Flag-Waving and Cheers

Flags in Oldcastle
Patriotism for the Colour-Blind: Italian flag on the left, Irish flag on the right - © Bernd Biege 2016

Jeez, I’ll be glad when it is all over, at least until Euro 2016 … the absolute saturation of Ireland with flags, flags, and more flags, from St. Patrick’s Day to the 1916 centenary (celebrated on the wrong day). And everybody getting in on the patriotic, often nationalistic, game. Often without using the brain.

In one Cavan village alone I saw the flags of three nations (well, sort of) fluttering in the breeze. The Irish tricolour (green-white-orange) was augmented by the flag of County Offaly (green-white-yellow), and variety came in the form of a few Italian flags (dark green-white-red). Ah, shure, they all look the same in the twilight and after a few Guinness, don’t they? No, they don’t … like this image from a hotel in Oldcastle (County Meath) illustrates:

Flags in Oldcastle
Patriotism for the Colour-Blind: Italian flag on the left, Irish flag on the right – © Bernd Biege 2016

And then there is this tendency to hang up flags with additions, from the face of Bobby Sands to whatever. In a flag context this is called “defacing the flag”, desecrating a national symbol, next to having a good dump on it. Official Ireland takes a dim view of this, as the Department of the Taoiseach points out: “The National Flag should never be defaced by placing slogans, logos, lettering or pictures of any kind on it.” So, you super-patriots, you are actually treating your national flag with contempt!

Which might be just-about-understandable (though no less idiotic) in a political context. But words fail me when I see a neighbour hoisting the tricolour in honour of Easter 1916 … only to see that the logo of Celtic Glasgow and “The Bhoys!” have been added to the flag. Yes, right, nothing to commemorate the patriotic dead like a cheap supporters’ banner from a Scottish soccer club.

Then again, who am I to complain?

I mean, those über-nationalists of Sinn Fein tend to plaster the tricolour with slogans all the time. And if they don’t do that, some of them display an astounding ignorance. Like Councillor Patrice Hardy (or @MisssPatrice on Twitter), who managed to plaster the flag of the Ivory Coast (orange-white-green) all over her tweets. And got very annoyed when people pointed that out.

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