>>>>1. Was there a real Rising of the Moon flag during the 1798 revolution or was it just a term used in a song?>>>>
I don't know - but being part Irish myself what I do know of Irish lore is often just that - lore!
I am a military flags historian of the 18th and 19th Centuries with the study of flags from Marlborough forward, and the only Irish unit flags that I have ever seen from the early 1700's well into the late 1800's are green with the Harp of Erin on them - no moon at all! If this was such an important symbol, it would be in use on these flags and I have yet to find one that has it. None of the Irish units in the Napoleonic Wars (for both sides) used anything but green flags and Harps of Erin on them, and this post-dates the 1798 affair.
Same with Irish Civil War flags (US CW).
>>>>2. What's to say that the Army of Central Kentucky didn't develope THEIR flag from this Irish Moon (song or real flag).>>>>
I have already addressed this. Buckner was commander of the KY State Guard before the war, and they had flags that were blue with a light blue moon in the center with the US Coat of Arms therein. The modern KY state flag is blue with a white moon and the state Coat of Arms in the center. Modern state flags often derive from earlier militia colors (blue or white with the state COA on them typically).
Buckner claimed in 1909 to have designed the flag; Glenn's claim from the Irish book only states that Hardee "adopted" the flag. Big difference!
It was Buckner's men that captured Bowling Green well before Hardee even got there later in the Fall of 1861. Most of Buckner's men, the famous Orphan Brigade, had served in the KSG and thus knew their old flags well.
Buckner took half of his division from Bowling Green to Ft. Donelson in early Feb. 1862. All of those regiments carried the blue and white Buckner/Hardee flags with them along with their First National flags. These had been presented in January, 1862. All of these flags were taken at Donelson upon its surrender as I have detailed. The rest of Buckner's Division devolved into Hardee's troops which became a corps and they "adopted" this flag through late 1863. Within this corps, coming over from Arkansas with Hardee, was Patrick Cleburne's Brigade, whose division would use these flags until their surrender in 1865.
So we have a KY born general, former commander of KY militia that used a very similar flag, commanding KY troops that had been part of that militia in a small town in KY (BG) creating a flag that KY troops could rally behind in battle and in joining the Confederate Army. If you truly understand Kentucky's role in this war then you will know that both sides deeply covted the manpower of that state and both sides sought to bring it into their own sphere of influence. Since Jeff Davis and Abe Lincoln were both Kentuckians, THEY certainly were well aware of the prize that their native state would bring!
So you pull out all stops to get the men of this state to join your side, and if that means making a flag very similar to the one that many had followed before the war, then so be it - make the flag! The KSG was the best equipped and drilled state militia in the nation in 1860, armed with the Enfield rifles and well dressed and accoutered. Who would not want this force on their side in the Civil War?
The exact same deal was used when the Van Dorn pattern battle flags were created. Upon the field of those flags is a crescent, and that was put there for the Missouri troops to rally upon since there is also a crescent in the Missouri state Coat of Arms. The first Van Dorn flags were issued in June, 1862 to the Missouri Brigade. They were forced to leave their state to fight east of the Mississippi River with the promise of going back home to liberate the state at some point; thus Van Dorn used a state symbol to help get recruits.
Flag symbolism need not be so damn complicated or based upon mythology - it is most often based upon simple ideas or something that can be used to stir patriotism when emplaced upon a flag - or using a flag pattern or device from a coat of arms that meant something to the very men that would fight under a flag taken from these past symbols.
I rest my case.
Feel free to belive the Irish lore if you wish - but know that there is NO evidence whatsoever that it had anything to do with the making of the Buckner/Hardee battle flags. Also note that William J. Hardee has NEVER claimed to making this flag pattern.