Union flag’s fourth century…

THE Union flag – or Union jack, if flown at sea – is 400 years old this week. The BBC takes a quick look at its history, and how it could have looked very different to the familar design of today.

  • Brian Boru

    A symbol of the domination by England of subject countries. It may in time become a symbol of a federal arrangement instead, but I look forward to the day when that red saltire representing Ireland is removed.

  • Hurrah for BB’s refreshing rejection of inclusivity – reject! exclude! Ireland for the Irish! blah, blah, and I am afraid, more blah.

    Flags 2 and 3 (reading left to right) are the prettiest – and this shurely is what counts most?

  • “Hurrah for BB’s refreshing rejection of inclusivity – reject! exclude! Ireland for the Irish! blah, blah, and I am afraid, more blah.”

    Not so much ‘inslusivity’ as imprisonment.

    I don’t think it’s a nice-looking flag to be quite honest. I do like the Scottish one though.

  • Jack

    The union jack .. more like the butchers apron.. covered in blood.

  • fair_deal

    During “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, an Irish Tri-Color is thrown on stage. “This flag,” Bono asks while holding up the green part, “What do you see?” “Green,” the crowd roar back. “Green, yeah, it’s green,” Bono says and then holds up the orange part, “What colour do you see?” “Orange!” the crowd reply. “Now what colour do you see?” Bono asks while holding up the white part. “White!” the crowd shout and cheer. “No!” Bono shouts, “It’s not WHITE! Sometimes, all I see is red…,”

  • Jack

    Ummmm.. Bono.. Nuff said

  • Harry Flashman

    The Union Flag (despite the best efforts of the BBC to deny its proper name) is one of the most instantly recognisable emblems on the planet. Probably next only to Old Glory (the stars and stripes) and Coca-Cola, not a bad achievement for a flag that has no official standing in law, whose name is not actually known outside the realms of a few pernicketty die hards and which is often unwittingly flown upside down.

    I can understand how some Irish nationalists don’t feel comfortable with it but I think some are stretching it a bit to say it’s not particularly attractive, it is in fact a very alluring design.

    I loved the self loathers at the BBC website who wanted it ditched in favour of something “modern”. Jesus wept, I thought “Cool Britannia” had finally been killed off with Tony Blair’s demise. I mean let’s just get rid of everything eh, all that oul’ shite, you know Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, habeus corpus, Common Law, it’s like so, ye know, so old man, let’s have a nice rainbow flag with a nice new constitution along the lines of well, Cuba or North Korea or France or whatever man, that old stuff is soooo boorriinnggg.

    Currently I am visiting Jakarta, Indonesia and there is some sort of conference of south Pacific nations in town, the flags of the respective countries are lining the streets. Well I never, you’d hardly credit how many of them have Union flags in their top right hand corner and I’m not just talking about Oz and NZ either, there’s a whole heap of them and they seem very happy to keep it right where it is.

    I tell you if there were as many international flags that had the French tricoleur incorporated in them the French would make it a treasonable offence to even discuss changing their flag. Typical understated Britain just shrugs its shoulders and its tax payer funded national broadcaster can’t even get the name of the bloody flag right!

  • Harry Flashman

    Oh one other thing, it might come as a shock to loyalists but there is no such thing as a “Northern Ireland” flag either.

    The flag that has a red hand on a six pointed star with a crown on a red and white St George’s cross is not the official flag of Northern Ireland, no such flag exists. This flag is merely a heraldic device symbolising the Stormont government and parliament not the province of Northern Ireland as a whole.

    Hence when Stormont was prorogued in 1972 this flag officially fell out of use, there never has been a “national” flag of Northern Ireland.

  • I found this comment in the BBC most interesting:

    In 1801 a red diagonal cross was added to represent union with Ireland and after a bit of design adjustment by the Navy it gradually, says Mr Farrow, came to be used as a land flag.

    “By the 1800s, Britain was building an Empire and so it needed a flag to plant to say ‘this country’s ours, it belongs to the UK’.”

    I grew up in the suburbs of Albany, NY, the area that more than any saw the “French & Indian War” play out. And, all over this part of NY you’ll see the Union Jack (or Union flag) minus the cross of St. Patrick. I remember hearing the man who’s in charge of the museum of Fort William Henry explain that this was the flag that flew over the Fort before the Revolution. I wonder if Mr. Farrow is wrong and that the flag was flown over land in N. America long before it was flown in Britain? The Fleur de Lis was also flown over that same fort (and Fort Ticonderoga) around that time. Maybe the competition between England and France in N. America created the land-based flag flying tradition?

  • fair_deal

    harry

    “not the official flag of Northern Ireland, no such flag exists”

    Not quite accurate. It was a flag with official status. The Stormont government had the coat of arms design put onto a flag for the Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.

  • Regardless, his comment that Britain was building an Empire by the 1800s ignores the fact that a big chunk of the empire had already been built and lost before 1800.

  • Harry Flashman

    Fair Deal

    Ah right, I see, that would explain the change of crown from the original design to the QE II crown then, whoops, should’ve known better than to engage in vexillogical discussions if I haven’t done me homework first, eh?

  • Realist

    “The union jack .. more like the butchers apron.. covered in blood.”

    Still beautiful tho Jack, isn’t it?

    People like me, with whom you presumably wish to unite, will always have a special place in our hearts for the flag of the Union.

    We will always fly it with great pride.

  • páid

    the union flag “minus” St. Patrick’s saltire (old flag of the geraldines methinks) was in use during american WOI as the union was at that time england and scotland (wales long conquered). After 1801 (irish act of union) the 3 flags in one union flag was flown. Now this union flag symbolises the happy unity of the people of these islands. OR the tricolour symbolises the happy union of green and orange on this island. OR maybe not in both cases. Psychologists are well aware of the extreme importance of symbolism in society. People die every day for flags. Both sides in the NI troubles can recount booby trapped flags that killed people. Methinks we should all treat flags warily, in every sense.

  • Jack

    Realist: The truth is that the sun should never set on the union jack in that it should be raised and lowered at sunrise and sunset.

    Not so for Ulster own Unionists who fly it 365 just to get up their Nationalist neighbours. This is why you have never united with people like me in the past and as a consequence you have lost so much in the process.

  • fair_deal

    jack

    “Not so for Ulster own Unionists who fly it 365 just to get up their Nationalist neighbours.”

    How did you reach this conclusion or is that an assumption of the motivation on your part?

  • carlos blancos

    i heard somewhere that the first time it was flown was in dublin castle, 1st jan, 1801, when the act of union came in. anybody else hear this?

  • Keith Mills

    As a bit of an amateur vexicologist I must add my tuppenceworth here. I think that the union flag (the “union jack” should only be used at sea) is one of the greatest flag designs anywhere in the world.

    It is istantly recognisable and a true design classic. I couldn’t believe when it wasn’t in the BBC’s recent design awards. I suppose it’s because it it gets taken for granted. The one thing I will add is that it is far too often shown with the wrong aspect ratio (6:4 rather than the correct 2:1).

  • Realist

    Jack,

    “Not so for Ulster own Unionists who fly it 365 just to get up their Nationalist neighbours.”

    Certainly wouldn’t be my motivation. I don’t own one.

    Beautiful design and colouring tho.

    The Red, White and Blue compliment eachother so well in my view.

    A beauty to behold.

  • “The Red, White and Blue compliment eachother so well in my view.”

    Agree with that… love the French flag, and the French anthem has to be the most stirring anthem in the world…

    Vive la différence!

  • smcgiff

    ‘the so-called St Patrick’s cross.’

    So called, eh? Another reason to love the Beeb.

  • Some tricolours are chromatically stronger than others eg I always think that the Dutch and the French flags have sharper images than eg Italy’s or the Free State’s. I dunno though about the Union Flag – it’s certainly fussier than designs 2 & 3 [on the BBC site], but what you can’t beat it for is shear cleverness as far as designs go. Mind you, my favourite flag has to be the pre-revolutionary Royal ensign the French used, and that’s monumentally involved, in terms of graphic.

    I feel bad to have posted without insulting a liberal.

  • pedantly yours smcgiff

    Should this thread not be called Union Flag’s 5th century?

  • Mustapha Mond

    Each to their own Mr Buckfast.
    La Marseillaise wears a bit thin after a while, and is lyrically poor, The old soviet anthem is still the one of my favourites, both lyrically and as a musical piece.

  • missfitz

    To answer PID, the St Patrick saltire was indeed the Fitzgerald emblem, and indeed still is. I have one hanging at my door!

    I dont know if this will help, but I feel like sharing it. The very first time I went on an identity exploration course, I was asked to describe my emotion at seeing the Union Flag. I had to be honest and say I felt fear and anger when I saw it.

    Now many years later, I feel a lot more informed about the flag, the identity contained within and more accepting that what happened a long time ago is called HISTORY, and we should learn it and understand it, but leave it where it belongs, in the past.

    Just look at the thing dispassionately, and try to understand if it means nothing positive to you, it actually does to someone else and respect that.

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C
    Hi all,

    I’ve been on this campaign for several years….to get the Cross of St. Patrick OUT of the union jack. I’ve told Sinn Fein to work to get rid of the cross of St. Patrick in the flag…they won’t. I’ve said it on this board…Danny Morrison’s board…and I’ve been called various names and riducled. I”ve also told people alllllll around the world that this flag should be changed. It is a possiblity that the Cross of St. Patrick and the claim that union jack has on Ireland…will some day be gone. It’s out there and people are talking about it…..
    We are one day closer to seeing the union jack stripped of the Irish cross of St. Patrick.

  • Ranier Wolfcastle II

    Kathy – we are closer to seeing the orange removed from the Republic of Ireland Tricolour after recent events in Dublin.

  • fair_deal

    kathy C

    “get the Cross of St. Patrick OUT of the union jack”

    I agree. Remove the St Patrick’s cross and replace it with a nice red hand with a six pointed star smack in the middle. It would look just great 🙂

  • Keith M

    “Remove the St Patrick’s cross and replace it with a nice red hand with a six pointed star smack in the middle. It would look just great 🙂 ”

    We haven’t given up on re-unification just yet.

  • william

    Time for the Uk to change the Flag.
    The Uk is not a Christian country anymore so all of the crosses should go.
    Wales may have a case under the human rights legislation for being excluded, so maybe a dragon could be added to any new flag.
    Ireland has long since left the Union so the St. Patrick bit should go completely – the north does not need to be represented as its only a recent and temporary member of the club and is leaving soon anyway.

  • Dave

    Thought this may a little.

    I would pay particular attention to the official flag of Northen Ireland. as for me I prefer the Ulster province flag, maybe thats the reason why it’s a tattoo on my arm right beside the st Andrew flag.

    Title: St. George’s Cross

    Description: The Cross of St. George, the Patron Saint of England, is the national English flag. This flag has been used to form the basis of a number of flags representing Northern Ireland (see below).

    Title: St. Andrew’s Cross
    Description: The national flag of Scotland was merged with the national flag of England in 1606 by King James I. It has grown very popular in Scotland given the increasing desire for devolution or independence. The flag is also found on Loyalist Murals suggesting the affinity between Ulster Protestants and Scots.

    Title: St. Patrick’s Cross
    Description: Even on St. Patrick’s day, this flag is not widely flown by Irish people who, for the most part, do not recognise it as their own. It is seen as a British symbol, and is used by regiments of the British Army. [Additional note: The flag was first designed by British authorities in Dublin Castle in the 17th century as a counterpart to St. George’s Cross.]

    Title: British Union Flag
    Description: This flag is commonly called the ‘Union Jack’ and is made up of the above three flags: St. George’s Cross, St. Andrew’s Cross, and St. Patrick’s Cross. The design was meant to reflect the 1801 Act of Union between Britain and Ireland (the Welsh flag was not incorporated into the British Union Flag). The British Union Flag is the official flag of Northern Ireland and is an integral part of the Protestant, Unionist, and Loyalist tradition.

  • Keith M

    William, there’s so many errors it’s hard to know where to start. The Unionion Flag is actually a royal flag, which doubles as a national flag, rather than being a national flag. THis is quite unusual but not unique. Therefore as along as the Royal Family are Christians then there is no case for removing the crosses. The flag with the crosses has of course always been in secular use and few see them as Cheristian symbols anymore.

    Wales is represented by St. Geroge’s Cross because England and Wales were already one Kingdom back in 1606.

    As long as any part of Ireland is part of the U.K. then St. Patrick’s saltire should be included on the flag. It could be argued that the saltire is more appropriate on the Union Flag that the orange sectoe is on the floag of the Republic.

  • Keith M

    Dave: Your post on St. Patrick’s Saltire : “[Additional note: The flag was first designed by British authorities in Dublin Castle in the 17th century as a counterpart to St. George’s Cross.]

    Incorrect, the flag was used long before the 17th Century. It’s believed that the basis for the design was from the emblem of the Norman Fitzergerald family (one of those that became “more Irish han the Irish themselves”). There are even reports of the flag being used on shields back in the crusades.

    It is true that the flag was flown from Dublin Castle prior to the Act of Union, and this may have been the first usage as a national flag for Ireland but it certainly wasn’t the first use of the flag.

  • fair_deal

    Keith M

    “We haven’t given up on re-unification just yet.”

    I’m sorry but I don’t know what the constitutional procedure for the re-absorption of the 26 counties back into the Union.

  • slother

    Kathy_C

    i have been campaigning for several years for the removal of the orange third for the irish tricolour
    I’ve also told people alllllll around the world that this flag should be changed. It is a possiblity that the Orange third and the claim that Irish tricolour has orangism…will some day be gone. It’s out there and people are talking about it…..

    on a slightly more serious note the St Patricks Saltire should be made the offical flag of NI.

    the NI ‘Ulster Flag’ is tainted with loyalism and is frankly an embrassment.

  • Interesting

    Kathy C, why should St Patricks cross be removed, St Patrick was born in Wales in the United Kingdom, so the UK has a right to put the st patricks cross on the union jack. Have you nothing better to be campaining about?, i really am getting worried about you.

  • flagman

    On the subject of flags, if a united ireland were ever to come about, the absolute minimum i would be prepared to accept is a union jack 1/5th size of the flag, to be placed in the centre of the tricolour, to represent the 20% british population of the island. Similar to other countries, eg Australia. I would be interested to hear genuine nationalist views on this idea ?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Does anyone know why the Ulster Scots mural in Harryville (that replaced the UDA one beside the Catholic church) has the Irish provincial Ulster flag on it, as opposed to the ‘Northern Ireland’ flag you might expect?

    Genuinely curious.

  • Ciaran Irvine

    Keith Mills: as usual, yer completely wrong. The earliest national flag for Ireland was the harp-on-blue. This is still used as the official Presidential flag and emblem. Around the 18th century, for reasons unknown, it switched to the harp-on-green. While the flag we now call “St Patricks Cross” was indeed part of the coat of arms of the FitzGeralds, it was never used as any sort of national flag. Though there are reports that it was used as a battle flag by units of the Kilkenny Confederacy. It surfaced in 1783 when it was used as the emblem for a British aristocratic organisation, the Order of St Patrick (an Irish counterpart to the Order of the Garter, apparently), and was then summarily decreed by the British to be the “flag of Ireland” for the Act Of Union.

    Nobody in Ireland at the time was very impressed.

    In short, since the British invented it and it has nothing to do with Ireland really, I am indifferent as to whether it remains in the Butcher’s Apron after Unification.

  • Ciaran Irivne

    flagman: No chance. No way.

    I’m open to the idea of a new flag, though it seems a particularly silly demand of Unionism to reject the tricolour which after all explicitly incorporates them with the orange, just because they insist on pretending it is “an IRA flag”.

    But anyway. If youse are going to insist on it being changed, I’m willing to listen to ideas. But pretty much every single nationalist alive will utterly reject incorporating the union flag into a new flag of Ireland. It’s seen as a symbol of Imperialism, colonialism, war, conquest and slaughter. Much as some Unionists see the tricolour as a symbol of IRA violence, I suppose. If one goes, they both go.

  • missfitz

    flagman
    I assume you put that idea out to see how much ire you could raise! It’s an idea that wont work, and frankly is silly.

    A flag is an emblem of a nation state’s identity, the identity derived from shared history and myth, and represents what thestate feels about itself and wants to present to the outer world.

    Ireland’s flag is still representative of the main traditions on the island, even given the increasing interculturalism on the island.

    I see no place for a union flag on the tricolour. However, I could see the tricolour with an Ulster Flag in the middle. Not the provincial on yellow backgground, but on white to represent the 6 counties. That would be emblematic of the people of the 6 counties who while represented in on eway by the Orange, need a more obvious place in the national memory

  • Jim

    What would our 32 County Flag look like. Would in incorporate the Union Jack for the Unionists?

  • Ciaran Irivne

    Just throwing out random suggestions here:

    Revert to the old harp-on-green or harp-on-blue.

    Something with a harp and a crown perhaps? Though they’d have to be side-by-side, I remember people getting disgruntled over the crown being on top on the old RUC emblem 🙂

    Something like the South African flag perhaps – take the actual meaning of the symbolism of the tricolour in a snazzy new configuration/design.

    Something minimalist maybe. A white field with an abstract symbol in the middle. The “annnoy everybody” option 🙂 Olive branches like on the UN flag or something.

    No Union Jack. As I said above, if one goes they both go. Tis only fair.

  • Keith M

    “What would our 32 County Flag look like. Would in incorporate the Union Jack for the Unionists?”

    When and if we were to re-join the U.K., there would be no need to adopt a new flag.

    Ciaran “While the flag we now call “St Patricks Cross” was indeed part of the coat of arms of the FitzGeralds, it was never used as any sort of national flag.

    Actually it was, because it flew from both Dublin Castle and briefly over the Irish (Grattan) Parliament (now the BoI in College Green).

    Let’s not forget that the current Irish flag is basically a re-hash of the French repiblican flag, so it’s no more “Irish” than St. Patrick’s Saltire.

    Personally I prefer the Presidential flag and I would prefer that as our national flag.

  • From the repartition thread talking about a Flag for Ireland (regardless of reunification) for such things as Rugby and the Olympics…

    ===============================================
    The new island flag could be as you suggest. Key thing is it should be partly reflective of the unionist aspect of unionism. So maybe I would stick in a St P cross in there too since that reflects St Patrick, who came over from Great Britain.

    Posted by slug on Apr 06, 2006 @ 05:50 PM
    ==============================================
    Slug…

    How about…

    Green field, St. Patricks Cross with Harp in the middle?

    Green being the colour for Ireland (not just nationalism, as the NI football shirts will testify). Even the Queen uses a Harp on the royal standard as a representation for Ireland/NI. And the red saltaire being the traditional British flag/component of the Union flag for Ireland.

    Posted by PopeBuckfastXVI on Apr 06, 2006 @ 06:02 PM
    ================================================
    Popebuckfast – perfect!

    Posted by slug on Apr 06, 2006 @ 06:07 PM
    ================================================
    I tried doing it out in Paint… the Red on Green looked a bit clashy (shhh… don’t tell anyone from Mayo!) So I put in a larger white saltaire behind the red one, much like the Union flag is at the moment (although without the red saltaire pinwheeled) and drew a Gold Harp over the middle, of course my drawing skills leave a LOT to be desired, but I think it looks pretty cool… something that we could all get behind at e.g. the olympics or rugby.

    It should be an easy sell to Republicans… a Harp (National symbol) and what’s basically the Fitzgerald Crest (e.g. Silken Thomas). For Unionists it’s got the Royal symbol for Ireland the Harp, The current “Irish” component of the Union flag the St. Patricks Cross and Green should be there for both i.e. football teams.

    OK slug, how do we go about promoting this to the Governments and more to the point how do we go about getting funding!!!?? ;o)

    Posted by PopeBuckfastXVI on Apr 06, 2006 @ 06:40 PM
    ==================================================
    Actually, PopebuckfastXVI I was going to say that red on green wouldn’t work, and suggest a wite part. I would further like the green to be relatively light green so as to maximize the contrast with the red. As for how to communicate the idea to the two Governments, I have no idea. It is possibly something that should go bottom-up rather than top-down so maybe approach Irish Rugby, Cricket, and GAA to see if their fans would like to use it.

    Posted by slug on Apr 06, 2006 @ 06:50 PM
    ================================================

    Any thoughts on this folks?

  • Ciaran Irvine

    Sounds a bit minging to be honest. Red and green usually don’t mix. Do ye happen to still have the result of your wee Paint experiment? Email it to me and I can put it online for everyone here to look at?

  • Ciaran,

    The one I did in paint is crap, cause I’m not a graphic artist, you’d probably be as well to do one yourself! I know what your saying about red & green, but it looks ok with the white seperating them

    Flagman,

    To follow your logic, shouldn’t the official flag of NI be a Union Flag with a Tricolour in the middle 40% the size of the union flag, to represent the 40% “Irish” population of NI?

  • Ciaran,

    You have eMail

  • Ciaran Irvine

    Well, I’m no graphic designer either, but I did cobble this together…

    http://www.reevra.com/img/newflag.gif

  • Ciaran Irvine

    And well, it’s not as ugly as I’d feared 🙂

  • smcgiff

    Not bad, Ciaran! Not bad at all!

  • There was a discussion similar to this elsewhere last year, and Frank McGahon of Internet Commentator came up with this

  • smcgiff

    ‘i would be prepared to accept is a union jack 1/5th size of the flag, to be placed in the centre of the tricolour, to represent the 20% british population of the island.’

    Well, as we’re literally flying ideas up the flagpole loike!

    If you take the view that the orange in the Irish tri-colour is meant to represent the unionists then that gives greater scope, especially as it isn’t enough for said unionists. How about removing the orange and… gulp… including the union flag. So, it’d be Green White and Union flag… Anyone good at photoshop?

    Now, whether the union flag part was the version prior to the inclusion of St Patrick’s saltier is debatable and would probably depend on what Britain would have as their flag if such a scenario was ever to come about.

  • Yeah… well done Ciaran, that’s much better than mine… I’d still like to see the saltaires completely behind the harp, but I think it’s a very good approximation… What do any Unionists on here think?

  • Of course these days we should probably replace the Harp with a € or maybe a JCB shovel or a microchip or something!!

  • Lorcan

    PopeBuckfastXVI:
    Your holiness, where can we see this flag?

    Cairan Irvine:
    Nice for a start, I’d feel there is still too much green though, perhaps thicker crosses. But a good start.

  • Lorcan,

    Ciarans flag is the one I am talking about

  • Regarding Ciaran’s effort for the flag, if he replaced the colour red with orange he might be on to something!

  • UI,

    I disagree, St. Patricks cross, lifted straight from the Union flag is more representitive of the British element of Unionism, than the possibly more narrow Orange strand of Unionism.

  • George

    Fair_Deal,
    “I’m sorry but I don’t know what the constitutional procedure for the re-absorption of the 26 counties back into the Union.”

    Pretty much the same procedures as taking Northern Ireland into the Republic, majority vote in both houses of the Oireachtas followed by a successful referendum put to the people to abolish the Constitution. Britain to pass relevant legislation in Westminster.

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all, I wonder how the Dup and loyalist will feel when the Cross of St. Patrick is removed from the union jack?
    As for the comments about taking the orange out of the Irish Republic flag…great idea. I think a white flag with a green shamrock would be far more appropriate…
    But that takes us off track of removing the claim to Ireland in the british royal flag.

  • Robert Keogh

    Instead of trying to forge some god-awful-ugly compromise from the rather limited set of flag elements howabout an iconic image of Ireland like Newgrange in gold on the Presidential blue?

  • Mustapha M.

    “The old soviet anthem is still the one of my favourites, both lyrically and as a musical piece.”

    you are totally correct

    listen to it here :

    http://www.sippala.com/fra/lyrics/political/sovnateng.html

    the Russian language one, is the one to hear.
    Made my day, when recently i heard someone whistling it in Bloomfield shopping centre.

    mind that bit in “Casablanca” with the
    “La Marseillaise” always brings a tear to the eye of the emotional Nationalistic side of me. Its a bit like the wee Hitler Youth kid singing Tomorrow Belongs to me” in the film version of “Cabaret”

  • PHIL

    Kathy C

    “I’ve been on this campaign for several years….to get the Cross of St. Patrick OUT of the union jack”.

    Yes, and I’ve been campaigning for years to have the cross of St. Patrick AND the cross of St. Andrew removed.

  • Droch_Bhuachaill

    A chairde,

    I agree that the flag is instantly recognisable- i just came home from Fiji and they proudly have it in their flag (they also have a near-sexual fascination with the queen, but thats another story).

    Not trying to insult anyone who has a love for the flag, but to me the union flag instills a kind of fear and unease. to me, it symbolises oppression and subjegation, not just here on this island, but in many corners of this wide earthly world.

    a quick question; all through that thread on the beeb, it seem to me that the people in Britain seem to think that the whole island of Ireland is still in the UK. Is that ignorance what is it?

    p.s excuse the spelling. Too much Spanish Rosé, Australian rum and West Kerry porter last night.