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Ireland Coat Of Arms

By Mabel Louise Keech

( Orginally published March 1947 )

IRELAND! Appropriate for March? Some of you will say "Yes," and some will say "No," and you will all be right. Sir John de Ireland lived in the time of William the Conqueror, and had lands in co. Lancaster, England. Branches later settled in other counties-Hertford, Salop, Suffolk, Surrey, at least, BUT-one branch went across to Robertstown, co. Kildare, in Ireland, and bore the same Coat of Arms as those of Lancaster, which is the one emblazoned here. Kildare adjoins Dublin county, so is not far from the capital of old Ireland.

Therefore, in this month of "wearing the green," we may honor the Ireland family from Ireland.

Sir John de Ireland in 1066 was not of the companions of William I from Normandy, as one might think from the prefix "de," but the fleurs-de-lis on the shield show some association with France, and the dove with the olive branch indicates peace. This tells its own story, that there was peace between Sir John and the French. William I granted large landed estates to those whom he wished to favor in England, and Sir John may have followed him and been granted his lands.

Sir Gilbert Ireland was a member of Parliament for Liverpool, and died in 1675, leaving no male heirs, and was "last male heir in direct line," which means "oldest son through oldest son." Descendants of Thomas second son of the first Sir John, bore a very much more elaborate Coat, the fleurs-de-lis being on either side of a spear placed diagonally across the shield, head down, the upper end having a pennant. This was all within a border with a division line denoting large land holdings. Some branches had besides the fleurs-de-lis; a lion, some an ermine band across the top, with different crests. Then there were three families that did not have this basic Coat with the fieurs - de - lis - crowns, helmets, stars, and chevrons were on their shields. We know nothing about these families.

Those of you who have become familiar with the color code, will recognize from the vertical lines that this is a red shield; the fleurs-de-lis are silver (plain surface). The dove and olive branch are "proper" or natural color.

The blazon, or heraldic description is: Gules six fleurs-de-lis, three, two, and one argent. Crest-A dove and olive branch proper. The Latin motto is translated "Love and peace."

The notes so far given have been gleaned from heraldic authorities. Now let us turn to information found in "Some account of the Ireland Family, originally of Long Island, N. Y., 1644-1880," as written in 1880 by Joseph Norton Ireland of Bridgeport.

He tells of Adam de Irelonde and Henry de Irlaunde as being among the earliest mentioned in England. Besides the ones we mentioned above, in his search he found two Johns. One, noted for, his learning and piety, became Dean of Westminster in 1816, and willed most of his large fortune to religious and educational institutions. John of co., Norfolk, was Alderman of Great Yarmouth in 1676, and registrar of the Arch Deacons' Court of Norwich. When Mayor, he "declined the annual contribution of herrings for the support of his office"!!!

The line of Lancaster has many Thomases, and though no definite connection had been made at the time of the writing of the above book, it was almost certain that it was from co. Lancaster that THOMAS IRELAND came to Hempstead, Long Island, in 1644.

Thomas was landlord of an Inn, or "House of Entertainment" in Hempstead. As a proprietor in Hempstead, he was entitled to 150 acres of land. His will was executed in 1668. He was probably brother of Samuel Ireland of Wethersfield, Conn., who came in the Ship Increase, in 1635.

Thomas Jr. was apparently the only son. He acquired considerable land on Long Island, and died at Cold Spring in 1710, leaving a large family, at least four of them sons. Descendants of his are living in many sections o the United States.

From various sources we have gleaned the following about the family. During the Revolution, a Joseph Ireland, on Long Island, sent in a bill of 34 to the government, which was never paid. And also the following: "Loss of Teams' Work, loss of cattle, Hay, Straw, Oats, Corn, poultry, swine and timber, prest and stolen b5 the British Trops, 156, 3s, 4d."

Many of the name of Ireland were in the War for Independence.

Rev. John Ireland was chaplain in the navy before 1823, and was an Episcopal Clergyman in Brooklyn. In Virginia, Matthew Ireland held land as early as 1638, and Elizabeth in 1660. Capt. Francis Ireland was in Lt. Col. Griffin Taylor's regiment of Virginia militia in the War of 1812.

And John Ireland, born in Belfast Ireland in 1752, was a member of the Cumberland Co. Militia, dying in Scott Co. Ky., in 1833.

"Who's Who" contains the names of several lawyers, educators and writers, most of them residing in the region of the Rockies. Merritte Weber Ireland, 80 years old this year, has a marvelous record as Surgeon General of the U. S. Army, who was the recipient, in World War I of awards in France and England, besides honors in this country.

And now, from the sponsor of this article, who would like to know more about her own line than we are able to furnish, writes that her grandfather and great grandfather were both named Thomas, so there is a possibility of their being descended from the first 2 Thomases in Long Island. Her great-grandfather was a jeweler, and her grandfather was apprenticed to a jeweler in Rio Janeiro, and became a silversmith. She has some beautiful specimens of his workmanship. Her first Thomas married Sarah Frye, about 1820, in Mass., and the son, Thomas, married Cynthia Snelling. There was a set of Lowestoft china in the family, decorated with the Coat-of-Arms, and when it was given to Thomas and Sarah for a wedding present-their monogram "T & S" was substituted!


Let us re-trace our steps, as a conclusion, to the ancient family. Surname books give various spellingsIrlande, Irlond, Irland, Yrland, using the name both with and without the prefix "de" and give dates 1237 and 1320 among the early ones.

Through several lists or "rolls" compiled by writers in as many centuries, no name such as Ireland is found among those of the companions to William the Conqueror; neither could the family have been Huguenots, as they were in England long before that persecution.

The name is not included in the names of the ancient Irish families who were descended from King Milesious of Spain, so we return to the Norman tradition. And-in Rietstap's "Armorial General," foremost authority on Coats-of-Arms of Continental, and some English families, we find registered the Coat for Irland, of Poitou, and d'Ireland of Normandy. The latter is a blue shield charged with a gold chevron; above the chevron 2 silver footless ducks, and below, a silver escallop shell.

Therefore, whatever the descent, today we send orchids to the English Ireland, but, of course, shamrocks to the Irish Irelands!

Ireland Coat Of Arms