The flag of Belfast is a heraldic banner that is based on the shield of the coat of arms of the city. The arms were granted in 1890, two years after Belfast was awarded city status by Queen Victoria. Although the banner was adopted in 1890, it has seldom been used. "The precise origins and meanings of the symbols contained on the Coat of Arms are unknown. But images such as the bell, the seahorse, the ship and the chained wolf were all used by 17th-century Belfast merchants on their signs and coinage. The seahorse, which is used twice, shows the maritime importance of Belfast, as does the ship at the base of the shield".
It features a silver bell in a red canton, a triangle of Vair(type of heraldic pattern) and a ship on waves with a Saint Patrick's Saltire as a naval ensign and masthead.