24 Sep 2012

Derry/Londonderry (United Kingdom)

My friend Samuel McKittrick designed a flag to its own city, Londonderry (as unionist usually name it) or Derry (as nationalist usually prefer), the second biggest Northen Irish city (see the post here). It's going to be the first UK City of Culture, in 2013, so it's a good time to build a flag. Just above you can see two flags: the first is the unofficial city council's flag and the second is my favorite Sammy's proposal.

Let's explain them: the first flag depicts the coat of arms, also symbolized in second flag. It depicts a skeleton (or the Death) on a stone with a castle in left. The real origin of the meaning is unknown, but it's popularly said to represent the castle of the 2nd Earl of Ulster, Richard De Burgh (1259-1326), being the skeleton from one of his knights and cousin, starved to death on castle's dungeons. In the chief (top of shield) there's London coat of arms (sometimes with a harp on center), added when city changed its name from Derry to Londonderry.

The field of both flags is a crimson, representing the crimson flag, firstly flown during the Siege of Derry (1689) as symbol of defiance. Sammy's flag contains badge with a oak leaf and a stronghold, taken from a memorial in Guildhall square. The oak represents city's origins and name (Doire means "oak grove" in Irish). The bastion is a reference to the city's insurmountable walled city (hence city's nickname "maiden city").

Based in this flags, I made my own proposal to Derry's/Londonderry's flag:

In the first flag, the coat of arms. I didn't use the London banner of arms to avoid somebody concluding that city has any formal relationship with the English city. The field is crimson, the same shade of flags above. I use the same oak leaves from Doire team in GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association). I'm not still 100% satisfied with the flag, but still think it's reasonable. I tried a half-half version of flag, instead of a "cantoned" one, but that didn't work, for me.

Thanks for reading! Any kind of comment is welcome.
I recommend the visit to Sammy's post about Derry/Londonderry flag: click here.


  1. I am not too keen on removing the chief of the arms; it is recognised as the arms of Derry/Londonderry by everyone regardless of their political opinion. I like the oak leafs from the GAA which is mostly a nationalist thing along with the crimson iconic of the siege which in turn is seen a major part in unionist history. Thus equal representation, however I would alter the leafs slightly so it is not an exact copy if nothing else for legal reasons. A very good job.

    1. Thank you! Actually, I removed the canton because flags appear in cantons of other flags in some specific contexts, and it's not the case.

      My opinion about these issues... You'll never know, at least not in a public place. But I'll try to design my own oak leaves, using a cheap drawing tablet I recently bought.

    2. lol well I was thinking of simply adding an extra oak leaf nothing too complicated


Every comment is greatly welcome!