John McCullagh May 10, 2007
armaghcrest.jpg

The Armagh Crest incorporates 

 Arms azure, on a bend, embattled between in chief,

  Primatial Cross and in base, a harp

 Crest : an ancient Irish Crown gold

 Motto : In concilio Consilium – In Council, we plan

The Primatial Cross represents the city’s foundation by S. Patrick in 444 A.D. and its position as the ecclesiastic capital of Ireland.   It also commemorates the fact that from early times Armagh was the greatest of Ireland‘s schools of learning, and emphasises the importance of the Book of Armagh the earliest datable manuscript of the Christian period, compiled in 807 A.D.

The Embattled Bend stresses the civic character of the arms and in particular refers to the request (1226) of King Henry III to Archbishop Netterville for a site in the city to build a castle, and though the building is no more, it lent its name to one of Armagh‘s oldest streets.

The Harp perpetuates the Seal of the Charter granted by King James I in 1613 – which persist into the present – reminding us that the city was a market town of some standing from 1467 when King Edward IV granted a fresh patent to Archbishop Bole. In fact that charter too confirmed an even earlier one, the date of which is now unknown.

The Irish Crown as a crest signifies that the ancient territory of Emain Macha was the seat of the Kings of Ulster from 350 B.C. up until 332 A.D. and the location of Ireland‘s most famous order of chivalry, the Red Branch Knights.

The Crown also recognises Armagh as a place of regal internments through the centuries, especially of Brian Boru (1014) and of his successor, Mael Sechlainn (Malachy of the Golden Collar), the last absolute monarch of Ireland, in 1022.

Shane O’Neill …

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