Jim's Irish Family Surnames
A few important facts to remember; firstly that according to the
rules of Heraldry the Coat of Arms stands for an individual not a family
and in order to use an ancestors Coat of Arms you must prove a
hereditary link and sometimes a small change must be made on the Coat of
Arms, for example changing a color. Usually there are many Coats of Arms
in the history of any one family and this only represents the most
ancient one found for this family.
This Maguire Coat of Arms is a
green shield with a
knight in complete
armour, on his helmut a plume of
feathers, and in his hand
brandishing a sword, sitting upon an
ornamentaly gold caped white
According to a friendly source at a
At Old World Village
7561 Center Ave. #18
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
(1) "The Knight signifies Military
According to the book
The Symbols of Heraldry Explained
by Heraldic Artists LTD.
(2) p. 13 "Vert, or green. -- Represented
in engraving by oblique lines from dexter(left as faced) or right hand
corner of the shield to the sinister base, or left lower part.
Signifies Hope, Joy, and, sometimes, Loyalty in Love."
(3) p. 13 "The Color "Or, yellow or
gold. -- Called Jaune by some old writers, is represented in
engravings by dots. It denoted Generosity and, according to Sir
John Ferne, Elevation of Mind. This and the next colour (white)
represent the two Metals of Heraldry."
(4) p. 13 "The Color
"Argent, white or silver. -- Represented in
engraving by a white space, unless a "diaper" pattern be introduced for
the purpose of adding to the effect. Signifies Peace and
(5a) p. 35-36 "Feathers. Those used in heraldry are usually of the
Ostrich, and signify willing obedience and
serenity. Guillim recites that King Stephen bore a plume of feathers
with the motto "No force alters their fashion," referring to the fold or
fall of the feather recovering itself after being ruffled by the wind.
When a feather is borne with its quill transfixing a scroll of
parchment, it is called an escrol. The latter was borne as a device by
Roger Clarendon, natural son of the Black Prince."
p. 35-36 "The Plume of Feathers borne as the
crest of the Prince of Wales would signify "willing obedience and
serenity of mind." The legend as to this crest having been captured
in war by the Black Prince lacks support, and is far less likely than
that he adopted it as a crest because so many of his family and
predecessors bore either one or two feathers as a badge or cognisance.
The original bearing of feathers in heraldry is said to have been
derived from the Crusades, but it is highly probable that these and a
great many other ancient Eastern symbols, subsequently used in heraldry,
were at an early period derived in Western Europe from Egypt, either
through the Romans, or later through the Gnostics of the second or third
centuries. I have elsewhere remarked, that to biblical references and to
associations connected with religion belong a very large number of the
emblems found in arms. If one considers the influence of religious
sentiment in Europe at the time when heraldry flourished, this
conviction is sustained, and one is quite justified in seeking for
Scriptural passages in explanation of any ancient coat of arms, in which
symgbols appear that are capable of being interpreted by such reference.
For centuries after the introduction of crests, feathers were often
preferred for the decoration of the helmet, and are still retained in
military wear in the hats of generals and staff officers."
p. 54 "The Sword, Guillim remarks, is a
weapon fitted for execution of justice, and he holds that it is the true
emblem of military honour, and should incite the bearer to a just and
generous pursuit of honour and virtue in warlike deeds. When borne with a cross in the same field it would signify
the defence of the Christian faith. Elsewhere he refers to the
Sword as signifying Government and Justice. The Cross of St. Paul consists of a cross-hilted
(6b) p. 84-85 "Since the sword has been a
tool in the hands of warlike men all through the ages, it is natural to
expect that as a symbol its use in heraldry would be widespread and
varied. In Irish heraldry the symbol of the sword is encountered in a
variety of poses. Frequently it will be found being wielded menacingly
in a natural or mailed hand. Sometimes it is supported by lions or other
animals. On occasions, two swords will be displayed in saltire (crossed)
which has become the standard mark for indicating the locations of
battlefields on maps and charts.
It should perhaps be recalled here
that the primitive sword was a thrusting weapon with a pointed blade
and, therefore, not very dissimilar to a spear.
In Irish folklore
and mythology the sword was invested with great magic and mystery. The
sword of Nuada, for example, was such that when unsheathed it was
irresistible and none could stand in its path. The sun hero Mac Cecht,
in addition to his huge spear, wielded an immense sword from which
blazed forth mighty sparks that illuminated the land.
possessed a sword known as cruaidin catutcheann which shone at
night like a torch.
In folk tales the lightning-sword has survived
as the "sword of light", known in gaelic as cloidheamh soluis.
This particular sword was possessed by a hideous giant and whoever got
possession of it became a hero. The "sword of light" is heraldically
represented on the shields of a number of Irish families including, for
example, that of Finnucane.
Dermot O'Dyna, legendary hero of the
Fianna, was possessed of two swords, the Morallta or Great
Fury and the Begallta or Little Fury. These swords he
is said to have got from Mannanan Mac Lir, god of the sea and Angus, god
of the sun. He carried the great sword in affairs of life and death and
the smaller one in adventures of less danger. He had a facility for
dancing on the edge of the great sword, a feat which when attempted by
lesser men invariably ended in death."
(7) p. 30 "The Horse. "Of all the most noble and most useful to
man, either in peace or war." It signifies readiness for all
employments for king and country, and is one of the principal bearings
in armory. A white horse was the ensign of the Saxons when first
they invaded England.
"A steede, a steede of matchless speede,
A sword of
All else to noble minds is dross,
All else on
earth is meane,
And O the thundering press of knights
loud their war-cries swell,
Might serve to call a saint from
Or rouse a fiend from hell ! "
shield that stands for the individual of a family notable as having been
rewarded with authority for their generosity and loyalty to king and
country and their political ingenuity in maintaining a peaceful and
This Maguire Crest displays a
"Stag" trippant with a "Chain" upon the
conjoined with a
According to the book
The Symbols of Heraldry Explained
by Heraldic Artists LTD.
(1a) p. 44 "Stag, Hart, Buck, and Deer,
According to Guillim and Upton, these animals are symbolical either of
one skillful in music and a lover of harmony, or of one that is politic
and well foresees his times and opportunities; or again, of one who is
unwilling to assail the enemy rashly, but rather desirous to stand on
his own ground honestly than to annoy another wrongfully. These
definitions may be summarised briefly to signify Policy, Peace and
(1b) ps. 82-84 "Old Irish families like
the McCartheys and O'Connells describe themselves, according to a common
motto as sinsear clanna mileadh, that is to say the ancestors of the
Irish race. That claim to antiquity was invariably expressed in heraldic
terms by means of the symbol of the stag.
Following the ice age the
primal face of Ireland became covered with natural forest providing an
ideal habitat for large land animals such as the deer -- long before the
arrival of the first man who may well have come "dry-shod", as it were,
via Scotland. To this day the wild red deer is still the antlered
monarch of the waste mountain lands of Kerry, Donegal and Wicklow.
The "roebuck in the thicket" is one of the most persistent themes in
old Irish romantic literature. The Chase of Slieve Fuad, a saga
from the Fenian cycle, begins in the following fashion:
Fionn and the Fianna went one day to hunt at Slieve Fuad.
When they had come near to the top of the mountain, a deer suddenly
bounded from a thicket before them, very large and fierce, with a
great pair of sharp, dangerous antlers. She led them through rugged
places, over rocks and bogs, and into deep glens. She then made her
way across the open country to a rugged and bushy hill where they
suddenly lost her among the rocks and thickets. Invariably
the "deer" turns out to be a beautiful lady possessed of a gold ring of
a magic drinking horn. He who finds the ring or drinks a potion from the
wonderful horn will find wisdom, knowledge and prophesy. But the quest
is never easy and the "deer-lady" is always loathe to yield up her
Another old Celtic romantic tale entitled The Chase of
Slieve Gullion exudes precisely the same theme.
Christian mystics the stag sometimes wore a cross between its antlers,
as it appeared to St. Hubert, patron of huntsmen, who, without rest, had
been chasing it for weeks through the dense forest.
Of all animals
the stag was regarded as the most handsome. It was said to be free of
choler and to be the wisest of all wild animals. According to old
primers on symbolism, it caused its hind to give birth to its young in a
protected place away from the traffic of men. It then led them back to a
place which had only one entrance in order to secure them from attack by
other beasts. The branches of its antlers declare its age; a stag with
seven tines or points on each of its antlers was regarded as a royal
The month of the stag marked the opening of the thirteenth
month Celtic calendar year. The heraldic piece, consisting of a stag
leaping from an opening in an embattled tower, constituted the old crest
(2) ps. 57-58 "Chains,
when borne alone, or upon animals, represent a reward for acceptable
and weighty service. They are often conjoined with crowns and
collars, and would mean that the bearer of such symbols had placed a
chain of obligation on those whom he had bravely served. For the same
reason chains and collars are marks of honour in the orders of
knighthood, as well as for sheriffs and mayors."
(3) ps. 46
"Crown. Royal or seigniorial
authority; or if a celestial crown is intended,
the reference would be to a heavenly reward. (Guillim.)"
For an alternate representation of the crest see
Maguires great great grandfathers coat of arms & crest it shows
what was granted under English rule. The crown is an English Barons cap
displayed over the stag instead of below it.
The Motto "Justitia
Et Fortitudo Invincibilia Sunt" is Latin for
Fortitude are Invincible"
or a better English translation is
"VIRTUE AND PERSEVERANCE ARE INVINCIBLE"
(This Coat of Arms may have had
more than one Golden Leopard on it.) According to the publication "Clan Maguire of Fermanagh"
in 1594, a bard of Hugh Maguire, named Eochaidh O'Hussey is quoted as
writing after a victorious campain by Hugh against the English.
"The glitter of hilts, the beautiful hue of the shields with
GOLDEN LEOPARDS, the lustre of bright shining standards, will set
the slope ablaze; the flashes from thy long weapons, the glow in the
cheeks of cup-bearers, and the brillance of beautiful dark goblets will
cast upon thee the glitter of fire. Thou shalt see friends again before
thee - all the ruin thou hast suffered is a dream."
being a beautifully, romantic, and inspirational picture of hope, this
also shows us that there was another armorial bearing for Maguire. The
significance of a Golden Leopard on the shield according to the book
The Symbols of Heraldry Explained "a leopard is said to represent
a VALIANT and hardy warrior, who enterprises hazardous things by
force & courage". The color gold signifies
Some interesting facts;
The Coat of Arms
of Ireland is the Harp. The Brian Boru Harp at Trinity College, Dublin
is the model for the heraldic representation of the Coat of Arms for
Ireland and it signifies one who is well composed and of tempered
judgment and is held to mean "Contemplation". So Ireland as represented
by the Harp is an Island of wisdom, knowledge and prophesy.
Shamrock is the floral emblem of Ireland standing for perpetuity.
One note on the decorative Geese or Ducks
on the Celtic Cross Bar
I chose this for my web pages for the simple reason
that "The Wild Geese" represent all those
Irish that had to survive by leaving their home-land and according to
the book The Symbols of Heraldry Explained by Heraldic Artists
LTD. p. 38 the Heraldic Symbol for this has the meaning
"The Goose and Duck. Guillim says, by flying,
running, and swimming under water, these birds have many ways of
eluding their enemies and beguiling their hopes. They may therefore
be held to signify a man of many resources."