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Heraldry in Ireland, part 5. Tribal society.

As mentioned in our earlier blog post on totemism,  http://www.heraldicjewelry.com/2/post/2012/10/the-symbolism-of-heraldry-part-3-totemism.html tribal societies the world over define themselves by animal totems from the aboriginals of Australia to the Native American tribes of North America. Ancient Ireland was no different and tribes connected by blood identified with animals. In the epic Irish story The Cattle Raid of Cooley for example we hear of the Partraighi “ the people of the stag”. In Southern Ireland many families from the province of Munster revered the stag, defining their borders by the routes of stag hunts and choosing their rulers based on their prowess at hunting stags.                                      ...

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Heraldry in Ireland, part 4. The Chief Herald.

  The earliest reference to a herald of arms for Ireland is to Chandos Herald, the herald of John Chandos. Chandos Herald was appointed “Ireland King of Arms” in 1382. Chandos had a number of successors, who appear to have been regarded as members of the English College of Arms, up to the time of Edward IV of England (1442 – 1483). The last recorded incumbent was Thomas Ashwell. It is not known whether the post continued after him. In 1552 the Office of Ulster King of Arms was created by Edward VI, The first Ulster King of Arms was Bartholomew Butler, who by Letters Patent of 1 June 1552, was granted 'all rights, profits, commodities and emoluments in that...

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Heraldry in Ireland, part 3. The theft of the Irish crown jewels.

One of the most notable Ulster King of Arms was Sir Arthur Vicars, left, who held the post from 1893   until 1908 when he was forced to resign in disgrace due to his part in the theft of the Irish Crown Jewels. The story begins with a report in the London Times of 8 July 1907 that the "Crown Jewels and other Insignia of the Order of St Patrick", popularly known as "The Irish Crown Jewels" had disappeared from a safe in Dublin Castle, Ireland. Inside a safe in the Office of Arms in Dublin Castle were kept the regalia of the Grand Master of the Order of St Patrick.   The jewels formed a star with eight points, and a...

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