Irish symbols

The symbols of Ireland are famous the world over as emblems of Irish heritage.

Famous emblems of Irish heritage.


The best-known Irish symbols are a kind of visual shorthand for Ireland and Irish heritage.

Inevitably, they have been borrowed (did someone say hi-jacked?) by the marketeers and brand managers for the purpose of creating pots of gold, but that doesn't mean every ounce of Irishness has been squeezed out of them in the process.

Far from it.

Irish people generally remain rather fond of their shamrocks and leprechauns et al, and proud that they have spread across the world as symbols of Ireland's culture and history.

Behind each of these emblems is a rich tradition. Each one fits into Ireland's colourful tapestry in some way, typically through the blending of myth, reality and great stores of imagination!


Find out more about these well-known Irish symbols:

  • The flag of Ireland, perhaps the single most important emblem of the Republic
  • The shamrock, probably the most recognised of the symbols of Ireland and perhaps the most loved. The little three-leafed plant has connections to St Patrick and Catholicism, and is a reminder of the country's green carpet
  • Hot and dark, with a creamy white head. It can only be Irish coffee
  • The Irish Celtic Cross. A mixture of pagan worship and Christianity comes together in this design
  • Celtic High Crosses are the giant of the Irish countryside, and impressive remnants of antiquity
  • The Irish harp: on Irish passports, coins and flags (not to mention the logo of  a certain famous brand of stout), the wire-stringed harp is the oldest official emblem of Ireland
keyring with cross-stitched shamrock within.


Visuals of Irish symbols are a transportable way of displaying or alluding to Irish heritage.

And these days there's plenty of choice in how you can choose to present your Irish roots. From the ubiquitous key-ring containing an evergreen shamrock to a full-blown Celtic Cross tattoo, it seems these emblems of Ireland can adorn just about any place, or any thing, you choose.





St Patrick's Day

Throughout the world, more Irish symbols are on display on 17 March than any other date in the calendar.

Discover the history of St Patrick.

St Patrick's Day

Throughout the world, more Irish symbols are on display on 17 March than any other date in the calendar.

Discover the history of St Patrick.

Where next?

  • Take a look at how Irish crafts also reflect Ireland's great heritage.