The national flag of Ireland is a vertical tricolour of green (at the hoist), white, and orange. It is also known as the Irish tricolour. The flag proportion is 1:2 (length twice the width). The green represents the Gaelic tradition while the orange represents the supporters of William of Orange. The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the 'Green' and the 'Orange'.
The green pale in the flag symbolises the older majority Gaelic tradition of Ireland. Green had long been associated with Ireland as a nation, and with the revolutionary groups within it. The orange represents the minority who were supporters of William of Orange. He, of the House of Orange and originally the Stadtholder of the Netherlands, had defeated King James II and his predominantly Irish Catholic army at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. His title came from the Principality of Orange in the south of France that had been a Protestant bastion from the 1500s. It was included in the Irish flag in an attempt to reconcile the Orange Order in Ireland with the Irish independence movement. The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the two cultures and a living together in peace. The flag, as a whole, is intended to symbolise the inclusion and hoped-for union of the people of different traditions on the island of Ireland, which is expressed in the Constitution as the entitlement of every person born in Ireland to be part of the independent Irish nation, regardless of ethnic origin, religion or political conviction.
There are exceptions to the general beneficent theory. Green was also used as the colour of such Irish bodies as the mainly-Protestant and non-sectarian "Friendly Brothers of St. Patrick", established in 1751. When the tricolour was designed in 1848 the Orange Order faced suppression and was in serious decline.
It is claimed that often differing shades of yellow, instead of orange, are seen at civilian functions. However the Department of the Taoiseach state that this is a misrepresentation which "should be actively discouraged". In songs and poems, the colours are often enumerated as "green, white and gold". Using "gold" in place of "orange" may variously be interpreted as simple poetic license, a throwback to the green and gold flag of nineteenth century nationalism, an identification with the papal colours of white and gold, or a desire to downplay the symbolism of "green" Ireland being in harmony with Orangeism.