400-year-old craftsman’s error rectified as Limerick gets ‘correct’ coat of arms

THE slip of a craftsman’s hand about 400 years ago has been rectified in Limerick when the city was presented with a correctly designed coat of arms by the chief herald of Ireland.

And it has emerged that Cork county and north Tipperary are now the only local authority areas still without a properly registered coat of arms or logo – which means their logos have no copyright.

Limerick city’s original coat of arms, dating back to the 17th century, was not heraldically correct in design, and the flaw was compounded when it was revised in the 19th century.

A Victorian shield was then wrongly introduced and the motto, Urbs Antiqua Fuit Studisque Asperrima Belli (an ancient city well versed in the arts of war), was also incorrectly laid out.

Presenting the new and heraldically correct coat of arms to mayor John Gilligan, at a ceremony at Limerick City Hall yesterday, the chief herald of Ireland, Fergus Gillespie, declared: “I now formally hand over this coat of arms to blaze, bear and set forth.”

John Harrington, who is a papal knight, initiated the move to give Limerick City a heraldically correct coat of arms nine months ago and contacted officials at city hall.

Mr Harrington said: “The coat of arms which the city had was heraldically incorrect and it was not even registered with the office of the chief herald.”

Mr Gilligan said the old coat of arms was not protected for unofficial use, but the city council now had the exclusive copyright of the new coat of arms handed over yesterday.

He said: “I’m honoured and delighted to receive the document vesting rights to the use of the coat of arms on behalf of the people of Limerick.”

Mr Gillespie – whose chief herald office dates to 1552 – said County Cork and north Tipperary are now the only local authority areas in the country that are without heraldically correct coats of arms.

This means that the county logo used by the two local authorities does not have copyright.

He said: “The coats of arms of Cork county and north Tipperary have no copyright protection. I would encourage them to register a heraldically correct coat of arms in the chief heralds office.

“GAA county boards usually use their county logos, but Monaghan GAA has now registered its own coat of arms with the chief herald’s office and I would encourage all other GAA county boards to do the same.”

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