City’s coat of arms to replace ‘unregistered’ crest

AN official City of Limerick coat of arms will be unveiled later this month after it was discovered the current official crest is unregistered.

The Office of the Chief Herald designed the coat of arms and chief herald Fergus Gillespie will read the proclamation in Irish and in English at a ceremony in City Hall, on Thursday, May 28.

Mayor John Gilligan said: “The original coat of arms for the city, which has been used since at least the seventeenth century, was unregistered and so unprotected from unofficial use. So we applied on behalf of the council to the Chief Herald of Ireland to confirm the council in its right to arms on the basis of long use.”

The arms which are now confirmed to Limerick City Council show a castle with two towers and the portcullis raised.

The shield is of the 14th century. The motto ‘Urbs Antiqua Fuit Studiisque Asperrima Belli’ (An ancient city well-versed in the arts of war) surrounds the shield.

Mr Gillespie is the holder of the oldest state office, which in its present form has been in existence since 1552.

He said: “The function of the chief herald is to devise coats of arms, grant them by means of letters patent and record them in the register of arms in my office.”

Limerick City Council’s document is embossed on calf vellum and the conditions of the grant appear in both the Irish and English languages.

A painting of the arms also appears on the document as well as being shown in the form of a banner which, when flown, will proclaim the presence of the council.

Coats-of-arms originated during the late medieval period as a means of recognition on the battlefield and at the tournament.

They were soon employed also to attest documents and identify property.


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