A 19th-century drawing of the arms of Ireland.
Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, whose feast day is celebrated every 17 March.
Arms of Ireland: 1. 1607, on the frontispiece of “The Books of Heraldic Visitation"
“We know that he was a Roman citizen, because Britain was Roman then, and then he was enslaved and taken to Ireland, where he either escaped or was released,” Casey says. “And then he became a priest and went back to Ireland, where he had a lot of luck converting the Druid culture into Christians.”
A few years after returning to his homeland, he had a divine vision in which he felt God call him to be the ‘Voice of Ireland’. He subsequently returned to the country as a free man and spread his Christian faith around the pagan country, converting thousands and establishing many churches in the process.
He apparently used the three leaves contained in shamrock flowers as a metaphor for the holy trinity throughout his teaching. To this day, the shamrock is one of the symbols most associated with Ireland. It grows plentifully all over the country and takes its name from early Irish word seamair óg, or young clover. Historians believe the first link between St. Patrick and the shamrock can be found on the so-called 'St. Patrick halfpennies', coins produced in the late 1600s which were imprinted with an image of the saint holding a shamrock while preaching to a crowd of people.
It's unknown whether this legendary link between St. Patrick and the shamrock has any historical basis, especially since the link between the two appears to have been popularised over 1,000 years after his death.
Legend says St. Patrick was actually born Maewyn Succat, but that he changed his name to Patricius (or Patrick), which derives from the Latin term for “father figure,” after he became a priest. And that supposed luck of his is the root of all the themed merchandise for modern St. Patrick’s Day.
It wasn’t until the early 18th century that many of today’s traditions were kicked into high gear. Since the holiday falls during Lent, it provides Christians a day off from the prescriptions of abstinence leading up to Easter, and around the 1720s, the church found it “got kind of out of control,” Casey says. It was to remind celebrants what the holiday actually stood for that the church first associated a botanical item—customary for all saints—with St. Patrick, assigning him the symbol of the likewise lucky shamrock.
Modern-day celebrations and themes continued to take shape during the rest of the 1700s. In 1762, the first New York City parade took place. It wasn’t until 1798, the year of the Irish Rebellion, that the colour green became officially associated with the day, Casey says.
Arms of the Lordship of Ireland.
Up until the rebellion, the color associated with St. Patrick was blue, after Henry VIII turned the island into a kingdom in 1542, giving it a blue flag emblazoned with a golden harp. Prior to that, the flag of the Lordship of Ireland was three golden crowns over a light blue background. Blue was featured both in the royal court and on ancient Irish flags. The British wore red, and the Irish chose to wear green, and they sang the song “The Wearing of the Green” during the rebellion, cementing the color’s relevance in Irish history.
This year is a particularly historic one as Ireland celebrates the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, a key event in the country’s history.
New York and Dublin hold the biggest parades in the world. Half a million people are expected to line the streets for the Dublin parade while around 150,000 revellers will attend the New York display.
Three Crowns in History:
Practically identical to the three crowns of Sweden, is that of the flag and arms of the Province of Munster, a region in the south-west of Ireland. Like the Swedish model, it comprises two crowns above and one below. These represent the three great duchies of the province, Desmond, Ormond and Thomond. The design was used as the flag of the Lordship of Ireland between 1171-1541 following the Norman invasion of Ireland until being replaced by the flag of the Kingdom of Ireland.
In the literature, the coat of arms of the legendary King Arthur is also often given as azure with three crowns. Britain included three realms, Logres (England), Cambria (Wales) and Alba (Scotland).
The University of Oxford uses as its emblem the three gold crowns on blue accompanied by an open book. The origin of the three crowns is not exactly known but may refer to the arms of Thomas Cranley, Warden of New College between 1389 and 1396.
The first corporate coat of arms was granted in 1439 to the Drapers' Company in London with three triple crowns. Three crowns also form the logo of Coutts & Co, the London-based private bankers, but in this case, the design comprises one crown at the top, with two below.
It appears that these three crowns were adopted as the arms of Munster. The origins are uncertain and links have been suggested the three wise men who visited the infant Jesus from Mathews Gospel and even the legend of King Arthur. It should be noted that the three crowns are not unique to Ireland and feature on the current Royal Arms of Sweden.
In Scottish armory
The coat of arms of the Scottish Clan Grant displays the three gold crowns, but on a red background. This may be due to the fact that the clan's name ancestor was Scandinavian, King Haakon Magnus of Norway. The clan's motto, Stand Fast, also derives from Haakon Magnus. The arms formed the basis of the arms of the burgh of Grantown-on-Spey, which was founded on the clan's land in 1765.
Another Scottish clan that uses the three gold crowns on blue as its coat of arms is the Clan Arthur or Clan Macarthur.
In Spanish armory
The three gold crowns on blue design appears on the coat of arms of the Spanish city of Burriana in the Valencian Community, but, like Coutts & Co, is arranged one over two instead of two over one. The crowns here refer to the fact that in 1901, the Queen Regent of Spain, Maria Christina of Austria, gave the town the title of city, and was crowned three times.
In Eastern European armory
The historical region of Galicia, now divided between Poland and Ukraine, had under the Austro-Hungarian rule as its coat-of-arms a blue shield with three gold crowns as part of the design. The crowns are said to represent Lodomeria, a historical province that was united with Galicia while Galicia itself was represented by the black crow.
In French and German armory
The emblem of Henri III was "Manet ultima coelo" with three crowns.
In modern trademarks.
A symbol with three crowns has been used by Chrysler on some of its New Yorker models in the 1960s. A symbol for the marque's top model, the crowns were placed in a row on the vehicle rear and over each other in the front.
In the 1550s, King Gustav Vasa of Sweden found that the Danish King Christian III had added the three crowns to his own coat of arms.
Eire 1597 ~ Hibernia ~ Coat of arms of Ireland in Irish Nobility, 1597-1603.
Development & History of Irish Flags HERE
It is true the harp was popular in ancient Irish music and often associated with the island. However, the harp was also widely used in neighbouring Scotland and was also the national instrument of that country before it was replaced by the bagpipes. (Or the Great Highland bagpipes to be exact as their are also versions of the pipes native to Ireland).
The harp was an instrument often played by King David of Israel, and is often associated with him before becoming King about 1000 years BC. 1 Samuel 16.23 says "Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play."
The coat of arms of Ireland
Although it was Henry VIII who was first to use the title King of Ireland, it was not until the succession of King James VI of Scotland to the English and Irish thrones in 1603 becoming James I of England and Ireland, that an Irish device appeared on the royal coat of arms. James quartered his shield with the arms of his three kingdoms. This principle is still used for the British Royal Arms today. In the third quarter of his arms is the harp proudly representing Ireland. This is probably what secured the harp as the main heraldic symbol of Ireland. (it is also worth noting that the harp on blue field is the only part of the royal coat of arms that has remained unchanged since 1603).
The harp was adopted as the emblem of the Irish Free State when it became independent of the United Kingdom in 1922. It was registered as the national coat of arms by the Chief Herald of Ireland in 1945.
Decorations of the Harp
The Irish harp appears in two main forms, that of a winged female pillar, and one with a more plain pillar. The early harps of Henry VIII are plain harps, however throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries various figures have been represented on the harp pillars.
The female figure which appears to have developed at around the same time has rendered the others redundant, making the harp rather more artistically pleasing to the eye. However throughout this, the plain version of the harp has survived, and both versions are regarded as the same thing from a heraldic point of view. The female figure may have its origins from Irish mythology, where the sovereignty of Ireland is described as being symbolised by a female figure dressed in blue. It is also notable that the winged 'Made of Erin' figure is rather similar in style with that of a ship's figure head.
The arms of the Kingdom of Ireland did have a crest. It was a white stag coming out of a castle or tower with three turrets. However this crest was seldom used, as topping the arms with a crown seems to have been preferred.
Unfortunately unlike Scotland, Ireland was never granted its own unique version of the UK arms, if it had then the crest of Ireland might have survived to this day.
Officially the arms of Ireland is and was always without a motto or supporters.
The blue harp flag
The banner of Ireland, a harp on a blue field, represented as a blue flag with a harp. To this day, it appears on the lower quarter of the Royal Standard by the hoist and is used as the standard of the Irish President. Originally it would have been a royal banner, however, there is no evidence of it ever being used. In fact, the English and later British royal banners appear to have been used anytime the monarch visited the island. However, the harp on a blue field does appear on other flags. It was used on flags during the Interregnum Period (1649-1653) when Oliver Cromwell deposed the monarchy and ruled as 'Lord Protector.'
On 5 March 1649 the ruling military Council ordered "that the Flagg that is to be borne by the Admiral, Vice-Admiral, and Rere-Admiral be that now presented, viz., the Armes of England [Red St. George Cross on white] and Ireland [gold harp on blue] in two severall Escotcheons in a Red Flagg, within a compartment." A similar flag consisting of the St George Cross and Irish Harp was used as the naval jack.
While harps were used as an Irish symbol in this period it was not the only one.
There was a device of a King seated on a throne, although the exact form seems to differ depending on the source, but most French and Spanish rolls of arms depict the King figure holding a sceptre in one hand and a lily in the other. This is believed to be the arms of the ancient province of Meath .
More HERE and HERE
A mythical piece of Ireland ~ Hill of Tara
Tara Hill was one of the most venerated religious spots in early Ireland and the seat of the High Kings of Ireland from the 3rd century until 1022.
The Hill of Tara, known as Temair in Gaelic, was once the ancient seat of power in Ireland – 142 kings are said to have reigned there in prehistoric and historic times. In ancient Irish religion and mythology Temair was the sacred place of dwelling for the gods, and was the entrance to the otherworld. Saint Patrick is said to have come to Tara to confront the ancient religion of the pagans at its most powerful site.
This small cluster of megaliths represents a single component of an extended prehistoric landscape which would have provided the ability to recognising specific moments of the lunar and solar cycles throughout the year. In the case of Tara, the chamber of the 'Mound of hostages' is aligned to mark the November 8th and February 4th, quarter days (along with Dowth and Cairns L and U at Loughcrew). Tara is only 10 miles distant from The Boyne Valley complex, which is clearly visible from there.
The 'Mound of the Hostages' - The most prominent and oldest monument on the hill is the Mound of the Hostages, upon which stands the 'Stone of destiny' (below). The Mound of Hostages dates back to the Neolithic period and is contemporary with the Boyne Valley structures.
The passage, 4m in length and 1m wide, was subdivided by sill-stones into three compartments each containing cremated remains. The engraved stone inside the mound of Hostages has been likened to a map of Tara hill itself.
The Stone of destiny - Originally stood on top of the Mound of Hostages.
Despite its importance, the expectant visitor may be disappointed in what he sees as, at Tara there are no signs of regal past, nor impressive remains, only the remains of earthworks.
On the Hill of Tara there are the remains of many other earthworks. To the South of the Mound of the Hostages, inside the bank and the ditch of the so-called Royal Enclosure, stand two linked ring-forts known as the Royal Seat and the Forradh. The Forradh has two banks and two ditches around it. In its centre lies the Lia Fáil, the Stone of Destiny, the most obvious phallic symbol of ancient Ireland. It once stood near the Mound of the Hostages, and it is said to be the stone of the coronation of the kings of Ireland. It roared three times when the future king stood on it. Other legends say it was the pillow of Jacob or the coronation Stone of Scone of Westminster Abbey.
This monolith is called the Lia Fial, The Stone of Fal or the Stone of Destiny. The tradition is that the High Kings of Ireland would be crowned here, and that the Stone would roar or cry out loudly if touched by the true High King. Some believe that the original Stone of Fal was taken to England and placed under the Coronation Throne in Westminster Abbey, then in the current Century stolen, taken into safe keeping in Scotland. Who now knows which is the true Lia Fial or where it lies!
To the south of the Royal Enclosure are the remains of another circular earthwork known as the Fort of King Laoghaire, where the king is said to be buried fully armed and in an upright position in order to see his enemies coming. To the north of the Royal Enclosure there are other round earthworks, two of them known as Sloping Trenches and one Gráinne's Fort, named for King Cormac's daughter who was the heroine of the tragic love tale of Diarmuid and Gráinne.
Rath Maeve Henge - Half a mile to the South of Tara Hill there is a henge called Rath Maeve (after the legendary goddess-queen Maeve or Medbh). It is about 230m (750ft) in diameter, part of its bank and ditch is well preserved near the road.
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