Official Limerick city coat of arms verified


THE OFFICIAL coat of arms for Limerick city was confirmed at a historic ceremony yesterday.

The office of the Chief Herald designed the arms and Chief Herald Fergus Gillespie confirmed on Limerick City Council its right to armorial bearings.

Mr Gillespie read the proclamation in Irish and English and presented the letters patent, the document vesting rights to the use of the arms in the city council, to Mayor of Limerick John Gilligan to the sound of trumpet fanfare.

“The original coat of arms for the city, which has been used since at least the 17th century, was unregistered and so unprotected from unofficial use,” Mr Gilligan said.

“We applied to the Chief Herald to confirm the council in its right to arms on the basis of long use. 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.”

Limerick city manager Tom Mackey, members of the city council and Mr Gillespie wore traditional robes for yesterday’s formal ceremony.

Among the invited guests were the Rev Trevor Williams, Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe; Judge Tom O’Donnell; Tom Ryan, honorary freeman of Limerick, and former mayors of the city.

The arms show a castle with two towers and the portcullis raised.

The shield is from the 14th century and the Latin motto Urbs Antiqua Fuit Studiisque Asperrima Belli – which, translated, means “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.

“It was felt by Mayor Gilligan that it was time to set the city’s coat of arms in stone while putting together a legal description and by confirming it by means of patent,” Mr Gillespie said.

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

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 city council.