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What color orange is in the Irish flag?


The Irish flag, also known as the Irish tricolor, features three vertical stripes – green, white, and orange. The orange stripe has sparked some debate over the years regarding its exact shade and coloring. So what color orange is used in the Irish flag? Let’s take a closer look.

Brief History of the Irish Flag

The Irish tricolor flag was designed in 1848 by Thomas Francis Meagher. The green stripe on the hoist side represents Irish republicanism and the Catholic majority population. The orange stripe represents Protestant unionists in Northern Ireland who wish to maintain political ties to Great Britain. The white stripe in the middle represents peace and hope for unity between these groups.

When the flag was first flown in 1848, the orange was described as “golden yellow.” Over time the shade of orange has varied depending on the type of fabric used. Today the most commonly accepted shade is a vivid orange known as Pantone 021C.

Pantone 021C

Pantone 021C has become the standard orange used for flags, bunting, and other official displays of the Irish tricolor. Pantone is a standardized color matching system used in printing and design. The Pantone number refers to a specific pigment formulation that ensures consistent color reproduction across different mediums.

Pantone 021C is considered a vivid reddish-orange. It sits between the pure orange Pantone 021 and the brighter red-orange Pantone 172C on the Pantone Matching System (PMS) color chart. When displayed digitally, the RGB approximation for Pantone 021C is R: 237, G: 120, B: 22.

Here is a table of the key details for Pantone 021C:

Color Name Pantone Number RGB Approximation
Vivid Orange 021C R: 237, G: 120, B: 22

This shade of reddish-orange provides both vibrancy and depth to the Irish flag. It contrasts nicely with the darker green hue while standing out against the white center stripe.

Other Variations of Irish Flag Orange

While Pantone 021C is the standard, there have been some variations in the exact hue and saturation of orange used in Irish flags over the years.

Earlier versions were often a more golden yellow shade. In the late 19th century, the Irish nationalist Thomas Meagher described it as “a golden sunburst, on a field of emerald green.”

Today, shades close to Pantone 137C, a more yellow-toned orange, are sometimes seen. The orange can also vary slightly depending on the type and quality of fabric used. Lighter cotton or polyester flags may be closer to Pantone 021, while darker wools lean closer to Pantone 172C.

Here is a table comparing some shades of Irish flag orange:

Color Name Pantone Number Description
Vivid Orange 021C Standard Irish flag orange
Solid Coated Orange 137C More golden yellow-orange
Vivid Red Orange 172C Brighter, more reddish


The specific orange Pantone 021C carries some meaningful symbolism for the Irish flag.

Firstly, it provides a vivid complementary color to balance out the dark Kelly green which makes up 1/3 of the design. This creates a flag with bold, striking visual impact.

The unique reddish tone also gives the orange a distinctive look compared to other European tricolors that use a reddish stripe. This sets Ireland’s national flag apart.

Finally, the richness of the color is symbolic of the warmth, vitality, and optimism of the Irish people. It represents the luck and prosperity they wish to have in a future united Ireland.


After some early variation, Pantone 021C has become the definitive shade of orange used in modern reproductions of the Irish tricolor flag. Its vivid reddish-orange hue provides visual power and symbolic meaning to Ireland’s national banner. This specific tone of orange has come to proudly represent Irish culture and heritage.


– The Irish flag features three stripes – green, white, and orange. The orange stripe has prompted some debate over its exact coloring.

– The flag was created in 1848 with the orange initially described as “golden yellow.” Over time Pantone 021C emerged as the standard shade.

– Pantone 021C is a vivid reddish-orange that sits between Pantone 021 and 172C on the PMS chart.

– Other variations like more golden yellow or brighter red-orange hues are sometimes seen on flags. But 021C is considered the official Irish flag orange today.

– This distinct reddish-orange shade provides visual power and symbolic meaning to the Irish tricolor design.