Lunar Tri-colour Comes Home
The flag of the Republic of Ireland was flown to the moon on the flight of Apollo 15, 26 July-7 August 1971. The flag and “High Flight” arm patch were presented to President Patrick Hillery and the people of Ireland by Jim Irwin, and Irish-American astronaut in 1979.

The flag displayed here was one of a select number brought on board Apollo 15. Flags carried and returned to Earth included 25 United States flags, state and territory flags, and flags of all the United Nations members.

The primary objective of Apollo 15 was to observe the lunar surface, survey and sample material and surface features in a pre-selected area. The mission had a lunar stay of 66 hours, 54 minutes and 53 seconds, and because of its advanced capabilities, collected significant lunar material, which was returned to Earth for research.

The lunar module landed near Mount Hadley on the surface of the moon on 30 July 1971. On that day, Colonel James Irwin became the seventh man to walk on the moon. In an annotation on the back of the frame of this presentation, Irwin states that he found green rock on the surface, which was significant to him due to his ancestry, and that he left Shamrock on the landing site near Mount Hadley.

Back from The Final Frontier
The Tri-colour displayed here was presented to President Hillery and the people of Ireland by Norm Thagard, Mission Specialist from NASA. It was flown aboard the second flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-7) from 18-24 June 1983.

Challenger flew 10 flights and spent in total 62.41 days in space before it was destroyed shortly after take off in January 1986, killing all seven astronauts on board. The mission referred to here, STS-7, was conspicuous among the ten flights undertaken by Challenger as it included Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space. During the mission, two communication satellites were deployed and valuable research was carried out.