbolism. jnestorius(talk) 10:40, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

It's not the colours, it's the symbolism that is telling. Right above the maybe St George's Cross is a heraldic leopard similar to the Normans' 2 leopards (now 3 in the Royal Arms of England). Right above the maybe Saint Patrick's Saltire is the Clàrsach or Irish harp, as seen in the Coat of arms of Ireland. Only someone with aspergers would suggest today that the flags could perhaps have been coloured blue and yellow. (talk) 09:54, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Image File:Encyclopedie volume 6-144.png[edit]

File:Encyclopedie volume 6-145.png seems to show more-specifically Irish flags... AnonMoos (talk) 22:13, 4 July 2011 (UTC)

Found the captions -- the Irish red saltire on white is included on both the p. 144 and p. 145 charts for some unknown reason (with no reference to St. Patrick, by the way, even though St. George is mentioned in connection with the English flag), but the Green ensign is only included on the p. 145 chart... AnonMoos (talk) 03:53, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

"a symbol of Ireland"[edit]

I've removed "sometimes considered as" a symbol of Ireland because it is weasel words and replaced with simply "is a symbol of Ireland" . That the symbol is not universally accepted is said immediately afterwards. No less — whether universally accepted or no — like the tricolour and the green flag, St. Patrick's Flag is a symbol of Ireland. Do we really need to ref this? --RA (talk) 21:14, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

In a word, yes. I'd reverted as per BRD - you should not re-add your edit without discussion - please revert. --HighKing (talk) 22:44, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
BTW, I'd be happier with a sentence that stated that it is "associated" with Ireland. --HighKing (talk) 22:45, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Your analogy with the tricolour rather undermines your argument, RA. The corresponding sentence in Flag of Ireland does not read "the tricolour is a symbol of Ireland", but rather:
The tricolour is regarded by many nationalists as the national flag of the whole island of Ireland.
I'm also not sure WEASEL is the right objection; to my mind, "weasel words" supply a vague subtle criticism with no detail, as opposed to supplying a vague subtle criticism with detail in the following sentence. But that's just nitpicking, since I do agree with you that it reads awkwardly. The issue for me is the scope of the caveat: nationalists do not take the view that "Patrick's Cross is a legitimate symbol but not a legitimate symbol of Ireland"; they take the view that "Patrick's Cross is not a legitimate symbol".
I think we all agree about the facts that need to be exposited; it's just a matter of ordering the words so as not to push anybody's sensitive buttons. What about merging the two relevant sentences, to something like:
The cross is used a symbol of Ireland or of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, although the antiquity of its association with Ireland and Saint Patrick has been questioned.
(You may have noticed I am still hopeful that the article can be moved from "...Flag" to "...Cross".)
jnestorius(talk) 23:11, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
I would be far happier with:
The cross is associated with St. Patrick and has been used to symbolise Ireland, although the antiquity of the association has been questioned
It isn't a "symbol of Ireland" unless it has a relatively widespread use to *represent* "Ireland". It doesn't. It is part of the flag of the UK - so no problems stating that it used as a symbol of Ireland in Britain. And that's not the same caveat as "nationalists do not take the view"... --HighKing (talk) 13:12, 13 August 2011 (UTC)
But the association with St Patrick is even weaker than the association with Ireland. jnestorius(talk) 09:09, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
The earliest association was with the Order of Saint Patrick, so I'm trying to say in a concise manner that it was associated with Saint Patrick - and through Saint Patrick's strong association with Ireland, has also come to be associated with Ireland.... --HighKing (talk) 13:55, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Use is far earlier than that. Recorded use goes back to at least 1600. Generally, it is accepted that the symbol is a Geraldine one. It has no association with St. Patrick or Patrician tradition except for its name. --RA (talk) 18:01, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
That's an exaggeration: the article gives several instances of the cross being used to represent St Patrick rather than Ireland. I do agree with RA contra HighKing that it's at least contentious to say "The earliest association was with the Order of Saint Patrick". The second part "through Saint Patrick's strong association with Ireland, has also come to be associated with Ireland" seems to be OR, and I dispute its accuracy. Further, I think my formula was a more concise way of expressing the link between the symbol and the saint: it does so in fewer words. jnestorius(talk) 18:51, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Saying that something is "the national flag" and saying that something is "a symbol" of some place is quite a different thing. The copy that is being objected to to is that St. Patricks' Flag "is a symbol of Ireland", as opposed to the weasely "is sometimes considered as a symbol of Ireland".
Can we at least agree that it is used as a symbol to represent Ireland? For example, it is incorporated in to the UK flag to represent Ireland and forms the basis of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland flag, the Commissioners of Irish Lights flag and the PSNI badge and that it appears as a flag on numerous Irish coats of arms (for example the Cork and Trinity College, Dublin) and is listed as a flag of Ireland since the 17th century. --RA (talk) 18:01, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
  • I don't think we should use both "symbol" and "represent" together; it's a tautology.
  • You think "is sometimes considered as a symbol" is weaselly; I think "is a symbol" is too bald. How about " sometimes used as a symbol" or ..."has been used as a symbol"?
jnestorius(talk) 18:51, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
As a matter of interest, exactly where is it used to represent "Ireland" (the country/nation/whatever). Outside of the Union flag, I can't think of anywhere. The rest of the time, it is used to represent something that is Irish. For example, the PSNI badge, or the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. This is not the same thing as representing Ireland, or being used as a symbol of Ireland. So, it is fairer to more accurate perhaps, to say it is "associated" with things Irish. --HighKing (talk) 15:19, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
What do you claim the Patrick's Cross symolises in the PSNI badge or RCSI arms? "The rest of the time, it is used to represent something that is Ireland." -- Did you leave out part of that sentence? jnestorius(talk) 16:24, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Jeez - that last para of mine made no sense when I read it back. I've fixed it now - but I think you got the gist of what I was trying to say anyway. As to the other uses - I don't know what it represents in the PSNI badge or the RCSI arms. Is there anywhere I can find out? For example, it's possible the saltire in the PSNI badge represents .. the PSNI as a unified force (since the shamrock is the symbol of Ireland in that case). --HighKing (talk) 19:00, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Ewan Morris in Our Own Devices p243 recommends to refer to Hayes-McCoy's History of Irish Flags pp36-41 "on the murky origins of St. Patrick's Cross". RashersTierney (talk) 00:35, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Rashers, those works have already been digested and referenced in the article. I had assumed the present discussion was not about the underlying facts, but rather about the nuances of the wording of the introduction. I begin to doubt that assumption in the light of HighKing's recent comments. Is there some Socratic irony at work?
  • I find it difficult to imagine St Patrick's cross being used to symbolise anything other than Ireland or St Patrick. Were you serious in offering the theory that in the PSNI badge it might represent the unified nature of the force, or was that some kind of joke?
  • I dispute the idea that in any compound symbol, a given referent can only be represented by one component (shamrock=Irish ⇒ saltire≠Irish). Think of the Betsy Ross flag, where the 13 states are represented by both the 13 stars and the 13 stripes.
  • The distinction between representing-Ireland and representing-an-association-with-Ireland seems very contrived: which category does e.g. the shamrock fall into? The "grammar" of visual symbolism is not that subtle. jnestorius(talk) 12:23, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
The distinction between representing-Ireland and representing-an-association-with-Ireland may appear contrived - not my intention and perhaps I'm failing to make a clear point, and some points are bleeding into others - my fault.
It is very reasonable to assume that the St. Patrick's cross within the PSNI emblem is used to symbolise Ireland, but I was hoping that someone (more knowledgeable on these matters, which isn't me?) might be able to point to a definitive source rather than making (reasonable) assumptions.
For the PSNI flag, the point I was making is that I can't find anything that actually explains what each symbol is supposed to represent. For the RIC, Queen Victoria granted the right to use the insignia of the “The Most Illustrious Order of St. Patrick”: the harp, crown and shamrock. These are still represented in the PSNI badge. Use of the harp and shamrock is to represent Ireland. So the new emblem probably uses the "St.Patrick's cross" to represent Ireland also - that is certainly the most likely explanation. It would be great to find a source though.
The difficulty I have making the distinction is, does the symbol/cross represent St Patrick or Ireland? Or both together? Does usage of a symbol of St. Patrick become a symbol of Ireland? I would say it depends on context, from situation to situation. Universally, this cross is a symbol of Saint Patrick, no more or less.
Why can't we take a leaf out of other articles such as St George's Cross? It doesn't baldly state that this is a "symbol of England". And Saltire doesn't state the St Andrews Saltire is a symbol of Scotland. These articles distinguish correctly between the cross/symbol, and it's usage in various flags/emblems/badges.
So I'd certainly support a move of this article to "St. Patrick's Cross" for a start. --HighKing (talk) 14:58, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Don't want to read more than may have been intended, but the Board that developed the badge has this to say : "The centre-piece houses the Cross of Saint Patrick which places all six symbols in the context of Northern Ireland." The Life and Times of the first Northern Ireland Policing Board, 2001 - 2006 p13 #6
Good find. The more I think about this, the more I'm coming around to agreeing to move this article to "Saint Patrick's Cross" and write it along the lines of the other similar articles. Thoughts? --HighKing (talk) 23:43, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Now time for some de-indenting...

...I don't know that we agree on what constitutes a "similar article". I get the impression you are giving priority to the link with St Patrick, and making the link to Ireland a consequence or subsidiary element. I don't believe that is a universally held view, certainly not in the way St George and St Andrew have priority in their crosses. This distinction is bolstered by the fact that those saints are patrons of places unconnected with England and Scotland, whereas Patrick is specific to Ireland. Some responses to an earlier comment of yours:

  • The difficulty I have making the distinction is, does the symbol/cross represent St Patrick or Ireland? Or both together? I would say it depends on context, from situation to situation. I agree that it depends. And wikipedia should not state more than can be verified. If a person, place, or thing has a red saltire in its crest or logo, it may not be St Patrick's Cross at all, so by default we don't mention it at all in this article. If we are sure it is St Patrick's Cross, we can mention it, even if we don't know whether it's the Irish connection or the St Patrick connection that is being invoked. If we know which it is, we should say so.
  • Does usage of a symbol of St. Patrick become a symbol of Ireland? That's really smuggling in the assumption that the saltire became a symbol of Patrick first, and then a symbol of Ireland. As a matter of history, that is dubious; and in any case, the historical origins may not have much influence in the current understanding. This seems to me to be an error in regard to the meaning of symbols; the equivalent error in regard to the meaning of words is called the etymological fallacy.
  • Universally, this cross is a symbol of Saint Patrick, no more or less. Well, now, maybe it's just sloppy wording, but I don't find much to agree with in that statement.

jnestorius(talk) 19:50, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

This statement wasn't simply based on the saltire representation, but on the fact that crosses *have* been associated with, and used as a symbol to represent, Saint Patrick going back in time. The earliest mention I've seen is this article which includes a picture of the The St Patrick's half-farthing of 1460-1. So I guess what I'm trying to get across is that a cross has been associated with Saint Patrick for a very long time. --HighKing (talk) 21:19, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
"Universally, this cross is a symbol of Saint Patrick, no more or less." - Seriously, this sounds very desperate. The cross symbol has no association with St. Patrick. Neither today or in the past. No serious source suggests that it does. It is a flag of Ireland (one of several, none of which are universally accepted).

"Smith illustrates how the Crusader cross (red couped cross on white), originally adopted as a Christian symbol, influenced the development of three main streams of cross flags, some of which were used in the Middle Ages, others not until the modern period. In the first version we find a colored cross on white, as in the cross flags adopted by England, Genoa, Milan, Padua, Sardinia (red cross on white), by Finland (blue cross on white) or by Nantes (black cross on white). The second version of the Crusader cross is a white cross on a colored background, such as a white cross on red displayed in the flags of Denmark, Savoy, Malta and Vienna, and the white cross on blue used by France and Greece, and the yellow cross on blue adopted by Sweden. Thirdly, the original Saltire cross (red diagonal cross on white) was used by Ireland (St Patrick's cross) and by Spain, and served as the inspiration for the diagonal cross on blue used by Scotland (St. Andrew's cross), or the blue diagonal cross on white adopted by Russia, also known as St. Andrew's cross (Smith 1975: 46—52)." — (My own underlining.) Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Richard Jenkins, Flag, nation and symbolism in Europe and America, Routledge: Oxon, 2007, page 29

--RA (talk) 00:01, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

I know its not your phrasing RA, but what does the expression 'used by Ireland' actually mean? RashersTierney (talk) 01:05, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

What is "Ireland"? Has such a thing ever existed? Are we really going down that rabbit hole? --RA (talk) 07:45, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
I'd also ask, what timescale was this "used by Ireland"? Because we've Irish coinage from various points in time all using the cross patteé as the cross of Saint Patrick. --HighKing (talk) 21:19, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
(1) I think RA is going too far in the other direction from HighKing; the association with St Patrick has been taken up by the Blueshirts, the Catholic diocese of New York, etc, as stated in the article. It's not much, but it's more than nothing. (2) I would presume "used by Ireland" in the given quote means used by the Dublin Castle administration in Ireland. That claim is contentious but not uttterly unfounded. jnestorius(talk) 11:47, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
A number of issues/questions have arisen above. Trying to answer a few below and move this forward:
  • Priority - Ireland or Saint Patrick. There's evidence that shows an association with Saint Patrick and a cross patteé at least as far back as the middle of the 15th century.
  • Saltire - which came first, Ireland or Saint Patrick. Evidence points to it first was used to represent Saint Patrick.
  • Historical origins may not have much influence in the current understanding. Good point. Having read the arguments above, I agree that it's fair to say that the incorporation of the cross in various flags and emblems over time is to represent Ireland. Or put another way - those flags and emblems are not representing Saint Patrick. So I agree that current understanding is it has become a symbol of Ireland.
I'm of the view the article should be renamed Saint Patrick's Cross though, since the article discusses much more than a flag. --HighKing (talk) 11:48, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
Got to disagree with most of the above:
  • "There's evidence that shows an association with Saint Patrick and a cross patteé at least as far back as the middle of the 15th century." - What "association"? A cross patteé may also have been called St. Patrick's cross at some time. So have Celtic crosses. That doesn't mean that these symbols have an association with either St. Pat or with the symbol that this article is about.
  • "Evidence points to it first was used to represent Saint Patrick." - What evidence? The oldest sources show this symbol as a flag used to represent Ireland (who's ever "Ireland" that may have been).
We need to be careful not to stray into OR. The waters are very murky here. We should not be adding "clarity" of our own.
I'm fine with it being moved to St. Patrick's Cross. My preference would be for St. Patrick's Saltire tho.
BTW, are you OK with this]? --RA (talk) 12:14, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
Disagreeing is fine, but it's only opinion if you've not offered any facts or evidence to counter what has been said.
  • You say "A cross patteé may also have been called St. Patrick's cross at some time. So have Celtic crosses. That doesn't mean that these symbols have an association with either St. Pat..." - I would think that if something was called St Patrick's Cross (or Cross of Saint Patrick), it demonstrates an association with Saint Patrick. And one of the oldest examples appears to be the half-farthing of 1460-61 which shows a strong association between Saint Patrick and the cross patteé.
  • A website [ here has other uses and attributed to a Vincent Morley is: must be asked why Lord Temple substituted the saltire for the cross pattée? I suspect that this decision was a result of the desire to link the cross and the shamrock in a single badge. It is not possible to combine a large shamrock (and it must be large if it is to bear a crown on each leaf) with a cross pattée without obscuring one or the other, but it is very easy to superimpose a shamrock on a saltire - which is, after all, only a rotated cross. While this change angered members of the Irish public, it probably seemed like a minor and a reasonable modification to an English viceroy who, in any event, took a very cynical view of the Order of Saint Patrick, referring in his private correspondence to 'the nonsense of the farce of the Order'.
  • WP:OR - I completely agree, which is why I've repeatedly asked for references and sources to back up the claims that this cross was used as some sort of ancient symbol of Ireland, when it seems that it is a relatively modern invention dating only to the creation of the Order of Saint Patrick, and thereafter incorporated into the Union flag.
Finally, yes, I'm fine with the edits. I'm no longer of the opinion (thanks to jnestorius for pointing it out) that the Saint Patrick flag is not used as a symbol of Ireland, at least in modern interpretation. It's a reasonable interpretation of usage for the PSNI symbol, etc, but (OR alert) this usage appears to stem from the original incorporation into the Union Flag. We don't have references showing usage before this point in time. --HighKing (talk) 16:44, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

I think we're making some progress in this discussion. When I did a major rewrite of this page, I added a section "Other Saint Patrick's Crosses". I had some misgivings about this at the time, and perhaps it might be better to refactor it out. The bulk of this page might be moved to St Patrick's Saltire while that subsection could be something like List of St Patrick's Crosses. That's not a great name, but two alternatives are unacceptable: St Patrick's Cross would be unaacceptable because that should redirect to St Patrick's Saltire since that is (in modern times) by far the most common referent; and St Patrick's Cross (disambiguation) would be unaacceptable because the page would discuss each item rather than linking to a separate article as per MOS:DAB. Perhaps having two separate pages like that might clear up some of the remaining points of contention from above. It seems to me the salient facts are these:

  1. A red-on-white saltire was used occasionally as a symbol of Ireland from at least the early 17th Century
  2. This saltire has been called "St Patrick's cross" since at least 1783
  3. Other things have been called "St Patrick's cross" or similar, of which some were thus called before 1783.
  4. Some people in 1783 objected to #2 because of #3.

jnestorius(talk) 14:11, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

That sound right to me but we have to be careful not to create a synthesis of the facts.
I am also of the opinion that "other Saint Patrick's crosses" should be moved out of this article, which is about the red saltire. --RA (talk) 16:54, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
It's an accurate summary. I can see that there is sufficient data to have an article entirely about the Saltire, and perhaps not enough verifiable sources to have an article on "other" crosses. I'm not sure I fully agree with separating Other crosses from an article on the Saltire though. Points 3 and 4 above need context. But I agree that this article would be better moved to "Saltire" - perhaps we can do better with a para on "other" crosses until it gets to a point whereby it can justify a separate article? Thoughts? --HighKing (talk) 10:47, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
Are we agreed on the move to "Saint Patrick's Saltire"? --HighKing (talk) 14:29, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
It's clear that at present List of St Patrick's Crosses would be a bare Start-class article; but I don't see that as a reason to keep it here if it doesn't really belong. Comments in the above dicussion like "There's evidence that shows an association with Saint Patrick and a cross patteé at least as far back as the middle of the 15th century" make me think it muddies the waters to discuss the non-Saltire Patrick's-crosses in this article; the existence of an unrelated entity of the same name is hardly an argument in favour of the authenticity/antiquity of the red saltire. And moving this article to Saint Patrick's Saltire would seem to make discussion of non-saltire crosses even less germane. jnestorius(talk) 15:55, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
What we seem to have is a "Saint Patrick's Saltire", first used at the time of the Order of St. Patrick, and continuing to be used to the present day. We also have other Saltire's used in Ireland but dubious to state there's a strong link between them and this one. We also have what seems to be a some sources that point to older associations between Saint Patrick and other types of crosses, most especially a cross patteé. I was originally of the opinion that there were sources that demonstrated an evolution from a cross patteé and the present saltire, but after looking at the sources more closely, I'm no longer of that opinion. So bottom line, I believe we can keep the saltire article separate from any other articles. No opinion on what the other article title should be at this time, but there seems to be enough material for a small article if sources hold up. --HighKing (talk) 16:16, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Requested move (September 2011)[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved to Saint Patrick's Saltire. Favonian (talk) 14:57, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Saint Patrick's FlagSaint Patrick's Saltire – See discussion in preceding section, especially From here down. jnestorius(talk) 15:55, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Support More appropriate to the subject of the article and makes it clearer what the article is about. Guess I would lower case the 'S' tho as it is not a proper name (I know I've flipped between this a couple of times already). --RA (talk) 16:20, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
Support As per section above, this makes sense for the reasons discussed. --HighKing (talk) 16:25, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
Support As per section above, this makes sense. A while since I've been to this article, but I remember its earlier days, and some middle periods, and interesting how long some debates run. SeoR (talk) 17:08, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Irish language[edit]

If someone has access to a copy of Armas : sracfhéachaint ar araltas na hÉireann (OCLC 51059250), that might provide a source for the proffered Irish translations of "Saint Patrick's Cross" and "Saint Patrick's Flag". jnestorius(talk) 15:36, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Section taken from CAIN website[edit]

I know CAIN is a published source, but there are issues lifting whole sections from a website's take on one small detail when the purpose of the website is something entirely different. The quote seems to contradict other material evidenced within the article - who exactly were the authorities described by CAIN and where is the evidence for their statement? Gisbwoy (talk) 14:20, 30 November 2012 (UTC

Removed Gisbwoy (talk) 17:00, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Who is Vincent Morley?[edit]

Aka the author of this website: [1] which is referenced multiple times in the article and on this talk page. Without being personal in any way, is this person a flag expert or known authority on the matter? I cannot find any reference to these "contemporary opinions" anywhere else. I suspect he has detailed knowledge on the subject at the least, and it may be the case that these "contemporary opinions" are being taken out of context or may only relate to the Order of St. Patrick and not wider use. For instance, Vincent Morley has also contributed to the site where he wrote: "A flag book called Neptune François published at Amsterdam in 1693 showed a red saltire on white as the Irish flag. This was copied by several later publications. A Dutch book of 1700 (De Doorlughtige Weereld) says the following: 'Yrland heeft een witte Vlag, met een rood Andries Kruys' ('Ireland has a white flag, with a red Andrew's cross')." This information is ignored in the article - it suggests that if this individual is indeed an authority, he is being quoted out of context to support one opinion. Gisbwoy (talk) 17:00, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

I have a personal website here and I blog here. I am the author of 'Irish Opinion and the American Revolution 1760-1783' (Cambridge University Press, 2002), a book that developed from my doctoral thesis. But who is 'Gisbwoy'?

Vincent Morley (talk) 19:29, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

"Who is Vincent Morley?" is a reasonable question, as self-published sources are rarely considered reliable sources for citation purposes. --| Uncle Milty | talk | 19:34, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

If the question was thought to be of interest, a quick Google search would have found the answer. I always reply to polite e-mails. As it was, my first three attempts to reply here were deleted by Wikipedia editors because of my "disruptive editing" and "inappropriate discussion".

Vincent Morley (talk) 20:00, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

The Reference to the Hibernia Regiment and the Cross of Burgundy is a Bit Nonsensical[edit]

Because ALL the Spanish infantry regiments in the 18th century, either Irish or not, bore the cross the cross of Burgundy on their colours, at first on both the King's and the Battalion flags -the former known as "coronela" (colonel's) , and the latter as "batallona" or "sencilla" (battalion's)-, and eventually just on the battalion colour. To begin with, in the 18th century there were from 5 to 3 Irish regiments in Spanish service, in order of seniority: Irlanda (Ireland), Hibernia and Ultonia (Ulster) Regiments (and the less known Limerick and Watefort Regiments). And prior to the first Irish regiment (the Ireland Regiment, late 17th century), there had been Irish (and English) soldiers in the Army of Flanders, and Irish privateers based in Spain. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:54, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

The Reference to the Berwick's Regiment is a Bit Nonsensical Too[edit]

Because the distinguishing mark of the Irish Regiments in French service was the English St George's Cross, and the Irish Dillon's and Walsh's regiments bore no red saltire on their battalion colours (whereas, for instance, a non-Irish unit like the Basque Volontaires Cantabres -Cantabrian Volunteers- did). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:14, 5 September 2013 (UTC)


The 1625 quote "That this was an Englishe and not an Irishe action, and the colours contended for the fflagg of St George and not of St Patericke" does not imply that St Patrick's Flag was in 1625 a real thing. More generally "A is not B" does not imply "B exists". Language Log supplies multiple counterxamples: "this is language log not" inurl:languagelog jnestorius(talk) 09:29, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Easliest use of an "X" shaped cross in an Irish Christian context?[edit]

This quote "The earliest use of an "X" shaped cross in an Irish Christian context was in the centre of the cross on St Conall's Bell, 'Bearnán Conaill' from Inishkeel, Co. Donegal, Ireland, now in the collection of the British Museum" doesn't appear to be supported by any of the sources. Bell Shrine of St. Cuileáin states that the enamelled and niello inlaid crest of the outer case is decorated in the Ringerike style, which reflects the influence of the Vikings on contemporary fashion which appears to imply that the decoration was artistic rather than in any "Irish Christian" context. And anyway ... what's it got to do with Saint Patrick's Saltire? -- HighKing++ 18:16, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

I've removed the text as it isn't supported by a reference (and I looked and can't find one), and isn't mentioned in that context in the Bell Shrine of St. Cuileáin article. -- HighKing++ 19:39, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Maybe it was mentioned as an example of earlier use of the X symbol in Ireland? Though that proves no relation between the two. Mabuska (talk) 22:15, 12 January 2015 (UTC)


I have edited to distance Wikipedia from the WP:FRINGE claim that Florida's saltire is Saint Patrick's.

  • It contradicts the Flag of Florida article.
  • The sources are not very authoritative: an anonymous listicle and an obscure internet columnist.
  • These are bolstered by some WP:SYN and WP:OR.
  • The one or two editors responsible have no other edits.

@Floridaeditor: or @Floridaeditor1: you are welcome to respond if you have anything more convincing. jnestorius(talk) 12:48, 11 November 2016 (UTC)