Wednesday 18 October 2017

Stamp of approval for 'father of the tricolour'

New stamp honours Thomas Francis Meagher
New stamp honours Thomas Francis Meagher
Claire Murphy

Claire Murphy

The 'father of the Irish tricolour', revolutionary and soldier, Thomas Francis Meagher, has been honoured in a new stamp released by An Post.

The stamp is based on a portrait of Meagher with the colours of the tricolour in the background.

Meagher was born in Waterford and his family lived in what is now the Granville Hotel. He travelled to France to study revolutionary events in 1847 and returned a year later with the new flag of Ireland - a tricolour of green, white and orange, inspired by the French flag. It was flown for the first time from the Wolf Tone Confederate Club at 33 The Mall.

Later that year Meagher led the Young Irelanders in their failed uprising. He described the symbolism of the flag: "The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the 'orange' and the 'green' and I trust beneath its folds, the hands of the Irish Protestant and the Irish Catholic may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood."

Convicted for his role in the uprising, Meagher was sentenced to death, but this was commuted to transportation for life to Van Diemen's Land, now Tasmania. In 1852 he escaped and settled in New York where he studied law and worked as a journalist.

At the start of the American Civil War he joined the Union Army, rising to brigadier general, before becoming governor of Montana. He died in a drowning tragedy in 1867.

The stamp is available from main post offices, from the stamp counters at Dublin's GPO or online via

Irish Independent

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