The Flag of Northern Ireland
The Northen Ireland flag consists of an upright red cross on a white field, with a hand inside a six-pointed star, topped with a crown. The red hand of Ulster comes from a legend from one of Ireland's many invasions. The leader of a war party promised a prize to the first man to touch land with his right hand; so the winner, a left-handed man, cut off his right hand and threw it onto the shore. The six-pointed star represents the six counties of Ulster that make up Northern Ireland (other Ulster counties are in the Republic).
The Northern Ireland flag was introduced in 1953 but it is a banner of arms which had been used by the government of Northern Ireland since 1925. This was a civil flag for Northern Ireland, but this status was abolished when the Belfast Stormont assembly was closed down in 1973. Thereafter, the Union Flag was made official for all purposes in Northern Ireland.