Thursday 4 June 2009

Crests, Tabbards and Limericks

There once was a Herald from Ireland,

Who presented a patent by hand,

To a Worshipful Mayor

Who had no despair

That the colourful tabard was canned!


Limerick Presentation of Arms

A rather dowdily clad Fergus Gillespie presenting the arms to His Worship the Mayor of Limerick. Image courtesy of Limerick City Council.

Of late, in circles heraldic, one only has to mention the words Heraldry and Ireland and more often than not it generates a rather unsavoury heated argument as to the validity/legality of the office. I confess to being nought more than a sideline witness to these debates although, of course, I commend those who are working hard to bring about a reasoned and reasonable legal solution to the problem.   

I have no desire to add my own views as to the present Irish crisis, indeed, for what it is worth, I have to date had neither the time nor the inclination to delve too deeply into it and I am, for the most part, content to refrain from commenting on matters Irish and legal ... however, I couldn't help but notice recent publicity photo's of The Chief Herald of Ireland presenting Letters Patent for a confirmation of the armorial bearings of the City of Limerick which took place at a ceremony on the 28th May.

I note, with some sadness, from the photograph, that the splendidly colourful tabard so recently presented to the Chief Herald, remained safely locked in his office. I thought for a moment that the photo showed his Worship the Mayor presenting the arms to my former Head Master but on closer examination I was mistaken. I suppose that we get used to Heralds being colourful, or at least I do.


Micheál Ó Comáin wearing a tabard with arms of the Irish State, at 27th International

A somewhat grainy image of Micheál Ó Comáin wearing a tabard with arms of the Irish State, at 27th International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences, St Andrews, Scotland, 2006 - image courtesy of Sean Murphy whose website details the Irish argument from one perspective.


Below is what the City Council refers to as its Crest ... groan. Perhaps the Chief Herald will educate them.

Limerick City Crest (sic)

Quote "This is the Limerick City Crest. The text on the crest reads: "Urbs Antiqua Fuit Studiisque Asperrima Belli" - "An ancient city well versed in the arts of war"." End Quote. Image courtesy of Limerick City Council.

Well versed in the arts of war they may be but a tad lacking in the art of armory.

Oh well, at least the ancient City of Limerick (unlike certain newly created Cheshire Councils) has gone to the trouble of having an official confirmation of its arms; even if there remains some controversy over the validity of the confirming body!

 PS apologies for the appalling limerick at the head of this note.


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