- Coat of arms of Ireland
Infobox Coat of arms
name = Coat of arms of Ireland
image_width = 200
shield = azure a harp or, stringed argent
The Coat of arms of Ireland is
blazoned as "azure a harp or, stringed argent" - a gold harpwith silver strings on a St. Patrick's Bluebackground. The harp, and specifically the Clársach (or Gaelic harp), has long been Ireland's heraldic emblem. It appears on the coat of armswhich were officially registered as the arms of the state of Ireland on 9 November 1945.
The harp as a symbol of Ireland
The harp has been recognised as a
symbolof Irelandsince the 13th century [ [http://www.ngw.nl/int/ier/irenat.htm Civic Heraldry of Ireland, National arms of Ireland, Ralf Hartemink, 1996] ] and was used on Irish coinage by kings John and Edward I. Visual heraldrywithin Ireland started in 1392 on the creation of the first Ireland King of Arms. The harp was adopted as the symbol of the new Kingdom of Irelandestablished by Henry I of Ireland in 1541-42. It has appeared in the third quarter of the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdomsince the union of the crownsof Ireland and England to that of Scotland by James VI of Scotlandin March 1603.
Kingdom of Ireland
From the rise of the Stuart dynasty to the thrones of England and Ireland in 1603, the royal coat of arms began to feature the Irish harp in representation of the Kingdom of Ireland. Over the years this harp was altered and rearranged representing the various changes in the political status quo until the modern British coat of arms became official on the accession of
Queen Victoriato the throne of the United Kingdom, 1837. The modern British Royal Coat of Arms, in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as the coat of arms of Canada, features an Irish harp in the lower left quadrant.
ymbols of the Irish state
The harp used in modern heraldry is sometimes referred to as the "harp of
Brian Boru" (Who was High King of Irelandfrom 1002 to 1014). The harp was selected as the state emblem on the establishment of the Irish Free State, and one of its earliest treatments was on the Great Seal of the Irish Free State. It continued to be a state emblem after the Constitution of Irelandwas adopted. The image of the harp is used on coins, passports, and official documents of the state; it is also the official seals of the President, Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Ministers of the Government and other officials.
The image used for these seals and arms is an Irish harp, similar to the "Brian Boru (or Trinity) Harp"The "
Trinity College Harp" is named after Brian Boru, but as he died about 400 years before it was made, and it cannot actually have belonged to him. It is on permanent display in the Long Room of the library of Trinity College, Dublin] as displayed in the long room at Trinity College Dublin. For example, the harp on the 1928 coinage was based on the Galway and Trinity College harps, whilst a much modified version was introduced on 1939 coinage, and the present Irish euro coinsare largely based on this.
Other Irish organisations (such as
Guinness) also use the harp as a symbol or logo.
References and notes
* [http://www.dfa.ie/information/publications/facts/fai/historystate.asp Department of Foreign Affairs - Government of Ireland: Facts about Ireland]
* [http://www.earlygaelicharp.info/harps/trinity.htm The Brian Boru Harp]
* [http://www.irishcoinage.com/J00050.HTM Henry VIII Harp Groat - H & I]
* [http://our-ireland.com/celtic-harps.html Brian Boru Harp Official Symbol of Ireland]
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