Thomas F Meager Foundation

What we do?

The Thomas Francis Meagher Foundation was established in 2013 to promote pride in, and respect for, the Irish Flag and the understanding of its symbolism and meaning for peace, in particular among young people irrespective of ethnicity, creed or gender. It is important that all the young people of Ireland including those who constitute the ‘New Irish’ are made aware of the flag’s message, and are fully included in the process of making it a reality by making a significant and meaningful contribution as active citizens.

To promote active citizenship, the Foundation encourages all schools to hold a Flag Day, on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day every year. The Foundation supply participating schools, flag lapel pins, free of charge, along with a fundraising pack to sell for charities or projects of their choosing.

To ensure the message of the Flag’s meaning for peace and the Foundation’s aim of active citizenship working with the Irish Independent and the History Teachers Association a 24 page supplement is produced each year containing lesson plans to be used by schools.  

The Foundation is delighted to have worked in partnership with the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in organising the second largest event in the 1916 centenary celebrations by presenting, at an event in Croke Park, every second level school in the state with an Irish Flag which was flown from 33 The Mall in Waterford, the building from which Meagher flew a tricolour flag for the first time.

The Foundation also worked with the Department of the Taoiseach in updating the protocol guidelines for the display and handling of the national flag. 

In 2018, the Foundation in partnership with Shannon Heritage and the GPO Witness History Centre, installed the first ever permanent exhibition on the Irish Flag.

To continue developing its aims, the Foundation has linked up with Gaisce as a challenge partner to work with its extensive network of second level teachers and students throughout Ireland. 



About Us

Learn more about the Thomas F. Meagher Foundation, our aims and objectives.


Flag Day

Information about Flag Day.



Learn more about our awards and scholorships programmes.



Thomas F. Meagher

The Foundation is named after Thomas Francis Meagher, Irish Patriot, US army general and Governor of Montana who flew the first Tricolour flag on the 7th of March 1848 from 33 The Mall in Waterford at the Wolf Tone Club.

In his relatively short life – he died aged just 43 – much of which was spent outside of Ireland, Thomas Francis Meagher made a significant contribution to both Irish nationalism and to the preservation of the United States and particularly to the assimilation of the Irish into American society.


About Thomas F. Meagher



Our Partners

Flag Day 2019 - 15th March

The Foundation are encouraging all registered second level schools to sell the flag lapin pins to raise money for a project or charity of their choosing, we are encouraging the young people of Ireland Irrespective of ethnicity, creed or gender to work together under the Irish Tricolour and live its message of peace and unity.

Spreagfaidh Lá na Brathaí, a bheidh á chomóradh i 2019 ar 15 Márta, daoine óga na hÉireann chun dul i mbun oibre le chéile faoi Bhratach Thrídhathach na hÉireann ag fógairt agus ag comhlíonadh a teagaisc i leith na síochána agus beag beann ar chíníocha, ar chreideamh nó ar inscne.

Flag Day 2019 Badge

Flag Day 2019 Badge


The 2015 Schools' Irish Flag Presentation


The Thomas F Meagher Foundation Awards & Scholarship Programme, officially launched by Michael D. Higgins

On March 12th, 2015, the Thomas F. Meagher Foundation held the first School’s Presentation event, which took place in Waterford at the Kingfisher Club, with a speech by our special Guest of Honour, President Michael D. Higgins.

As well as revealing details of this exciting new initiative, pupils from more than 300 schools learned a little more about how to take part in Flag Week 2016.  President Higgins also dedicated the fabulous new Thomas F. Meagher Bridge spanning the River Suir.  Speaking at the Foundation's event in Waterford, President Higgins said: "At a time when we are witnessing an upsurge of extreme and exclusive forms of nationalism throughout Europe, based on the rejection of the other, it is important that we, Irish, reaffirm strongly that the Irish Tricolour is an emblem of peace and brotherhood between the various communities who live on the island of Ireland, as well as a reminder of the bonds of friendship that tie us to other nations across the world.”

Assisting in presenting the flags to schools at the event were Cllr James Tobin, Mayor of Waterford city and county; Cllr Christy Burke, Lord Mayor of Dublin; Cllr Pat Millea, Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council; the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, H.E. Kevin Vickers and the French Ambassador to Ireland, H.E. Jean Pierre Thebault.

The civic leaders were joined by Captain David Barry, Officer Commanding Naval Operations Command and other senior members of the Irish Defence Forces.
Also speaking at the event, the chairperson of the Thomas F. Meagher Foundation, Rev Cavanagh said “It is the hope of the Foundation that every second level school will have received a tricolour by March 2016”.

Later in the day, President Higgins formally dedicated the new bridge, which spans the River Suir as the Thomas F. Meagher Bridge.  The bridge links counties Kilkenny and Waterford and is the longest bridge to span the state.

The Foundation has a distinguished honorary board including; Packie Bonner - former Republic of Ireland Goalkeeper, Henry Shefflin – former Kilkenny Hurler - Niamh Briggs - present Captain of the Ladies Irish Rugby Team, Congressman Thomas Rooney, Helen Conway Mouret - the French Minister for the Diaspora, Brian Schweitzer 23rd Governor of Montana, Fr. Scully of Notre Dame University, Olympian John Teacy, Fr Joe Mallin - Son of Michael Mallin one of the 1916 Leaders, Colonel James P.Tierney  - of the 69 Regiment of the US army and Congressman Joe Kennedy.

To build upon the initial success, the Foundation will continue to promote its core aim to foster pride in and respect for the Irish Flag and educate students regarding its background and true symbolism for peace.  Each second level school will receive a formal invitation by the State to receive the Irish Tricolour in Croke Park on Thursday 7th March 2016 at 11am.



"The flag is a statement of intent. It holds aloft our aspiration to be a peaceful country where all traditions are respected and reconciled. It flies high to remind us we are not there yet but it is the mission of each generation to bring us nearer to permanent peace one heart at a time. Good wishes to all those involved in the Thomas Francis Meagher Foundation School’s Scholarship and Awards Programme. Our flag flies over one of the best countries in the world and, for all its man-made problems and imperfections, Thomas Francis Meagher would be proud of its noble achievements and ambitions."


Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese


Our Education and Challenge Partners

Our Board