Heraldry in Ireland, part 2

Dublin Castle
The noted heraldic writer Arthur Charles Fox-Davies in his Heraldry Explained ( 1925 ) noted that “ In Ireland there still exists the unique opportunity of obtaining a confirmation of arms upon mere proof of user …… The present regulation is that user must be proved for at least three generations, and be proved also to have existed for one hundred years.” Sir Bernard Burke,image below, who held the office of Ulster King of Arms for nearly 40 years ( 1854 – 1892 ), in the introduction to his Burke’s General Armoury mentions that the confirmation was accompanied by the addition of some slight heraldic difference mark. In Ireland the system of heraldic funerals prevailed as in England but with a valuable addition, since the Irish Heralds were in the habit of lodging a certificate of their attendance at a funeral with the Ulster Office setting out the particulars of the Coats of Arms in use. These documents are very useful aids to the knowledge of Irish Heraldry, but unfortunately this process came to an end at the end of the 17th century.

The succession of Ulster King of Arms continued from 1552 until the death of Sir Neville Wilkinson in 1940. In 1943, the office of Ulster was combined with that of Norroy, and the Norroy and Ulster King of Arms now has jurisdiction over the counties of Northern Ireland as well as England north of the Trent. Norroy and Ulster has also acted as Registrar and King of Arms of the Order of St Patrick since 1943, though no knights of that Order have been created since 1934, and the last surviving knight died in 1974. The Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland handles heraldic matters in the Republic of Ireland.

Sir Bernard Burke.Apart from the Ulster King of Arms , the establishment consisted of  Athlone Pursuivant, with two Heralds of the Order of St. Patrick, under the titles of Dublin and Cork, and there was also a Cork Pursuivant of the order. The Ulster King of Arms, during the period of English rule in Ireland ( 1609 – 1921 ), was the senior member of the staff of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and the sole permanent member. His duties included ordering state ceremonies and officiating at proclamations and other state functions. His office was in Dublin Castle. The tenure of the post of Ulster King of Arms was not broken even during the most tumultuous periods of Anglo Irish relations. Cromwell appointed an Ulster King of Arms in the person of Richard Carney who served until the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 when his place was taken by Richard St. George. When St. George resigned in 1683 , Carney again held the position, jointly with George Wallis, and in 1684 was knighted. His son, Richard Carney Junior, became Ulster King of Arms in 1692.

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