Two ColorsWhen England and Ireland were one nation, the last Stuart king to reign was James II. James came to the throne in 1685 and had a son - and heir to the throne - in 1688. That's when the English went ballistic.
You see, King James was Catholic and England feared the despotic Catholic rule. This was a time of heavy-handed state religion and the people worried that James and his son would outlaw the Protestant faith (which was only about 170 years old at this point). So they asked James' Protestant nephew William to come take the throne instead.
But James and his Catholic supporters did not give up. In fact, there would be war between the Stuarts and the British monarchs for the next fifty years. But the warring came to a temporary end at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. William won the battle and kept the throne.
After that, Protestant Irish wore orange and Catholic Irish green. Until 1916, that is....
Easter RisingDuring Easter Week of 1916, the revolution began which would ultimately lead to Ireland's secession from Great Britian. A symbol of this rising was the wearing of orange and green - together.
This pretty little badge was worn by Geraldine Plunkett Dillon after her brother was executed for his role in the Easter Rebellion. Geraldine's parents and two other brothers were imprisoned at the time she bravely wore this ribbon. She tells a story of being stopped in the street:
"I got some South African medal ribbon because it was green, white, and orange and made it into a bow which I wore everywhere. A big policeman in Dame Street stopped me and said the tricolour would get me into trouble. I said, 'I have one brother shot and two brothers sentenced to death and my father and mother in jail'. He said 'You’re Plunkett, you can wear it'."
Of course, we know the end of the story - that Ireland eventually gained her independence and adopted a flag of green and orange. The white stripe in the middle symbolizes the peace between the two religious factions.
An amusing song tells of the early confusion from uniting the factions - and the colors! But the combination has since come to be an emblem of the Irish people.
Oh, it is the biggest mix-up that you have ever seen.
My father, he was orange and me mother, she was green.